Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What are the key terms to know when discussing ethanol flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and their fueling infrastructure?

Answer: It is important to know how to “talk the talk” when it comes to FFVs. Becoming familiar with the terms below will help you better understand these vehicles and the associated fueling infrastructure so that you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions.

FFVAn FFV is a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine and can run on E85 (defined below), gasoline, or a mixture of the two. Except for fuel system and powertrain adjustments that allow the vehicles to run on higher ethanol blends, FFVs are virtually identical to their conventional gasoline vehicle counterparts; however, drivers can expect a slightly lower fuel economy when driving on ethanol compared to gasoline, depending on the ethanol blend.

Types of Ethanol
Ethanol can be categorized into two main types based on the feedstocks used for its production:
  • Starch- and sugar-based ethanol: Produced from feedstocks like corn, wheat, milo, and sugarcane, starch- and sugar-based ethanol makes up the majority of all domestic ethanol production. In fact, corn is the most common ethanol feedstock in the United States. This type of ethanol is manufactured through dry- or wet-mill processing. More than 80% of ethanol plants are dry mills due to lower capital costs. Dry-milling consists of grinding corn into flour and fermenting the mixture, resulting in distiller grain and carbon dioxide co-products. Wet mills separate the starch, protein, and fiber in corn prior to processing these components into products, such as ethanol.
  • Cellulosic ethanol: Produced from feedstocks like crop and wood residues, dedicated energy crops, and industrial and other wastes, cellulosic ethanol offers advantages over starch- and sugar-based feedstocks (e.g., no concerns with food versus fuel). Feedstock components include cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Because it is more challenging to extract sugars necessary for ethanol production from these feedstocks, cellulosic ethanol is more difficult to manufacture than starch- and sugar-based ethanol. This type of ethanol can be produced through two conversion pathways:
    • Biochemical: Feedstocks are pretreated to release hemicellulose sugars and then undergo hydrolysis to break cellulose into sugars. Sugars are fermented into ethanol, and lignin is recovered and used to produce energy to power the process.
    • Thermochemical: Heat and chemicals are added to feedstocks to create a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen, also known as syngas. Syngas is then mixed with a catalyst to produce ethanol.

Ethanol Blends
The following ethanol blends can be used in conventional gasoline vehicles (note model year restrictions for E15):
  • E10: (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) – E10 is classified as "substantially similar" to gasoline by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is legal for use in any gasoline-powered vehicle. More than 95% of the U.S. gasoline supply contains up to 10% ethanol to boost octane, meet air quality requirements, or satisfy the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), which calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended into transportation fuel by 2022. E10 must meet ASTM D4806 fuel specifications. ASTM International develops specifications for conventional and alternative fuels to ensure proper vehicle operation and safety.
  • E15: (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) – E15 is legal for use in model year 2001 and newer vehicles; however, there are several EPA and state agency requirements and regulations stations must adhere to when selling E15. Fuel producers that market E15 are required to individually register with EPA. While E15 does not qualify as an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), it does help meet RFS2. E15 must meet fuel specifications laid out in ASTM D4806 and cannot be used in motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, off-road vehicles, or off-road equipment.

The following ethanol blends above E15 should only be used in FFVs due to material and compatibility issues associated with the high alcohol content of ethanol:
  • Mid-level blends: Blender pumps (defined below) can create various other ethanol blends between E15 and E85 (also defined below). E20 (20% ethanol, 80% gasoline) and E30 (30% ethanol, 70% gasoline) are the most common blends selected. Mid-level ethanol blends must meet fuel specifications laid out in ASTM D7794.
  • E85: E85 is considered an alternative fuel under EPAct and can contain 51% to 83% ethanol, depending on geography and season. This variance in ethanol content is allowed to ensure proper starting and vehicle performance in geographic locations where cold temperatures can affect fuel properties. Though dependent on the blend, drivers can expect about 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline, resulting in a corresponding reduction in fuel economy, when using E85. E85 must meet ASTM D5798 fuel specifications.

