Underwriters Laboratories Inc (UL) has suspended authorization to use UL Markings on components for fuel dispensing devices that specifically reference compatibility with alcohol blended fuels that contain greater than 15 percent alcohol (such as ethanol, methanol, or other alcohols), according to UL information.
At the same time, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) reported some confusion from ethanol handlers after the UL announcement and emphasized that the UL decision does not apply to equipment that dispenses ethanol blends up to 10 percent. All vehicles made and marketed in the United States can use fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. Overall, ethanol is blended into 46 percent of the nation’s gasoline, most as E10. Flexible fuel vehicles can operate on gasoline or any blend of ethanol up to E85, 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, ACE argued.
UL said that in all cases, acceptability of fuel dispensers for using alcohol-blended fuels containing greater than 15 percent alcohol remains at the discretion of the authority having jurisdiction. The UL decision became effective October 5, 2006.
"Research indicates that the presence of high concentrations of ethanol or other alcohols within blended fuels makes these fuels significantly more corrosive," UL stated. "This may result in the fuel chemically attacking the materials used in fuel dispenser components, and may ultimately degrade the dispensers ability to contain the fuel. While UL has no evidence of field issues related to this application, we are suspending authorization to use the UL Mark on components used in dispensing devices that will dispense any alcohol blended fuels containing over 15 percent alcohol until updated certification requirements are established and the effected components have been found to comply with them. "
UL said its engineers are actively reviewing current E-85 research and meeting with industry and government experts to gather the information required to draft the revised certification requirements, and anticipates that testing of E-85 dispenser components will commence immediately following publication of UL's E-85 certification requirements, as they pertain to the use of these higher alcohol blended fuels on dispenser a system.