Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28

Thread: Ins and outs of Ethanol- a new thread for the drift from "ethanol removal"

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    20

    Ins and outs of Ethanol- a new thread for the drift from "ethanol removal"

    Originally Posted by nomocom
    Actually that isn't correct, unless you are simply expressing an opinion. Especially since we are on a experimental aircraft forum, how about we talk without using so many absolutes? It would be officially correct to say, "Do not use ethanol in a certified aircraft". Even then, that would be a generalization since some aircraft in Brazil are approved for ethanol and there are a few aircraft here in the US that have an STC for ethanol :-) But, in any case, +99% of the certified aircraft in the US are not.

    Experimental aircraft. Do not use unless you've worked through the changes that need to be made to the aircraft. Vansairforce has some good threads on what builders have done to adapt their experimental airplanes to ethanol blends. One can read up on how ethanol and methanol is used for ADI (anti detonation injection). Reno air racers today and the powerful old radials, some of them had ADI. Also, check out the Vanguards and Greg Poe for boxer aircraft engines running just fine on ethanol. Sure, you have to make some changes, but don't we have some room for that in experimental aviation?


    And Kent replied.....

    Yes, of course owners of Experimentals can do what they want, but few I know would take the risk with the fuel or lubricants in their engines. ADI uses water/methanol (not ethanol) mixture that is contained in a separate tank and sprayed directly into the fuel charge; this has nothing to do with ethanol in gasoline. Poe's engine ran on 100LL for most flying and an ethanol blend during airshows. If you don't mind draining your fuel system of an ethanol blend after every flight as he did, and as the 100% ethanol users in Brazil do, then I suppose this is OK in an Experimental, assuming every component that ethanol might touch in the engine and fuel system can tolerate it. Note that Greg Poe flew for Fagen Inc., the country's largest builder of ethanol plants, so of course they would claim that there are no issues with ethanol, which is very far from the truth.

    Remember too that ethanol will start destroying components even with one single batch of fuel. Switching back to pure E0 fuel will not reverse the damage already done. There is also no denying that ethanol has only 70% of the BTUs per gallon as gasoline does, so using any amount of it will lead to lower power and less range, in addition to a myriad other issues that are very well documented. What pilot would knowingly use a fuel guaranteed to lower the power that his engine would use? That's what you have with an ethanol blend.

    For a good idea how ethanol blends damage millions of engines, read the statements for any given state in this survey:
    http://pure-gas.org/petition

    Yes, the Rotax engine is approved for E10, but talk to any Rotax repairman (like my son) and they will recommend only the use of premium, ethanol-free fuel as the best. Jabiru's were approved for E10, but the company rescinded that approval for its aircraft after experiencing serious damage to the fuel system caused by phase separation and the resulting highly corrosive water/ethanol mixture that sits in a fuel tank.

    Airplanes with their open-vented fuel systems, kept in operation for 40-50 years, are not comparable to cars. Just because E10 might work in the latest generation of cars (but is still inferior to ethanol-free fuel) does not imply that it is safe to use in any airplanes. Apples and oranges.

    Instead of risking their lives and property, pilots should put their effort into working with their state legislature, congressman, the EPA and others to ban the use of ethanol in premium fuel, as Mississippi State Senator Michael Watson has proposed in his state. Call too on the leaders of the EAA and AOPA to do the same. Using any amounts of ethanol in an aircraft engine is comparable to Russian Roulette, in my opinion, which is based on three years of studying and reporting on the subject, experience with my own aircraft engine (that was destroyed by the accidental use of E10), and thousands of comments from others who engines have been damaged or destroyed by ethanol blends.


    Kent Misegades
    EAA #520919, Homebuilder, Vintage, Aerobatics
    President, EAA1114, Apex, NC www.eaa1114.org
    Director, Aviation Fuel Club, www.AVIATIONFUELCLUB.org
    Cary, North Carolina, USA
    919-946-7096 (mobile)
    919-303-8230 (home office)

    kent@ufuel.com



  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    20
    ADI- Again, Kent, stating absolutes when there aren't. ADI stand for anti-detonation injection. Any injected material that assists in preventing detonation by definition is included. Most common is probably straight water (it's cheap after all). Other mixtures work even better. This has been known for a very long time. Look at NACA report E5H12 and #812. Water, alcohol, both methyl and ethyl, and amine mixtures are used as ADI fluids.

