Petrol and ethanol

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Petrol and ethanol

Postby MarkB » 31 Jan 2014 14:42

On the Morini mailing list recently, someone new to Morini ownership asked what type of petrol he should use, and a discussion followed about RON, ethanol content etc. Tony Kersbergen of the Morini Club Netherlands gave the following information which is informative and useful, and he's happy for me to requote it here:

There is a thread/investigation on ethanol in todays fuel on the Dutch Ducati forum. Aparantly oil companies have to mix a certain amount of ethanol through their petrol (or gas as the Yanks call it). There is a difference between adding "wet" ethanol and "dry" ethanol, but I forgot the exact details on this.
Highlights of this topic:
http://www.motomoriniclub.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?t=352

On the Ducati forum a test was held showing the petrols with most ethanol. This proved that BP Ultimate (98 octane) and Shell V-Power (97 octane) have the lowest amount of added ethanol. At least: this is in the Netherlands. Very well possible it is different in other countries.

A well informed magazine on classic vehicles (Auto Motor Klassiek), http://amklassiek.nl/ recently gave a warning about our most popular petrol:
"Euro 95". This 95 octane petrol was a so-called E5 fuel, which means it has a maximum of 5% added ethanol. Without any warning or notice, this 5% was increased to 10% as from this month. In fact this makes "Euro 95" an E10 fuel.
Most important: do not use E10 in older vehicles. In Germany there was a huge discussion 2 years ago. Even huge companies like GM or BMW could not give a decend advice in which models E10 could be used safely.

http://www.motomoriniclub.nl/cv/E10-a.jpg

The article reads (free translation):

.....forgotten is that early 2014 E5 petrol will no longer be available from the fuel stations. As the Eurocrats from Brussels have decided this. It will be the end of any classic vehicle, but also modern cars like Opel (GM), or BMW will be ruined. The British federation of historical automobil clubs (FBHVC) is in battle with the British government about this. We would like to know if E10 is also an issue for the Fehac (federation of Dutch clubs of historical vehicles)? We'll wait and see. Did you know, Euro 95 (E5) already contains 7 to 8% ethanol, instead of the previous 5%?

Anyway, what I have understood is that oilcompanies have to add a certain amount of ethanol (thanks Brussels!!), but decide themselves how much they add per type fuel. In case of BP and Shell, they probably have to add extra to the Euro 95 as they (so far) don't mix it Ultimate and V-Power.

I find it typical that this is not communicated by the oilcompanies. If indeed
E10 is dangerous to engines of classic vehicles and even to some modern vehicles, I am sure the customer should know this and should be offered an alternative.

My conclusion: I stick to BP Ultimate 98 RON, or if that is not available: Shell V-Power 97 RON.

In the owners manual of the 350 Morini, there is written on one line (which many easily overlook): fuel: 98-100 RON.
Of couse it is possible to ride on 95, or perhaps even on 91 RON, but you have to retard the ignition some 5 degrees and be aware of pinking of the engine, especially going uphill.

Finally (and then I'll shut up): the E10 petrol, (the ethanol) can damage unprotected fueltanks. Above 20 degrees Celcius, the ethanol vaporizes and damages steel, or polyester. Best is to protect the fueltank with an ethanol resistant sealer.

Very important: inside protection of polyester fueltanks and even metal tanks against the ethanol.
For an effective coating, it is important a) the coating is ethanol proof, b) the fueltank is first 'degreased' on the inside.
My painter used a fine 'grit' (like sand) to blast the inside. Only that way the coating will hold.

When a polyester fueltank shows big bubbles on the outside, under the paint it is difficult, but not impossible to repair it.
These bubbles are caused by the agressive ethanol.

Cheers, Tony
"I'll have a V please, Bob."
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby buell1203 » 31 Jan 2014 21:55

My understanding is that the proposed 10% ethanol fuel proposed for the uk in 2014 has been deferred.

I have personal evidence of the damage ethanol causes as it destroyed a fuel tank fitted as standard to a 2006 motorcycle.
Needless to say,the manufacturer had no interest. Vosa investigated and in spite of similar complaints determined insufficient cause to progress the matter. Time will tell!!

As for using an ethanol resistant sealant. How many actually are? Yes they claim to be but I hear of sealants which fail a year or so later.

It is not as if ethanol saves money,it actually costs more,but it does keep American farmers in business..until the drought hit them and there was need for alternative sources of supply last year.

