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I see on avweb.com that the fuel problems in USA have got them worried and there are 3 RV3's running on ethanol made from corn. They have been experimenting for 11 years and it is running well now. Has to have an additive which is only made in UK. They can change over from 100LL ro ethanol and back in flight with no obvious change but ethanol consumption is 20- 40% higher.



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By 20 - 40% higher consumption does this mean more fuel burned for same distance travelled or more distance travelled for same fuel burn? What you report looks clear enough, I just wanted to make sure because I've heard automotive use gives more distance for same fuel burn.







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Guest babs1aus

Well I ran my magna to brisbane on ethanol blend as I was amazingly surprised that fuel consumption went from 9.8litre to the 100km to 8.7 on ethanol blend. I am converted however I think ill letsomeone else run their 585 on it first.


But for the car its a winner



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Hi All


I run an automaticMagna to a Sydney suburbfrom Leeton two or three times per year around 560 km and it never returns the same fuel consupmtion in both directions. I always check tyre pressures before leaving.


The last trip was an average one with the following figures.


The last trip a couple of weeks ago was Leeton to Sydney 9.5 L/100km.


The return trip 8.54L/100km which included diverting to Wollongong and climbing the McQuarie pass to go through Roberton and Moss Vale to return to the Hume highway.


Maybe it is the Coriolis forces but I mostly go East or West but Brisbane is either a North or South trip for the previous post!


To my knowledge no ethanol was involved.


The distance is a bit over 200 nm by air.


Regards Ross



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You know I don't quite understand all this hooplar about ethanol blended, this is not a new idea the shell oil co used it in the late 70's early 80's called it pertonol the cane farmers duringWW2 blendedethanol with kero to run their tractors and from all reports both these products worked well. surley with a few changes aircraft engines could do the same. surley the question is who is it exactly that’s creating such negitivity regarding alternet fuils?





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I run a magna and a Pajero. The ethanol mix costs more to use due to the decreased fuel efficency, also the ethanol fuel caused the catalytic converter to burn out on the magna. Another friends vehicle had the fuel pump collapse due to the ethanol on a late model fairlane. Apparantly these are common problems as reported by the mechanic i use.


i now am very careful not to use any ethanol mix in my vehicles.



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doesnt ethanol use more energy to refine than it produces? so then wouldnt ethanol be a short term solution?


I thought the issues with enthanol blends were the reactive properties of ethanol with fule system components???


in my car, fortunatly it is a rotary powered car, and having a


exponetially expanding combustion chamber, a slower burning lower


octane fuel produces more power!


anyway, as you have guessed i dont know much about fuels.



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Before I came to Holbrook I was at Gunnadah and they where going to build an ethanol plant and the benifits to the farmers and the town where fantastic.


And when you think of it anything that reduced our reliance on the greedy oil Co is a good thing.





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I'm not sure that your suggestion that all the comments


against ethanol should be lumped together as 'negativity' which you imply is




There are some real concerns with ethanol as Turtle has


commented, some components currently in use are not designed to be used with


ethanol and fall apart when used in an ethanol enviroment.


The big problem is where are these components ? I have also heard that there is a sloshing


sealant that used to be used in fuel tanks which does not tolerate ethanol.


There may be aircraft still around with tanks sealed with this particular


sealant. I'd also be checking fuel line compatibility. Some aircraft owners


could be up for major refitting expenses if access to ethanol free fuel is




The politicians and greens will say there's no problem but


they have their own agendas and will cherry pick the information they disseminate.


The people who are anti are no better. That goes for any


subject that is political, not just ethanol.


Frankly, I seriously doubt that Johnnie (with his 7% pay


rise) who gets a brand new car every year, purchased by you, can understand the


bloke who drives a bus for a living, struggling to pay the rent and keep his


15+ year old jalopy on the road who then all of a sudden has to pay for a major


engine overhaul because the seals disintegrated from the alcohol


in the fuel.


In June issue of EAA Sport Pilot, Phillip Lockwood attempts


to answer some of the questions. There are follow up letters in July and


September issues. Phillip professes to


be neutral on the issue.


The bottom line is, until I get sufficient trustworthy


information about ethanol, as it relates to me, I will do everything I can to


avoid it.


BTW I agree with you


about the benefits to the farmers at Gunnedah and reducing the reliance on the


oil companies, it gives a wonderful warm fuzzy feeling to everyone but that


doesn't help the end user with incompatible gear.







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doesnt ethanol use more energy to refine than itproduces?


