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NSW Ethanol Taskforce

Guest Juliette Lima

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi All,


As stated in the RAAus mag this month, 2% ethanol has been mandated in all NSW fuel....effective September '07.


Having researched the subject all weekend (too wet to fly), there are good reasons to be concerned for recreational aviators....in particular, rubber seals, fibreglass fuel tanks, fuel systems, and two stroke engines.


Although 2% may not seem much, it is part of a continuum toward much higher levels.


I'm wondering if the RAAus have made submissions to the NSW Ethanol Taskforce (hopefully so) and if so, what was the response.


Looking forward to responses on behalf of the many members that will be impacted by the introduction of Ethanol.





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  • 3 weeks later...

Steve Allen, Board member from Northern Territory attended meetings in Canberra on Friday with staff in the Australian Greenhouse Office and the Fuels and used Oils Division of the Department of the Environment and Heritage. He reports that the 2% mandate is simply a requirement on the producer or fuel distributor to have an overall 2% ethanol component. This does not mean that all fuel will have ethanol added. Some will be ethanol-free, some will have higher percentages, E5 or E10. We will still be able to choose ethanol-free fuel.




Interesting that Rotax advised not more than 5% ethanol. Steve was informally advised by Department staff "Don't put ethanol fuel in your aeroplane".






I asked him about the NSW mandate for ethanol in all petrol. He says.


Carol, my understanding is that the mandate is for 2% overall, not a mandate for 2% in all fuel - that is a common misconception (if Dept of the Environment and Water Resources staff are correct). They advised to contact NRMA for the full story.


I also asked Steve if it were true that ethanol holds water in suspension so it is impossible to see how much water is in the fuel when doing a fuel drain.


Yes, ethanol is hygroscopic - absorbs water. Therefore fuel in tanks in high humidity areas (Darwin wet season) will absorb water from the air.




This property is one way to test for ethanol in your fuel. Put (say) 50ml of water in a graduated flask. Add (say) 200ml from your fuel tank. You will have 50ml of water on the bottom with 200 ml of fuel on the top. The fuel/water interface will be clearly seen at the 50ml mark.




Vigourously shake the container then let it settle. If the fuel is ethanol (alcohol) free then the interface will still be at the 50ml mark. If there is ehtanol in the fuel, it will have absorbed some of the water and so the interface will be lower, say at the 40ml mark because 10ml of the water was absorbed by the ethanol.




This would be an unreliable test with only 2%, but works well with, say, E10 (10% ethanol). However, if the ethanol has already absorbed moisture from the air and is already saturated with water, then you would get a false reading.




I doubt if 2% will be marketed. I think it will be 10% ethanol fuel sold alongside ethanol-free fuel. The Distributor simply has to ensure that 2% of the total volume sold is ethanol.






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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Carol and all interested in this issue,


Following my earlier post on the 2% mandate for ethanol nto all fuel sold in NSW from september 2007, and its impact on recreational aviation, I forwarded a submission directly to the Premier, outlining the the fact that notwithstsnding oil companies advising recreational aviators do not to use mogas, there were already thousands of Rotax powered aircraft flying in Australia who follow the engine makers instruction to the contrary.


I have today received a formal response from the Premier's office which confirms Carols post on and the mandated 2% being an overall ethanol requirement as distinct from 2% ethanol in every litre sold.


I will learn how to post the communication in full as it makes interesting reading..... its to be hoped that the oil compamies coninue to offer a choice.







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Ethanol blend Value?& other considerations.


Purely on the value for money consideration, ( while recognising the appeal of a supposedly renewable product ) 10% ethanol plus 90% paraffinic, equates to 95% of the energy that you would have had with ALL petrol, therefore you would need a 5% price discount to cut even. (Your fuel economy will always be less with alcohol in the fuel)


All the discount that I have ever seen is 3 cents. Who is being had?


I have run alcohol in speedway motors 100% methanol.(very similar fuel chemically to ethanol. alcohols absorb water. I would not trust the mix near plastic fuel lines. I feel that plastic should not be used on aircraft in the fuel system anyhow. Other items that would be suspect, Fibreglass resins, various "O" rings, fuel pump diaphrams. bearing seals, some gasket cements, possibly some synthetic carburetter floats. and some aluminium alloys. The carburetters were always drained & the single use oil was always drained after each meet. The induction system runs much colder with alcohol use, in fact with 100% alcohol frequently the inlet side of the head would have ice on the pipe right up to the port. Never a dull moment is there? N....



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