Overcoming One of Fuel’s Greatest Quality Control Challenges with Economical and Simple Solutions
By Dwight Rutledge
WITH ETHANOL CONSUMPTION ON THE RISE IN CANADA, FUEL SITE OPERATORS NEED TO BE COGNIZANT ABOUT MAINTAINING A STRONG QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM FOR ETHANOL BLENDS.
One of the considerations for a successful ethanol management program is preventing the distribution of an ethanol-blended fuel that has completed phase separation, which damages customers’ automotive engines. Here’s what fuel marketers need to know to keep their station’s reputation in good standing and customers happy.
Ethanol Is Becoming a Bigger Player
According to a 2018 Biofuels in Canada report, ethanol consumption in Canada increased from roughly 1.7 million liters in 2010 to 2.85 million liters in 2016, accounting for over six per cent of fuel consumption in the gasoline pool. Additionally, beginning in 2020, some Canadian provinces will increase the amount of ethanol content required in their fuel blends to an average of 10 per cent.
Ethanol blends offer many benefits including reduced dependence on imported crude oil and gasoline, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower costs to consumers. Unfortunately, ethanol blends are susceptible to phase separation, a potentially damaging fuel quality condition that occurs inside an underground storage tank when water contaminates an ethanol-blended gasoline. As such Canadian fuel site operators need to know how phase separation happens, the potentially devastating consequences of dispensing fuel that has completed phase separation and what they can do to prevent it from happening at their fuel site.