    Ethanol is a good ADI fluid. If you have a high octane fuel with a high heat of vaporization (cools the air as it evaporates) it is going to do pretty well. In addition the ethanol has carbon chains to break (fuel) and has oxygen for combustion. The combustion dynamics are more complicated than we need to get into, but cool, rich, high octane mixtures are less prone to detonation. That is why in Reno, those running really high manifold pressures use enormous amounts of ADI fluid. Here's a interesting write up by someone allowed into the pits and given a first hand view. Dago Red, a highly modified P-51 can consume 1000 lb of fuel and 300 lb of ADI fluid (ethanol or methanol) in a 15 minute race. http://www.supercoolprops.com/articl...egearheads.php

    Kent, when you've got modified P-51 aircraft running over 4 atmospheres of manifold pressure (allowed for by the alcohol-water adi) kind of shoots a hole in the argument that that alcohols don't provide good power? Range? legitimate ding there, but power? Visit your local racetrack. Probably find someone running a blown or turbo'ed engine on E85. Why? Because it has really high octane and is less prone to detonation. Over the years, the hot rodding mags have occasionally built up some real HP beasts that run on E85. Not hard to find if you look.

    Greg Poe running on 100LL? Yes, true. But someone between that fact and now, some details have been left out. I chatted again this morning with Dax Wanless, the late Greg Poe's VP and mechanic. Dax reports the 100LL was for ferry flights. It was a logistical decision to expedite moving from one show to another. They had a Bendix servo optimized for E98 and they had a servo optimized for 100LL, thus the drain of the tanks. Took a half hour to change them out. If they could reliably get E98 in route, the ethanol servo would have stayed in. Availability of fuel was the only reason, since engine testing done at Lycon showed 8% more power on E95 than 100LL, and Dax reported Greg could tell which fuel was in, by how smooth the engine ran. Smoother running on the E98.

    As far as dismissing the late Greg Poe's operation because he is sponsored by Fagen? How about we not write people off because of who they are associated with? Even good products need a messenger. In the same manner, one shouldn't automatically dismiss what you say, because you are affiliated with PureGas, nor should I dismiss what a oil lobbyist says because they happen to have a job and have bills to pay. Skepticism is always necessary, but the burden is still to evaluate the facts, no?

    Brazil- I don't no where you are going with the Brazilians draining tanks. It would appear you aren't familiar with Brazilian events. Years ago, many of the crop dusters were switching to ethanol because Brazil has sugar cane ethanol and the cost of operation pencilled out to be much less with the ethanol. The unauthorized modifications did not please Embraer or the authorities, but a few years later, the factory began producing an the ethanol powered model, touting less maintenance cost and higher engine power. Here are some some informative links posted by user
    cdrmuetzel@juno.com


    http://www.bellona.org/english_import_area/energy/37677


    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...92BXNw&cad=rja


    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...MjHL2g&cad=rja


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embraer_EMB_202_Ipanema


    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...vo4itA&cad=rja



    7% more power reported in the Brazilian Lycomings. Dax reported 8% more in Greg's aerobatic mount.


    One can ding ethanol on btu's per unit of mass. What is the mission of the aircraft? If I want fly long distances while carrying as little fuel weight as possible, ethanol is not high on the list of desired fuels. Jet, diesel, and kerosene are highly dense, followed by gasoline a bit farther down the list. Interestingly, if an engine is built with running ethanol in mind, the high compression can improve the BSFC a great deal, making up for much of the lower fuel density.


    I did look at your link to comments about ethanol. Some of the reports ring true in the sense that we know natural rubber and fiberglass are not compatible with ethanol blends. Some of the other comments, it is hard for me to come up with a mechanism for failure. Lacking more details, it is hard to do anything with the information. However, you mentioned you had an engine fail related to ethanol. Please explain how ethanol damaged your engine. I'm curious to hear a chain of events.

    Ethanol Hydroscopic qualities. This is an issue in extreme cases. If I'm going to put an airplane on the ramp in a rainy climate, subject it to extreme temperature swings, not fly it much, and tolerate leaky fuel caps, that is a recipe for water in the tank. Petroleum has an advantage here, in that you can park your airplane for a long time, not fix leaky caps, and one can still sump enough of the water out to most likely salvage the fuel. Especially, if you sump, then put fresh fuel on top of it. Combustion will likely be just fine.

