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Hi ALL, here in Zimbabwe we are now having E10 fuel.
We are lead to believe it is also being blended into the unleaded fuel as well now.
The big debate about this fuel is the consistancy of the 10% ethonol blend, easy to test for this, and its effects on the motor,motors being rotax 2 -strokes,912 and in particular 912is, carb and fuel line seals plus the danger of fuel/alcohol/water seperation at higher altitudes, also the dangers of leaving fuel in your tanks for more than 24 hours.
Is there anyone on our forum in the fuel industry that can guide us on this subject
For interest we are at 1340m ASL in Zimbabwe.
The Rotax 912 is 'approved' for E10 (at least the new ones are!). The challenge is the fuel lines, and water separation. Best advice is to AVOID it, if you can. We are based in West Africa, and if you purchase a minimum of 5,000litres from the fuel company you can ask them NOT to add certain things - we have looked at getting our own tank to control our fuel quality - the challenge is COST). SOme stations will GUARANTEEE that they are NOT using the Ethanol in their mix (we use them and even travel a few hundred km to ensure that we get the right fuel - purchasing around 600 - 1000litres on a run). Do you have a Total or Shell OMC in Zim? Fuel management is key to surviving flying in Africa! (we have several thousand hours of flight, and work hard on our fuel management here....) we are equally concerned with contamination and 'tampering' as well as just the general issue of ANTs trying to get in the fuel tanks!
Hi Jonathan, thanks for your input here, good advise.
The other problem is everyone at the flying club purchases their own fuel. We may have to arrange for a bulk tank, I have one, and speak to Total whom are here to see if we can buy unblended fuel and then sell the fuel directly onto members at the club.
We dont have any outlets that can guarentee fuel quailty, the sign might say unleaded but this is africa , the only sure thing you know following an unleaded sign is that you are not putting diesel in a pertol car!!!
Total are VERY supportive in this part of Africa - Total has a big 'pro light aviation' operation in Europe and they are (here at least) very interested in potential markets. Total even provide us with fuel analysis if we are concerned. Clearly, a 'team effort' is needed. Here we purchase the fuel for all of the aircraft, and everybody works together - but this is a special place (come and visit)!
I do not agree with the last statement, I have had kerosene and diesel contamination in petrol supplies in the past! Which also helps to prove your point! :-) Why do we so love being in the challenges of this continent - because it is so amazing - and the people make it worthwhile!
I would Love to visit one day. Living in africa keeps you on your toes, you make a plan every day, what a challange to life.
Europe is great everything works, water comes out of taps, lights go on when you switch them on, but not here!! you make plans to just have power and water the most basic essiantials to life, oh and a roof over your head as well.
I will make an appontmnt with Total and see what happens, if needs be I will mention how Total helps you and the LSA interests in europe.
For me africa is truely home, it has its moments but that comes with the territory here, at least we are a country at peace, for now,this is priceless in this day and age.
I will chime in with my .02 cents worth of opinions....
I have a pretty extensive racing background and decades of running Methanol for fuel.... When I built my 801 I purposely used alcohol proof products in the ENTIRE fuel system.. From the hoses , the O rings, fuel selector valves, fuel pumps to the flow scan unit. I even sloshed my tanks with alcohol proof sealer......
I knew this Ethanol trainwreck was coming down the tracks and I positioned myself to survive the quirks it entails...
Let me address some issues.
1- The Good..........I prefer to run E-10 or higher if I have a choice... reason being is, alcohol contains Oxygen molecules and that suppliments the fact I am based at 6000' MSL.. That would be 2000 meters to you guys... I have flown my 801 up to 18,000' MSL or 6000 Meters and not a hint of vapor lock, or phase separation of the alcohol from the gasoline. Alot of what you hear is old wives tales...
1- The Bad......... Any alcohol is corrosive and alot of fuel componants contain materilas that are NOT compatible.. You need to set up your fuel system to prevent the damage alcohol can do to it. It also has less BTU's then gasoline so your endurance will suffer. Make plans for that....