Me,a cynic?
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 01 Feb 2014 20:55

I'm conducting the test in Tony's link... if there is interest on this end I'll make a translation and keep you updated on progress :mrgreen:
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby MarkB » 04 Feb 2014 09:25

Please do, Hendre.
"I'll have a V please, Bob."
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby Ralph » 04 Feb 2014 14:00

I always thought that ethanol made the octane higher, my Strada as never pinked on any fuel
and I am not choosy so it gets quite a mix. A mates Kawasaki W650 would suffer carb icing
in winter unless run on Ultimate or V-power though.
Ralph
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Knott End NW UK

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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 05 Feb 2014 10:50

This test originated on the Dutch Guzzi Forum: http://www.mgcn.nl/forum/index.php?show ... 7&p=246311
------------------------------------------------
September 24th: After much of discussion on the effects of ethanol in fuel and reports of E10 “destroying” classic cars in Germany and France I decided to put 4 types of readily available fuel in wine bottles (from left to right; a group of Saab flexifuel driver provided me with the ethanol contents as they have ethanol content gauges in the dash):

• BP Ultimate 98: to my knowledge one of the two fuels available with virtually no ethanol in the mix, the other is Shell V-power... dry ethanol (<1% water content) content below 1%.
• Tango euro 95: up to 8% dry ethanol. Because ethanol is subsidized by the EU the cheap petrol usually contains more of the stuff to keep prices down.
• Aral 95 E10: took a trip to Germany to get where it all started from, shouldn’t be missed in this test. Dry ethanol content about 15% (in Germany also cheap fuel means larger ethanol content)
• Haan BlueOne 95: a revolutional fuel with wet ethanol (4-5% water content)! Wet ethanol is cheaper to produce as the “drying” process is difficult and not very environmentally friendly. Reasoning from the fuel company: in the F1 they also inject wet ethanol based fuel into the engine to cool the engine so this must be the good stuff! Wet ethanol content of this mixture is 20-22%

Prepared the bottles, drilled a 2.5mm hole acentric in the bottle cap to simulate the tank vent hole, turned the cardboard inside of the cap to not have a direct hole. Marked the fuel level end weighed the bottles:
• ultimate 98: 784g
• euro 95: 811g
• 95 E10: 796g
• BlueOne 95: 777g
Image

Then the bits into the bottles: aluminium & steel rod (to check corrosive effects) and an old Dell’Orto float bowl o-seal from my old used stock (to check the effects on old seals/rubber) submerged hanging on a copper wire. Again marked fuel level and again weighed:
• ultimate 98: 852g
• euro 95: 881g
• 95 E10: 865g
• BlueOne 95: 846g
Image

The bottles are in the window sill as my garage is very well insulated and I want to get as close to real shed temperature changes as possible. Box on top (a fuel tank is also dark)
Image

And now we wait… every month an update but I check weekly so if anything special happens there will be an extra update
(and if you wonder: I did not put any poly or plastic from fuel tank in it as we already know ethanol “dissolves” these two.)

What you guys missed up till now:
All monthly checks revealed that evaporation is very different for the fuels (latest evaporation data in February 1st update). Also no deposits, layer effects, corrosive effects or dissolved O-rings have been seen yet…

October 29th update: the protective lacquer from the steel rod was not sanded off completely, now it starts peeling away in the fuel and above the fuel... in the other three bottles I see no such thing happening
Image

Image

November 24th update: The protective lacquer is continuing to peel away in the BlueOne bottle, in the E10 bottle the first peels also have appeared.

February 1st update: it seems a blue haze is developing in the BlueOne, could be water content of the ethanol combined with poor fuel stability or increased hygroscopic effects of wet ethanol ? (any chemist would like to comment on the last assumption?)

Fuel evaporation compared to the starting weight (so from September 24th until February 1st):
• BP Ultimate 98: -15 g
• Tango Euro 95: -23 g
• Aral 95E10: -42 g
• Haan BlueOne 95 : -30 g
It seems that high ethanol fuels evaporate much more than others. Seems sensible as ethanol evaporates much faster the other fuel components...
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 02 Mar 2014 21:45

5th monthly update.. nothing much... except the evaporation continieus (compared to start weight):
BP Ultimate 98: -3 g (-18 g)
Tango Euro 95: -3 g (-26 g)
Aral 95E10: -6 g (-48 g)
Haan BlueOne 95 : -5 g (-35 g)

it seemed that in the Aral & Haan bottle a sort of tainted glass effect is developing above the fuel level... if it is persistent I'll make a photo for the next update
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 29 Mar 2014 20:15

the bottles have been standing for six months, everybody is getting back on the road again so again time for an update...
evaporation (compared to start weight):
BP Ultimate 98: -3 g (-21 g)
Tango Euro 95: -4 g (-30 g)
Aral 95E10: -7 g (-55 g)
Haan BlueOne 95 : -4 g (-39 g)

the tainted glass effect above the Aral and Haan dissapeared... could be something with low temps a month ago?

but... in the Haan suddenly red/brownish spots appeared on the aluminium rod
http://www.mgcn.nl/forum/uploads/monthl ... 122530.jpg

I don't have a clue what this is but I wouldn't like this happening on the inside of my carbs...