    However, for the people that have an opportunity to fly occasionally and fix items like leaky fuel caps, the risk is minimal. The ethanol might even make the situation safer, after all, pilots have on occasion forgot to sump tanks and put themselves at risk for taking on a slug of water. That scenario is very unlikely to happen with ethanol blends. Why? What is the "approved" method for removing water that isn't removable from sump drains? Alcohol! http://www.lycoming.com/support/publ...fs/SI1070Q.pdf Remove water from your fuel system by adding up to 1% isopropyl alcohol. I find this humorous. Some claim the sky is falling, ethanol will adsorb any moisture out of the air (how it will do that through a 1/8 inch or smaller vent isn't explained), yet when it comes time to clean out your fuel system, what do you use, an alcohol! What a minute! Does alcohol cure moisture or create it? Can't we decide?

    Fundamentally, fuels need to match the mission. If I'm flying cross country- trying to minimize refueling, I'm going to seek high btus per unit of mass fuels. High ethanol blends don't fit that mission well. The mission they do meet well is high performance, as in producing higher horsepower without detonation. Possibly a very good fuel fit for many experimental aircraft. If you want to build a high compression engine, fly for sport, and are willing to put the effort into sorting out the compatibility issues, then ethanol would be a good fuel.

    I agree with you there is a need for ethanol free fuel. However, why not make your argument based on the real weakness of the ethanol. Less BTU's per gallon is a range issue. Second issue is the inability to easily drain extremely wet fuel from seldom flown and improperly managed aircraft. Third issue, which in some cases is easily curable, the elastomeric compatibility. Harder to fix is a genuine compatibility problem if you have fiberglass tanks. http://www.eaa.org/lightplaneworld/a...03_warning.asp The only option here is petroleum only or tank replacement.

    I haven't had time to look into the Jabiru ethanol history, but I will. Appreciate you bringing it up.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    884
    I'm building my plane with the assumption that my ethanol-free premium mogas is going to be spiked with alcohol.

    So the tank is aluminum, I'll try to keep it drained if I won't be flying it for awhile, and definately be taking a very close look at what is in the gascolator on pre-flight. Lined lines in the cockpit, automotive line on the other side of the firewall (since it's alcohol resistant). Change fuel filter every 100 hours.

    What would be most interesting would be a discussion on how to ethanol-proof one's homebuilt...
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    FA40
    Posts
    425
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Giger View Post
    What would be most interesting would be a discussion on how to ethanol-proof one's homebuilt...
    seems like you just laid out how to do it, Frank.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    20

    Jabiru guidance

    Kent reported Jabiru retracted the ethanol approval.
    Here is the US service bulletin JSA-006 prohibiting ethanol and advising against mogas.
    http://www.usjabiru.com/uploads/JSA-006_Auto_Fuel_Bulletin.pdf

    One of the chemicals they mention as "
    oxygenates which may have unknown effects on Jabiru’s fuel tank sealant"is toluene. This is a real problem since first, toluene isn't a oxygenate, so they are showing a basic lack of chemical knowledge, second because by the time you get to the end of the document, it sounds like the only thing OK to use is 100LL. 100LL commonly has toluene. Chevron's Aviation Fuel Technical Review, page 67. http://www.cgabusinessdesk.com/docum...ech_review.pdf

    If Jabiru USA really has a problem with toluene, then one can only conclude the fuel tanks aren't appropriate for any available fuel.


    I'd encourage you to read the US Jabiru guidance and compare to this document from Jabiru's Australian headquarters. http://jabiru.net.au/Service Bulleti...l_Guidance.pdf

    The Australian guidance has research and understanding behind it. In addition, they took the time to proof read it.

    Both appear to be the latest on fuel from each. Fascinating the differences!
    Last edited by nomocom; 03-12-2012 at 07:04 AM. Reason: added comment on toluene

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    11
    Here is a good reference concerning water in E10 and phase separation: http://www.epa.gov/oms/regs/fuels/rfg/waterphs.pdf


  7. #7

    Don't use ethanol blends

    Quote Originally Posted by nomocom View Post
    Originally Posted by nomocom
    Actually that isn't correct, unless you are simply expressing an opinion. Especially since we are on a experimental aircraft forum, how about we talk without using so many absolutes? It would be officially correct to say, "Do not use ethanol in a certified aircraft". Even then, that would be a generalization since some aircraft in Brazil are approved for ethanol and there are a few aircraft here in the US that have an STC for ethanol :-) But, in any case, +99% of the certified aircraft in the US are not.

