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  • Writer's picturecaribfuels

How to Transition to Ethanol Fuel

Ethanol is a substance that is incorporated into fuel to help regulate or reduce hydrocarbon emissions that are harmful to the environment. Ethanol can be extracted from natural products such as corn, wheat, and sugarcane. E10 — an ethanol based fuel used in boat engines is becoming more popular for fuel in the British Virgin Islands.

The emergence of new technology allows for ethanol to be produced from cellulosic feeds such as grain straws, woodchips, pulp, and cornstalks. Ethanol is actually fit for human consumption in measured quantities and can be found in some alcoholic drinks. The the addition of gasoline renders it unfit for human consumption. However, this mixture leads to the production of E10. It is also known as ethanol blended fuel and contains 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. E85 (as you might guess) refers to a slightly different substance containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This type of fuel is designed only for engines that can accept high ethanol content, an example being Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV).

Ethanol is produced by removing starch from corn and beginning the process of fermentation. When fermented, the starch is distilled in alcohol and excess water is drained out resulting in the production of very pure ethanol. If you are considering switching to an ethanol-based fuel like E10, you may encounter some challenges. One example is how E10 can dissolve all remnants of the non-ethanol used before creating a phase separation of half water and half ethanol which is problematic for your boat’s engine. Here is how you fix that problem:

Check for Water Traces

If you find water in the tank, pump it out first before filling the tank with E10.

Use a Quality Cleaner

A quality cleaner will wipe out remnants of non-ethanol fuel and eliminate the chances of phase separation happening.

Fill the Tank with E10

Fill up the tank with E10 in order to dissolve all water traces so that your engine remains safe.

Service Your Filter

Regularly check your filters and clear out any clogs.

With the onslaught of ethanol use, there have been myths circulating in the last few years. Here are some of the common ethanol myths you should be aware of to stay properly informed.

1. Fuel Additives Can Remedy All Ethanol-Related Issues

The truth is that no additive can prevent phase separation. The best solution is to prevent water from accumulating in your tank.

2. Fuel Additives Make Phase Separated Fuel Usable

This is a pure myth. Contaminated fuel should always be discarded to maintain the health of your boat’s engine.

3. Ethanol Blended Fuels Should Be Avoided

E10 is commonly used and when you transition from non-ethanol fuels to E10 you may find it superior to the others you have used before.

To wrap up this piece on ethanol, here are 3 precautions to take to protect your engine:

4. Check Ethanol Composition

For marine boat fuel tanks, you likely will not want to fuel with a composition of more than 10% of ethanol.

5. Check the Pump

If possible, get a spec and double check the pump to ensure that it is actually dispensing E10 and not some other fuel. Putting in the wrong fuel can cause engine damage

6. Keep Fuel Tanks Full

A lot of boaters fill up their tanks despite the rising prices of Fuel in British Virgin Islands. This is a great way to safeguard your engine from phase separation.

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