Low-level ethanol blends up to E10 have already been incorporated into the majority of the U.S. gasoline supply, and fueling stations that supply these blends are not required to update their fueling infrastructure. Ethanol blends above E10, however, do require specific ethanol-compatible equipment, including:
·         Dispensers: E85 and blender pump dispensers require specialized metals and seals to perform with high concentrations of ethanol. Permitting authorities typically require all ethanol dispensers to be UL-listed for the ethanol blend dispensed.
·         Hanging hardware: Hanging hardware, including hoses, nozzles, swivels, and breakaways used to dispense ethanol blends should use ethanol compatible materials. Permitting authorities typically require hanging hardware to be UL-listed for the ethanol blend dispensed.
·         Storage tanks: EPA guidance allows underground storage tank (UST) manufacturers to provide a statement of compatibility for their products with specific biofuels blends. All tank manufacturers have issued statements of compatibility with ethanol blends. For a list of UST manufacturers and their ethanol-compatibility statements, please refer to the Clean Cities Handbook for Handling, Storing, and Dispensing E85 and Other Ethanol-Gasoline Blends (

Most stations that dispense mid-level blends also have the following:
·         Blender pump: This type of fuel dispenser offers FFV owners a variety of ethanol-blended gasoline products between E15 and E85. Blender pumps draw fuel from two separate storage tanks (E10 and E85) and can dispense preprogrammed blends of those fuels. Blender pumps also may be used to dispense E15 legally. Note that blender pumps currently are offered only at select fueling stations and are mainly concentrated in the Midwest. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Fueling Station Locator ( includes details about E85 stations with blender pump availability.

Additional information on FFVs, ethanol feedstocks, and infrastructure can be found on the AFDC Ethanol website (

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Learning the Basics of Natural Gas

AVS is offering free presentations and "Natural Gas Basics 101" in the months of December, January and February. 

The presentation includes topics such as Safety, Refueling, Basic Operations, OEM and Aftermarket Conversions. It is a fabulous way to introduce your employees to NGVs and to stay up to date on Natural Gas Basics.

Date:  December 10th, 2013
          January 7th, 2014
          February 4th, 2014

Time9am to Noon 
Light lunch will be provided with a question and answer period to follow.

5924 South 350 East
Murray UT 84107

RSVP: This class in limited to the first 10 people.
Please RSVP to

In View with Utah Clean Cities and Larry King

Utah Clean Cities was honored to be aired on Larry King's In View TV Series in October.

The In View TV series airs on the Discovery Channel and other cable networks. Hosted by legendary journalist and former CNN host, Larry King, the In View Series features quality educational programming on a variety of topics ranging from business and technology trends to medical technologies, travel and much more.

Utah Clean Cities strives to clear the air through idle reduction and alternative fueling. Over 300 schools have joined in the Idle Free Program, reducing pollutants by significant numbers. The Clear the Air Challenge is another successful partnership and venture UCCC took state wide. 

Utah Clean Cities aims to be a positive asset to their wonderful stakeholders statewide. Thank you for your support of this venture and the ventures to come.

Watch how UCCC and its stakeholders have made an impact on Utah's air quality and environment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The Energy Department recently asked Argonne National Laboratory to use their expertise and brilliant skills to develop a tool to help Clean Cities stakeholders to estimate petroleum use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollutant emissions, and the cost of ownership of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Using simple spreadsheet inputs, the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool is simple to comprehend and apply.

The AFLEET Tool provides three calculation methods depending on the user's goals:
  • Simple Payback Calculator - estimates a simple payback of purchase of a new AFV compared to a conventional counterpart using acquisition and annual operating costs, as well as average annual petroleum use, GHGs, and air pollutant emissions.
  • Total Cost of Ownership Calculator - estimates the net present value of operating and fixed costs over the years of planned ownership of a new vehicle, as well as lifetime petroleum use, GHGs and air pollutant emissions
  • Fleet Energy and Emissions Footprint Calculator - estimates the annual petroleum use, GHGs and air pollutant emissions of existing and new vehicles, taking into consideration that older vehicles typically have higher air pollutant emission rates than newer ones.

Data from Argonne's Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) tool is used, as well as Environmental Protection Agency's MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES), making AFLEET a comprehensive tool. Other sources are included as well to provide default cost data and other numbers for your fleet. Keep in mind that using your own data, true to your fleet, will calculate data closer to your needs. 

Access the ready-to-go spreadsheets to generate data unique to your fleet and company on Argonne's AFLEET website to begin. 

Get FREE CNG Fuel with Westport WiNG

Westport WiNG is offering free CNG fuel when you order Westport WiNG Power System Vehicles. Don't hesitate to sign up! The deadline is December 31, 2013.