I think that used to be the case but they have improved processing


methods so you get out more than you put in, I don't know to what




I read somewhere that putting 10% ethanol into petrol, by the time you


took into account everything from growing the fuel to delivering it to


the service station the actual reduction in greenhouse gases produced


was only 1%. I don't know who worked that out or who funded the


research but I'd guess it was the anti-ethanol lobby, regardless I'd


take the number with a big grain of salt.







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Just as a side issue to Ethanol there was a program on the ABC this arvo re bio diesel. A few points that took my interest.


A bloke in QLD has been producing it on a relatively small scale for a number of years, refining his technique to comply with the required standards. He sells it to the local community @ $1.20/L (he currently produces it for around $1.00).


A local machinery operator uses it in his backhoes, tractors etc. He maintains that his equipment runs quieter, produces no real emmisions other than CO2 and that fuel consumption across the board has dropped since using it some 10-11%.


The trick with all this seems to be about having a constant supply of inputs so that production is reliable. At the moment he is able to sell all he produces without issue. Local mechanics have said that the fuel systems seem to run much cleaner, after several tankfuls, descaling the system of mineral deposits left by the diesel. The imputs are all organic and the major by product from burning it in our cars etc is carbon dioxide, something that plants need to grow. This is environmentally sustainable, at least in principle.


From my perspective, and I have been wrong before, its about embracing the relatively early attempts at creating an alternative to mineral fuels. They are already becoming too expensive and will not be sustainable into the not too distant future.


Now as regards ethanol - in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (NSW) there are two major projects that have been recently announced regarding the construction of ethanol plants. One at a feedlot near Leeton the other near Coleambally. I understand each will produce over 150 million litres a year once they come on line. My hope here is that our city cousins embrace the concept as in the long term the benefits to the consumer, the economy and the environment will be significant.



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Hi All


From my research I have discovered that there are two different sloshing agents that can be used in epoxy fuel tanks one of which is compatible with ethanol blended fuel. The other is NOT.


Jabiru has an advisory on Ethanol to say that at least in the J160 serial number 14 that I own the sloshing agent used in the wet wings is incompatible with ethanol blended fuel.


I am not aware if theyhave changed sloshing agents since then.


You can have a choice of fuels for the Jab engine (with conditions - see the Jabiru web site); because of the sloshing agent the choice is removed if it involves a fuel with analcohol blend(Ethanol is an alcohol).







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Using ethanol added fuel in an effort to "be green" has cost me a fortune in repairs as the vehicles i am using are not suited, Talk to your exhaust shop . They love ethanol and the repairs it brings them. It would appear that the main push for ethanol is political and an effort to appease the treehuggers rather than any real decrease in exhaust emissions or oil usage . The cost to consumers of using ethanol appears to be far greater than any "green "advantages.




Maybe biodiesel could be different but at a glance it seems to be a political rather than practical decision. Perhaps in tractors or stationery engines but vehicles???? Australia has some of the worst fuel in the world why would we want to reduce the efficency further with these additives.


Thats my thoughts and experience and i will continue to go to any lengths to avoid any ethanol products



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Thanks, it was the Jabs that I'd heard had an issue with sloshing


agents (is agent the correct term ?) but I didn't want to name names in


case I had mixed it up.


Is is possible / practical to introduce another sloshing agent into the


tanks to isolate the original agent from the ethanol fuel ?





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It seems I really started something here. My understanding is that the main problem with ethanol for aviation is it's affinity for water and it also boils off at a lower pressure than petrol.


The water can be checked for when buying but once it is in the tank it becomes a problem. The boiling off has 2 effects. It changes the octane rating and also reduces the amount of fuel available.





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Started something?? Oh yes..... If the fuel does not do any damage to the tank, lines, pump and engine then if the manufacturer (and insurer) says it can be used, then go for it...


Thats my 2.2c worth...


I have been advised not to run my car on an ethanol blend of more than E5 (5%) as the research has found corrosion in fuel lines and pumps leading to damage there, and downstream. As the fuel available is E10, with my car, Ethanol is not able to be used.


However, I have and do use 98/100 octane and have found a reduction in fuel burn that just saves the pennies spent on the extra octane especially on a trip.


My previous car was once filled up in Bendigo when the Ethanol debate was raging several years ago. The car needed its injectors, pumps and lines serviced and checked. Especially as a snail on valium had more get-up-and-go..


But the problem was not that the fuel was Ethanol based.. but rather instead of being 10%, it was more around 20%.