The racing toys I have lef that run alcohol are a couple of open modified snowmobiles.. One is a 800 cc Polaris and the other is a Rotax 670 cc... Both run 80% Methanol and 20% Nitro..... Since Methanol is VERY corrosive I need to flush the fuel system out with gasoline after EVERY race weekend or the inside of the motors will get eaten up... Ethanol is not as bad so keep that in mind...
Ben many thanks for your valueable 2 c here, you certianly have added value to this topic.
So from your input the first thing I see as a must do is to protect the fuel tanks and hoses within the wings as they are not accessable once wing is closed up.
You mentioned you sloshed your tanks with alcohol proof sealer. What is this product called and who supplies it.
On hoses I have similar question, what hosing are you using, aeroquip or is it that grey colored hose? I still need to do another order from zenith so possible these items can be packed in my next crate hopefully.
Ben what is your experience with leaving fuel in the tank after a flight, I am a weekend flyer and it was discussed that this could also lead to fuel quailty problems, ie water contamination??
Most, if not all of the flexible fuel lines sold in the last 10 years are alcohol compatible. There is a good chance your lines are ok..... Can you even see any of them ? They will have printing on the outside that will describe the product....
I used the Randolph 912 sloshing compound... There are other brands that are alcohol proof.. I prepped my tanks before they were installed and that made adhesion of the compound to the inner surfaces ideal..
As for leaving fuel in the tanks.... if your system is compatible with alcohol and your supplier is providing you with E-10, personally I would not be concerned with the fuel degrading in a week, or even a month... There are millions of cars and trucks all around the world which get filled up with E-10 and sit for extended periods of time....
And tens of thousands are kept at altitudes higher then most people fly their planes. Your concern is valid and good for you to be planning ahead... But,,, you need to position yourself to accept the reality that alcohol laced fuel is here to stay....
Ben thanks very much I will definetly prep my tank inner surfaces and put in the protection product. I agree with your thinking and also we have to accept this fuel is here to stay in one form or another there will be blended fuels.
Looking at it from a saftey point of view its good to cross check as much as possible to avoid any hiccups later on.
I shall pass on your information to my fellow club members and they can decide whats good for themselves after reading up on E10fuels.
The thing to remember about those millions of cars that are filled with E10 fuel and then sit stagnant for weeks is that modern fuel systems are sealed, not vented to the atomosphere. Older cars and trucks (and almost all aircraft) have fuel tanks and carb bowls that are vented to the atmosphere. In the US there are many owners of antique vehicles and aircraft who have learned the hard way that ethanol laced fuels will absorb atmospheric moisture like a sponge. Ethanol is a water magnet and will pull it out of the humid air above the fuel in the tank or carb bowl. Sealed fuel systems do not have this problem, once the tiny bit of humidity (that came in while the fuel cap was off the tank during fueling) is absorbed by the fuel, there is no more water to absorb. Our vented systems keep letting more humidity into the tank or the carb bowl and the fuel keeps sucking it up. Bad things can happen.
Even an aircraft fuel system constructed of ethanol tolerant hoses, pumps and seals still has the problem of venting to the atmosphere. The hoses and other parts may not fail, but the water in the fuel can (and has) caused failures and damage. Be careful.
I plan to build my fuel system of all ethanol tolerant components. However, I hope to not run ethanol fuels much, if at all. If I do, I plan to keep the ethanol stuff in one tank and good fuel in the other. Take off and landing will be on the good stuff. Taxi in after landing will be on the good stuff, also. That way, there will be no ethanol in the carb bowl or the plumbing while the aircraft sits. If it is to sit for more than a day or three, I plan to drain the ethanol tank to prevent problems. That drained fuel I can burn in a roadgoing vehicle and put fresh stuff into the plane before the next flight. That's my plan, subject to change as more is learned.
Hi Bob somewhere in the fuel system on a car there must be venting otherwise you would end up with a vacuum in your tank.
I was thinking of controlling the quailty of air the tank vent pipe breathes by routing it thru a container filled with silica gel which absorbs moisture, not sure if its a practical solution but something to consider.