New Study Finds No Significant Fuel Pump Performance Problems With E20

Published on: 07:56AM Apr 07, 2009
By Jim Wiesemeyer

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Latest study is part of debate to boost maximum ethanol blend percentage beyond 10 percent

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Increasing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline from 10 percent to 20 percent causes no significant change in performance of automotive fuel systems according to research conducted by the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The study examined the impact of gasoline with a 20 percent blend of ethanol (E20) on the endurance, wear and performance of automotive fuel pumps and sending units. This study is the fourth in a series of research projects conducted to determine the effect of E20 on fuel system components.

The study looked at eight models of fuel pumps, running three identical versions of each model for 4,000 hours using one of three different fuels - gasoline, E10 and E20. Gasoline and E10 were used in the study as a reference to identify what effects two accepted fuels would have on the pumps and sending units. The 24 pumps were selected to represent a variety of manufacturers, model years, common vehicles and designs. In addition, the study examined the effect of E20 on nine different makes and models of sending units.

The study found that the pumps showed significantly less wear when tested with E20 than with gasoline. The study concluded that overall, E20 did not have any greater negative effects than gasoline or E10 on the fuel pumps tested. It also showed there were no substantial differences in the performance of the sending units tested in the three different fuels.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the results add to the evidence proving the efficacy of higher level ethanol blends in vehicles on American roads today.

"The State of Minnesota continues to lead the nation in a renewable fuels revolution, passing the first mandate for the use of 20 percent ethanol blends and continuing to provide the scientific evidence to support it," Dinneen said. "Increasing the amount of ethanol utilized in American gas tanks is essential to the goals of reduced foreign oil dependence and increased green economic activity. This report helps move the dial in that direction."

Minnesota State University, Mankato conducted the studies as part of the process to receive a federal waiver from the US Environmental Protection Agency. This waiver is necessary for the state to proceed toward the mandated goal that ethanol comprise 20 percent of nearly all gasoline sold in Minnesota beginning in 2013.
The study was based on nationally recognized standards and protocols to ensure research quality. Support was provided by the Renewable Fuels Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Here is a link to the study.

Comments: Several other studies have also been released and they give conflicting signals to the eventual decision on whether or not to increase the maximum ethanol blend percentage beyond 10 percent for non-flex fuel vehicles.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.