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Ethanol in petrol, FBHVC Survey

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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:00 am

Martin R wrote:
Rohan Christmas wrote:Don't you have 98 or even 95 octane fuel to choose from?

We can even have 99 RON here in the UK - Tesco Momentum Super Unleaded and, Shell recently introduced 99 RON as their V-Power (replacing their old 98)


So why worry about ethanol then? That's assuming that ethanol it is only mixed with the 91 RON fuel like it is here in Australia.
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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:00 am

Martin R wrote:
Rohan Christmas wrote:Don't you have 98 or even 95 octane fuel to choose from?

We can even have 99 RON here in the UK - Tesco Momentum Super Unleaded and, Shell recently introduced 99 RON as their V-Power (replacing their old 98)


So why worry about ethanol then? That's assuming that ethanol it is only mixed with the 91 RON fuel like it is here in Australia.
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by Chris_R » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:02 am

Rohan, the UK currently has 95 Octane E5 and 98/99 Octane which is usually free of Ethanol. Currently the 98/99 Octane is designated as the "protection grade" which allows it to be ethanol free. I think 98% of petrol sold is the 95 Octane grade and I think this counts as meeting our current reusable fuels objective.
Premium 98/99 Octane petrol is usually 12p - 15p per litre more expensive. The issue is that to meet our EU reusable fuels obligations we need to move to E10 for the overwhelming bulk of fuel sold, which will be the standard 95 octane fuel. The choice for the motorist will then be 95 Octane E10 or the much more expensive 98/99 Octane premium grade which will push up the price of a tankful by between £8.50 and £10 depending where you buy it.
Fuel prices are a politically very sensitive issue. Standard 95 Octane petrol is currently around £1.30 (2.35AUD, 1.70USD or almost USD6.50 per US Gallon) per litre and in some areas of the country petrol costs are a significant part of a family's weekly expense budget. Apart from classic car owners the most number of people who would be affected would be the poorer people in country areas who are more likely to be running older cars that are supposedly not compatible with E10 and no government wants to be seen to be hitting that demographic of our population with an extra cost when there is insufficient alternative (public) transportation available.
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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:38 am

Sorry for my ignorance, but why are they pressing for ethanol at all in the UK? It's only put into fuel as a way of subsidising sugarcane farmers and your climate isn't exactly suitable for growing sugarcane.
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by Chris_R » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:46 am

I said reusable fuels, I meant renewable fuels.
In 3 sentences from the EU
The Renewable Energy Directive establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfil at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. By using more renewables to meet its energy needs, the EU lowers its dependence on imported fossil fuels and makes its energy production more sustainable.
Renewable energy can be produced from a wide variety of sources including wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, and biomass. Ethanol in petrol is part of that.
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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:59 am

Looks like you make your ethanol from wheat. The net energy yield for making ethanol from wheat is only 30%. That's a very dubious return.
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by Chris_R » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:12 am

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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:49 am

Chris_R wrote:I don't know about that.
https://bioenergyinternational.com/biof ... troduction


That sure looks like a subsidy on an industry that uses a very energy inefficient way of producing ethanol.
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by Chris_R » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:26 am

Neither the government nor the EU are giving them any money. I don't see any subsidy here. They buy and sell on the market.
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by Roh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:49 pm

Chris_R wrote:Neither the government nor the EU are giving them any money. I don't see any subsidy here. They buy and sell on the market.


The industry wouldn't be economically viable without the government mandating minimum ethanol. The mandated ethanol level effectively means that the general public who buy petrol are subsidising the ethanol industry.
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by Chris_R » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:14 am

I think that is a very tenuous argument. You could say the same about the catalytic converter industry which wouldn't be very much if it wasn't mandated. By your argument we're subsiding the manufacturers of catalytic converters, the general public who buy cars are effectively subsidising the manufacturers of those and also of vehicle air bags. And a whole host of other things that are mandated.
Ethanol as a fuel pre-dates crude oil. Nicholas Otto, developer of the Otto cycle engine, used it. Henry Ford designed the Model T to run on 100% ethanol (or gasoline, or kerosene). In the UK in the 1930s it was blended with petrol at 20% - 25% to boost the octane rating and produce a cleaner fuel. That was not mandated and continued right through until the beginning of the 1970s when Esso who by then owned Cleveland rebranded all Cleveland petrol stations as Esso and stopped producing it in favour of their own leaded petrol. Esso not only sold petrol but also extracted it from the ground and refined it so by stopping the ethanol blended petrol they sold more of their own product and didn't have to buy in the ethanol = more volume and more profit for themselves.
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by Roh » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:10 am

I don't think catalytic converters are a good example as it is the emission limits that are mandated, not the particular technology that is used to meet the limits.
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by Peter Blumbach » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:20 pm

Hi there,

in Germany we have E10 for quite a while now. I do not want to discuss if it is a good idea to have it but my experience with it is that it can destroy seals and hoses. That probably depends on the material.

In my case the fuel hoses of my MG dried out and the Ethanol is weakening the rubber so it cracks (which caused a not so funny fountain of fuel under the bonnet). That might be the case if the car is standing for a longer period of time like during the winter.

I also had a problem with the fuel taps of my Norton. Both started to leak at the same time which seems to have the same reason: ethanol. Fitted with ethanol resistent ones and the problem was solved.

And last, since I fly single engine planes I learned that some of them have to have AVGas (Aviation gas=no alcohol) and some can be converted to MoGas (5%-10% alcohol) and the main change for the conversion are the fuel hoses.

So I think that especially the cars (and bikes) of the 60s and 70s up to the 90s have mainly rubber material that is not ethanol resistent. I know that Jaguar changed the material in the 90s so any Jaguar cars younger than 1998 or so (do not know the exact date) are good for E10. It might be that cars from the 30s have ethanol resistent hoses. However I did not have any issues with my Interceptor but I am running it now mostly on "SuperPlus" which is without Ethanol (or up to max 5%).

Cheers.

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by Chris_R » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:00 pm

Reported in the latest FBHVC News:
The only UK refinery for the E10 petrol additive has closed. The environmental costs of shipping the additive from other parts of the world negates any environmental benefit and consequently fuels on the UK forecourts are remaining unchanged.
Presumably this means the increased costs of shipping additional E10 additives rather than the current E5 levels which must already be being shipped from elsewhere.
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