Underwriters Laboratories (UL) released a press statement on February 19 noting that it will allow up to fifteen percent ethanol in gasoline dispensing units. The press release said that they support Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) who decide to permit legacy system dispensers, Listed to UL 87 and currently installed in the market, to be used with fuel blends containing a maximum ethanol content of 15%.
UL stresses that existing fuel dispensers certified under UL 87 were for intended use with ethanol blends up to E10, which is the current legal limit for non-flex fuel vehicles in the United States under the federal Clean Air Act. However, data the company has gathered as part of the organization’s ongoing research to investigate the impact of using higher ethanol blends in fuel dispensing systems supports that existing dispensers can be used with ethanol blends up to 15%. AHJs are advised to consult with the dispenser manufacturer to confirm that the dispenser is compatible with the fuel to be dispensed.
UL researchers found that using equipment certified to UL 87 to dispense ethanol blends with a maximum ethanol content of 15% should not result in critical safety concerns. However, the company stressed that dispensers pumping this higher percentage of ethanol should be subject to regular inspection and preventative maintenance as specified by the dispenser manufacturer for the blend of fuel being dispensed because the potential for degradation of the metals and materials (e.g., plastics, elastomers and composites) used in a dispensing system increases as the percentage of ethanol increases.
“UL determined that there is no significant incremental risk of damage between E10 and fuels with a maximum of 15% ethanol. This conclusion was reached after careful examination of the effects of varying levels of ethanol on components,” said John Drengenberg, Consumer Affairs Manager for UL. “We will continue to evaluate test and field findings, as well as the scientific literature, as it becomes available and make this information available to AHJs.”
“UL continues to support technological advancements, while protecting safety. That is why we have invested resources and effort that go far beyond any business benefit UL might gain from this work to support the ethanol industry’s desire to have safety certification requirements established for E85 fuel dispensers,” said Drengenberg.