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Grassroots Voice: "Data is Building in Support of Mid-Range Blends"
by Brian Jennings

Two documents were released last month by the U.S. Department of Energy, both with good news for the future approval of mid-range ethanol blends.

DOE, along with USDA, announced a “National Biofuels Action Plan” detailing their collaborative efforts to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry. In the plan, the agencies affirmed the potential of mid-range ethanol blends such as E12, E15, and E20, saying they “represent a critical pathway” to meet the President’s goal of reducing petroleum-based gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next 10 years.

In coordination with the action plan, the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released an interim study detailing the “Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small Non-Road Engines,” also affirming the potential for mid-range ethanol blends. Both documents can be found on our website, Ethanol.org.

We’re pleased to see this positive research coming out of the DOE’s national labs, and we applaud the DOE and USDA for making the statement affirming the great potential for mid-range ethanol blends to decrease our dangerous and expensive dependence on fossil fuels. Ethanol is here today and already making an important contribution as a homegrown, clean, and cost-effective alternative to oil, and moving beyond E10 to mid-range blends only accelerates the benefits to American motorists and to the nation’s economy.

The ORNL-NREL report found no show-stoppers in their tests, with no malfunction indicator lights being displayed and good results in tailpipe emissions and catalyst temperatures. This follows the State of Minnesota’s research on E20, which found no materials compatibility issues with standard vehicles or fueling infrastructure. Also, ACE’s mid-range blends study last year, in conjunction with DOE, found positive drivability and fuel economy results for mid-range blends – especially E20 and E30.

We recognize, as the National Biofuels Action Plan states, that more must be understood about how mid-range ethanol blends affect emissions, driving performance, and other factors before the blends can be approved for use in standard engines. But it is clear that the body of scientific evidence is growing to support the approval of these blends beyond 10 percent ethanol.

We believe that it’s in the best interest of all parties – including the government, automakers, and petroleum interests – to work collaboratively toward a solution that makes mid-range ethanol blends available to consumers. We look forward to working together to make this happen as quickly as is feasible.

 
© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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