Ethanol Myth Busting at Automotive Event

A panel consisting of an automotive technician, an automotive engineer and an ethanol industry representative had the opportunity to bust some myths about ethanol at the National Automotive Service Task Force meeting in New Orleans on Saturday.

Renewable Fuels Association Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis, Ricardo Chief Engineer for powertrain controls Dr. Matti Vint, and automotive talk show host/service center owner Bobby Likis each addressed one myth about ethanol related to the vehicle industry.

Vint busted the myth that ethanol ruins engine performance by detailing the benefits of the fuel’s higher octane rating, which is a measure of its anti-knock properties. “The higher octane, the higher the cylinder pressure you can operate without causing destructive damage to the engine,” he said. “So high octane is good for extracting the maximum performance of the engine and improving the efficiency.” He explained how designing engines like the Ricardo EBDI (Extreme Boost Direct Injection) engine will better utilize ethanol’s higher octane rating.

Likis busted the myth that ethanol poses repair and service problems. “In the 41 years I’ve been in the automotive service business, I’ve never had a single engine fail as a result of ethanol,” he said, noting that engines have been designed to run on E10 for the past 30 years.

Finally, Davis busted the myth that consumers don’t want choice at the pump. “A recent survey complete by American Viewpoint showed 61% were in favor of replacing imported fossil fuel dependency with renewable fuels like ethanol,” Davis said, pointing out that the approval of E15 allows more options for model year 2001 and newer vehicles.

Listen to the panel presentations here: Ethanol Myth Busters Panel

Watch Dr. Matti Vint’s presentation below:

CARS Event Photo Album

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0 responses to “Ethanol Myth Busting at Automotive Event”

  1. Dr. Vint in his You Tube presentation claimed that the efficiency loss in E-10 is not ~3% (as the EPA and DOE say) but 1.4%. Could you provide any links for further info on this claim? Also, is there any independent 3rd Party verification of Dr. Vint’s 1.4% claim?

  2. Steve,

    You can start with SAE paper 2010-01-0619 & 2008-01-0319. The last one is really good but for any of these SAE papers, remember to change fuel consumption from weight to volume. Every 10% ethanol is 3.3% less energy. If comparing splash blending ethanol to test fuel that are typically 93 AKI then getting 2.5 would be a safe number due to cooling effect, reduce pumping loss and the mole fraction of combustion as shown in the first paper.

    If you wanted to just add 10% ethanol to current E10. Most vehicles shouldn’t see a mileage loss if driving mostly freeway miles since now you have octane performance better then Premium. If you primarily drive in town, you may or may not see equal mileage. You should look at SAE papers 2012-01-1777 and 2012-01-1774. Ford, AVL, John Deere and BP Oil are all associated with these studies. I think that gives some very good credibility if you want to know what ethanol can really do for octane.

    Steve VG

  3. Steve V — Thanks! Would be nice if DOE or EPA would post this rather than the ~3% number they quote.