Status Update: New Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Certification Path, UL Meeting, and Mid-Level Blends Testing (August 2009)
New Mid-Level Ethanol Blend Certification Path
On Aug. 10, 2009, Underwriters Laboratory (UL) announced a new option for certification of dispensing equipment for mid-level ethanol blends of E11 through E25. The new certification path is Subject 87A-E25. UL developed this testing protocol to specifically address the need for mid-level equipment certification because blends above E10, but less than E85, are anticipated in the marketplace.
The Subject 87A-E25 testing protocol differs from Subject 87A-E85 in several key ways.
- This new certification path only requires one test fluid, an aggressive E25 fluid, rather than both an E25 and an E85 test fluid.
- Due to the lack of significant electrical conductivity with E25, hoses and hanging hardware will not need to be coordinated as they are for E85 dispensers, and will not need to be provided or specified in the same way.
- The hose testing requirements have changed to adjust allowable materials loss based on corresponding fluids in regards to permeation versus leakage based on hose size.
- Requirements for blending pumps (blending E85 with gasoline) that had been developed were added into the document based on the publication of a new edition of the outline.
Underwriters Laboratory and Dispenser Manufacturer Meeting
In July 2009, UL and manufacturers of dispensers and dispenser components met at UL to discuss mid-level ethanol blends and E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) dispenser listings. Mid-level ethanol blends were discussed, which led to the announcement of a new testing protocol in August. Also, external fuel delivery hose manufacturers will submit hoses for UL testing this fall. This critical dispenser component has not been previously submitted for testing. It is anticipated that successful testing of the fuel delivery hose will lead to an E85 dispenser system listing. At this time, there are no UL-certified E85 dispensers.
Dispenser Testing for Mid-Level Ethanol Blends
The Department of Energy (DOE) has provided funding to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to conduct E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) testing for dispenser systems. NREL has contracted with UL to conduct these tests at their laboratory. NREL will test the dispensers using an aggressive ethanol blend. Researchers will test both new and harvested dispensers (provided by Petroleum Equipment Institute) to identify any compatibility issues with E15. Testing is expected to commence by the fourth quarter of 2009. A final public report will be issued in May 2010. In addition, Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be testing underground materials for E15 compatibility.