UAI: A new research tool to help ensure accurate ethanol data

By Urban Air Initiative | August 24, 2020

A new tool is available for researchers to help ensure accurate and consistent results when conducting fuel and emission testing. Future Fuel Strategies recently published a Fuel Blending Guide for Ethanol: Identifying Sound Practices for Acquiring or Blending Fuels for Studies of Emissions Changes. The Urban Air Initiative commissioned this study after coming to understand that the way test fuels are blended dictate emission results.

“This guide presents a step by step approach to designing a comparative market fuel emission study. This should matter greatly to the affected industries, auto, oil, ethanol- because it is these studies that are being used to design fuel/emissions regulations that directly impact the industry,” said Future Fuel Strategies Principal Consultant Tammy Klein.

Currently there are no protocols or standards for researchers to use when it comes to blending test fuels. In fact, the EPA often relies on the oil industry to blend test fuels. After reviewing dozens of studies, many of which incorrectly blame ethanol for raising emissions, Urban Air’s Technical Director Steve Vander Griend found that if there was a standardized way test fuels were blended, a lot of studies would have very different outcomes.

“Having a uniform approach to blending test fuels will mean we will get accurate results. This fuel blending guide encourages using test fuels that represent real-world fuels. By doing this, emissions testing will show that ethanol reduces toxic aromatics in gasoline, reducing tailpipe emissions and improving air quality,” said Vander Griend.

The Urban Air Initiative says the goal for this Fuel Blending Guide is for researchers to use it as an educational tool and third party organizations like the Society of Automotive Engineers take the guidance into account when conducting peer review on fuel studies. It also provides the opportunity to look back at past studies and identify flaws within the fuel testing to ensure more accurate results in the future.