RIT Study: E20 cuts emissions, does not harm conventional engines

(Article published by The Engineer  web site on31 March 2010.)
Researchers at the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology claim that the use of E20 fuel, which blends 20 per cent ethanol with petrol, reduces the tail-pipe emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide compared with traditional gasoline or E10 blends.

‘Currently, numerous commercially available petrol brands contain 10 per cent ethanol,’ said Brian Hilton, senior staff engineer at the centre and part of the research team.

‘There have been concerns raised that any increase in blend would negatively impact standard internal combustion engines, however our data shows that vehicle performance remained constant, while carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions decreased, even over E10 blends.’

The RIT team, which was also led by Brian Duddy, a senior programme manager at the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, worked with the County of Monroe in New York State to test the use of E20 in 10 older petrol vehicles that were not designed for ethanol-fuel mixtures…. The fleet showed an average emissions reduction for carbon monoxide of 23 per cent, as well as a 13 per cent reduction for hydrocarbon emissions compared with conventional gasoline.

Our Take:
Once again, real science trumps the scare tactics of those folks schilling for the oil industry who scream that ethanol in gas is going to ruin engines or result in increased pollutants. These numbers will contribute to the EPA’s decision, due out within the next few months, whether E20 can be considered a conventional gasoline blend.

The tens of thousands of legacy vehicles in Brazil (from before the near universal requirement for flexible fuel equipment) run on blends between E20 to E25, and that’s pretty solid evidence. Study’s like RIT and work done right here in Minnesota prove that drivability, performance and emissions for E20 are not impacted by cooler climates.

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