In Sydney several years ago, several service stations watered down the product from the refinery with Toluene, which is a part of MoGas. They did this to increase profit margins, but ended up with a lot of broken cars by the roadside.





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Hi Smokey


That possibility had occurred to me but I have not invesitigated it.


I thought it inevitable that ethanol would be in all auto fuel eventually which would be potentially dangerous for aircraft because of the potential water problems. There was an article on the subject in one of the aero mags but I did not record the location. It mainly showed a method for deciding if there was ethanol in the fuel or not amongst other detail that I cannot recall.


Just do a google search to find more detail on the sloshing agent and possibly look up the Jabiru net site http://www.jabiru.net.au/


See P.11 of the Dec 2005 "Jaba Chat" on the Jabiru web site aboveunder news for Jabiru's perspective on fuel used in their engines.


Regards Ross



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If I am thinking of the same article you are referring to, I think it


was in the RAA mag about 12 months or so ago and it was just a brief


article about how to test for ethanol.


I think the other thing we have to keep in mind is that we are not just


talking about E10. Once that gets established the push will be on by


the greenies and other vested interests in going to E20 and so on.


In one of the followup letters to Phillip Lockwoods' article he


mentions that Rotax approve up to 5% ethanol (doesn't say whether


that's in a US blend or if it applies world wide) and that they had run


up to 10% without noticing any detrimental effects. What happens


when we get up to 20%, who knows.


I'm looking from a Rotax viewpoint as that's what I'm running. You


mention that Jabiru engines are happy on a variety of fuels I assume


that includes ethanol, but up to what percentage ?





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Hi Smokey


I did not say that Jabiru approve Ethanol in their fuel.


In fact the "Jaba Chat" article on Page 11 dated December 2005 on the Jabiru Web site mentionedin my previous postneeds to be read carefully.


The only mention of alcohols (and ethanol is one of them) was in connection to the damage they would do to the sealant used in their fuel tanks - there was no mention of engine components - presumably if it could not go in the tank it could neverget to the engine.


The Jaba Chat article above then wasnot mainly about Ethanol but about the antidetonation qualities of Avgas versus non quality controlled auto fuel.


For Jabiru use I suggest a personal phone call to Rod Stiff the owner at Jabiru in Bundaberg to clarify his position on fuel use in Jabiru Engines.







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This has been fascinating, and there seems to have emerged two main issues,<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


1. Seals/fuel lines etc, not compatible with ethanol


2. Ethanol and water.


Seals and fuel components can be replaced with an updated compatible set at next rebuild if ethanol can’t be avoided.


Water has always been a problem, one reason why all aircraft fuel tanks should be fitted with drain valves.


However fuel and water have been a problem almost from the day the internal combustion engine was invented. The Sydney to Newcastle fuel pipeline transfers all the northern NSW needs and the different fuel types unleaded diesels etc are separated by would you believe by water.


So it would seem to me that you could have a far greater chance of getting water in you mogas.


Life is full of changes, some good, some bad, some changes require other changes to accomidate the original changes and so the cycle goes on.


However one fact remains, because this great nation is so vast and distances travelled are many this great nation is being held to ransom by greed and I guess what I was trying to say is we need something to free us from that greed and if ethanol can help so be it.


There is no magic fix, however we must investigate every alternative with open minds and a willingness to change a few things ourselves. Don



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The Rotax 582 & 912 operators manuals only mention that alcohol in fuel "could cause troubles" but SB-912-030 specifically gives fuel "with more than 5% alcohol added" as a possible cause of damage to carb flanges.



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I discovered last nightthat my local servo have changed the pumps which were Regular Unleaded (91 octane) to "new" unleaded 91.


The appearance of the pumps is virtually unchanged apart from some tiny text"with up to 10% renewable ethanol". If its so great why try to disguise the change. I won't be buying from BP in future (evenblended fuel).


The data sheet for the fuel actually states "ethanol blended products are suscptible to water & more than 0.5% volume of water in contact with the blended fuel will cause the ethanol to speerate out of the blend".



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Guest micgrace

Hi All,


The servo fuel with ethanol will be a real problem for everyone up here in QLD if the government has their way. So, it looks like it's something we will have to live with before long. And I'm no fan of it happening.


So, a few operational changes may be in order. Fuel drain before flight, every time. (everyone does that? Don't they?)


Change seals/lines/pump etcas required. (update) depending on the mix may need some rejetting (richer)


Any thoughts on this and any other viable methods for safety in use of ethanol blended fuel.





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