    This is a blog, which is a place for people to voice opinions, which I have done. If one's purpose in homebuilding is to experiment with fuels, fine, but this must be far less than 1% of the EAA homebuilding community. Reports on the use of ethanol in aircraft in Brazil are sometimes overstated. I have spoken with the people of Aeroalcool in Brazil on this and they told me that they have not been able to sell their STCs since pilots there use ethanol without bothering to pay for them. I guess they do not have trial lawyers in Brazil? If you are an ethanol producer, your fuel is nearly free and it might make sense to jump through all the hoops to use 100% ethanol. I think this is a non-starter in the US however.

    But why use a fuel with all its known problems and that has 30% less energy? It's certainly not cheaper than autogas, and who knows what the future of ethanol in general will be with the subsidies now eliminated and the FOE now working to change the ethanol mandates? It must be far easier for aviation to increase the use of autogas at airports since the TCs and STCs are mostly all there and the fuel has a great, 30 year track record since the first STC in 1982.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by nomocom View Post
    Kent reported Jabiru retracted the ethanol approval.
    Here is the US service bulletin JSA-006 prohibiting ethanol and advising against mogas.
    http://www.usjabiru.com/uploads/JSA-006_Auto_Fuel_Bulletin.pdf

    One of the chemicals they mention as "
    oxygenates which may have unknown effects on Jabiru’s fuel tank sealant"is toluene. This is a real problem since first, toluene isn't a oxygenate, so they are showing a basic lack of chemical knowledge, second because by the time you get to the end of the document, it sounds like the only thing OK to use is 100LL. 100LL commonly has toluene. Chevron's Aviation Fuel Technical Review, page 67. http://www.cgabusinessdesk.com/docum...ech_review.pdf

    If Jabiru USA really has a problem with toluene, then one can only conclude the fuel tanks aren't appropriate for any available fuel.


    I'd encourage you to read the US Jabiru guidance and compare to this document from Jabiru's Australian headquarters. http://jabiru.net.au/Service Bulleti...l_Guidance.pdf

    The Australian guidance has research and understanding behind it. In addition, they took the time to proof read it.

    Both appear to be the latest on fuel from each. Fascinating the differences!
    Call the folks at Jabiru USA as I did and ask why they rescinded the approval for Jabiru aircraft (but left it in place for engines). It is based on actual field experience with their aircraft in the US. Ethanol is far less common in fuels in Australia than in the US, so on this topic, I would trust the opinions from Jabiru USA over their parent company. Both are fine organizations however and have made a prudent decision.

    Stemme aircraft of Germany also rescinded approval for ethanol blends in their self-launching gliders last year. This is not an isolated incident.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by nomocom View Post
    ADI- Again, Kent, stating absolutes when there aren't. ADI stand for anti-detonation injection.

    I was referring to the ADI system developed by Todd Petersen and now being reintroduced by Air Plains of Wellington, KS. In their system, a small amount of methanol is used to prevent the water from freezing. This is a water injection system to prevent detonation, nothing more.

    Associated with PureGas? They are one of dozens of groups/airports/pilots/EAA chapters that a few of us help - for free - in our off-hours as part of our free Aviation Fuel Club. Fagen by contrast builds ethanol plants, and Poe's plane was one of the stunts the ethanol lobby has used to form public opinion in recent years. Judging from the general negative opinion of the public, and even environmental groups now, towards ethanol, I'd say that Fagen wasted his money.

    It is a pity about Greg Poe though, a fine fellow and heckuva pilot.
    Last edited by kmisegades@bellsouth.net; 03-15-2012 at 05:55 PM.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Superior, Wisconsin, United States
    Posts
    9
    Why would one want to do that? As an A&P I have seen the effects on fuel system components, but in other non aviation aplications the damage is even more dramatic. I tell my customers "never use ethanol gas in anything you plan to own for more than a week."
    Also, when all related energy is included, a gallun of ethanol requires one and a quarter gakkon of refined petroleum to create and move to market. For this investment we receive 47% less energy per finnished gallon, along with dramaticly inflated food prices and transportation costs. Ask anyone who has ever filled his "Flex Fuel" vehicle with E85 and compared mileage with real gas. This farce is the biggest fraud forced on the American public since the "TEMPORARY" income tax.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •