Higher ethanol blend a risk to outdoor equipment – US group

24 February 2009 21:49  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Higher ethanol blends in gasoline would pose a significant safety and performance threat to outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, snowmobiles and boats, a US industry association said on Tuesday.

“We understand the need to move more ethanol in the market, but if it is done too fast the consequences will be great,” said Kris Kiser, executive vice president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

OPEI disputes engine tests conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) that indicated no significant impact exists from blending ethanol in gasoline above 10%.

The results of those tests were presented at the National Ethanol Conference in San Antonio. Kiser participated in a panel discussion at the event.

Boats were particularly vulnerable to higher ethanol blends because of differences in the type of material used in the manufacturing of automobile and boat fuel tanks, Kiser said.

Boats already had issues with the 10% level (E-10), he said, adding that performance problems were also apparent for engines used in chainsaws, gardening equipment and snowmobiles.

Kiser said he did not oppose the use of ethanol but feared a potential backlash due to insufficient research.

"Lawyers would have a field day with this," he said, referring to performance and warranty issues.

The Renewable Fuels Association is campaigning for higher blends of ethanol to allow demand to grow alongside increasing production.

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By: William Lemos
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