March 25, 2009
The fruits, so far, of a $497,000 grant to Minnesota State University to study ethanol: A 20 percent blend appears to be no harder on vehicles than regular gasoline.
The study, led by Bruce Jones and Jim Rife in MSU’s automotive engineering technology department, has tested the effects of different blends of ethanol on the raw materials of a vehicle as well as fuel system parts.
Today all gas sold in Minnesota includes 10 percent ethanol. Some gas is 85 percent ethanol ( called E85). It’s the intermediate blends — between 10 percent and 85 percent — that MSU is studying.
It’s using regular vehicles, not the “flex fuel” models specifically designed to run on high ethanol blends. Jones said research into the 20 percent blend has just been completed.
Tests on raw materials — the metals, plastics and rubber- like substances — found no problems with the E20 blend.
Likewise, fuel pumps using regular gasoline, E10 and E20 were run for 5,000 hours and there was no more wear and tear on the higher- ethanol blend.
The research is being done to support a Minnesota proposal to move to a 20 percent blend in all gasoline by 2012.
Source : Minnesota State