So, initial test (fuel deteriation during the winter stop) is over but I'll leave the bottles where they are... no frequent updates anymore but I'll check them regularly so if anything happens I'll report in this topic!
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby MarkB » 30 Mar 2014 17:38

Thanks Hendre, keep us up to date. Regards, Mark.
"I'll have a V please, Bob."
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 08 Jun 2014 22:05

8 months along... more evaporation because of the higher temperatures and longer checking interval (2 months instead of one)
Image
evaporation (compred to starting weight):
BP Ultimate 98: -10 g (-31 g)
Tango Euro 95: -16 g (-46 g)
Aral 95E10: -20 g (-75 g)
Haan BlueOne 95 : -16 g (-55 g)

earlier I noticed a sort of clear deposit above fuel level in the Aral & Haan bottle that I though disappeared but is still there (did look not closely enough last time I think), the glass is not as clear s above the BP. Tango Euro 95 I'm not sure but it could be that there also is a bit of a deposit. Maybe I have to empty another bottle as a reference....

but... in the Haan BlueOne bottle the rusty spots on the aluminium strip have grown into little plants...
Image
I might have a coral reef in this bottle if I'm not careful!
and the bubbles of the steel protective coat on the steel bar seem to dissolve slowly...
Image
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 03 Aug 2014 16:24

Summer update: evaporation (compared to start weight):
BP Ultimate 98: -9 g (-40 g)
Tango Euro 95: -14 g (-60 g)
Aral 95E10: -20 g (-95 g)
Haan BlueOne 95 : -15 g (-70 g)

also measured fluid levels... (drop compared to starting level, comparable to % evaporation)
BP Ultimate 98: -10,2%
Tango Euro 95: -15,3%
Aral 95E10: -26,0%
Haan BlueOne 95 : -21,1%
lost about a quarter of the Aral.. in 10 months...
http://www.mgcn.nl/forum/uploads/monthl ... 081882.jpg

furthermore the algae in the BlueOne are growing very well (some of the strains dropped of the alu bar when I fetched the bottle, in practice this will mean the will disappear in your fuel filter or the rest of the fuel system)
http://www.mgcn.nl/forum/uploads/monthl ... 081904.jpg
and the iron bar in the same bottle also is showing small rust spots...
http://www.mgcn.nl/forum/uploads/monthl ... 081923.jpg
Last edited by hendre on 27 Oct 2014 11:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby Ralph » 10 Aug 2014 15:37

Filled with Bee Pee Ultimate not made a lot of difference but it does feel if anything slightly smoother,
I always put a little semi synth 2T oil about 10cc per gall 500 ish to one dont know if it makes the slightest
difference but it makes me feel better and seems to have stopped the exhaust rot that mine was prone too.
Ralph
1975 Strada 3 1/2
Knott End NW UK

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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby John Bunting » 20 Sep 2014 14:51

This article from Anglo American Oil, a race fuel supply company, was published in Speedscene the Hillclimb and Sprint Association magazine recently and is the only thing I have seen published from a fuel company regarding ethanol fuels.
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby hendre » 22 Sep 2014 06:30

John Bunting wrote:This article from Anglo American Oil, a race fuel supply company, was published in Speedscene the Hillclimb and Sprint Association magazine recently and is the only thing I have seen published from a fuel company regarding ethanol fuels.
John

do you have a link?
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Re: Petrol and ethanol

Postby harrymuffin » 25 Sep 2014 11:30

Ethanol fuels were available in this country up to 1968 when National Discol and Cleveland stopped producing it owing to the readily available and more cheaply produced 101octane leaded fuels. My father would always fill up with these 10% alcohol fuels whenever going on long runs in the car. I own and run proper cars built in the early sixties and have found that I can now advance the ignition to back where it used to be, the engine runs much smoother, runs cooler, and has more power without having to manually(knob in the cabin) retard the ignition on long hill climbs. Regarding corrosion and other complaints, I do not recall anybody complaining about these problems in the fifties or sixties or from when available in the late twenties. With the reduction of sulphur, I put a couple of capfuls of castor based oil in a full tank to keep the fuel injection metering unit lubricated (TR6) but in the AC-Bristol (tank 1960) do not bother. Modern car tanks are all made of plastic and all the rubber hoses are no different to the hoses fitted to my cars when built which are all still original and have not disintegrated.
If it is evaporating from your tanks and leaving a residue then use it more and stop regarding it as a museum piece or drain it all out as one used to do when running on 100% methanol.
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