ALL ABOUT FLEX FUEL

The hunt for a new type of fuel has been in motion ever since the advent of petrol engines in the early 1900s. Fossil fuels are inherently limited by nature, and at the current rate of consumption we will completely run out of dinosaur juice in 47 years. It's almost impossible to believe that in the 200 years or so since we discovered gasoline and all its magical applications, we have managed to deplete a shocking majority of these 600 million year old natural reserves. The situation is starting to become dire now. Countries are not able to keep up with fuel demand and have to rely on imported fuel at high prices to satisfy demand. In the specific case of India, we have to import 80% of the fuel we consume which means that our fuel prices have been skyrocketing lately

Diesel is a fossil fuel in itself and diesel engines have a set of their own problems such as a shorter lifespan, narrow rev range, high carbon build-up in the exhaust runners, and high NVH levels so that's out. Hydrogen fuel is still hard to find and not to mention, very expensive. Electric motors and batteries are looking more and more like the sole successors to the conventional engine, which is a future I dearly hope not to witness. However, there is another option.


A biofuel is basically a type of synthetic fuel that's mixed with a percentage of gasoline to be used in engines. The most common biofuel is ethanol which has been in use since the early 2000s. The first production car to be powered entirely by ethanol was the 1978 Fiat 147. These days, ethanol is sold in mixtures with gasoline such as E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline), E25 (25% ethanol, 75% gasoline), E50, E85, and so on. Cars that can be powered by E85 and above are known as flex fuel vehicles. As a rule of thumb however, cars manufactured before 2002 shouldn't be used with ethanol-gasoline mixtures since their engines weren't designed to handle anything else except petrol. On the other hand, cars manufactured after 2011 are completely safe to fill up with ethanol mixtures. 2002-2011 is a grey area with some cars supporting ethanol and some not. With all that out of the way, let's dive into the specifics.


ETHANOL AND ETHANOL BLENDS

Alcohol-based fuel produced from starch crops or cellulosic biomass such as trees and grasses:

  • Currently, corn is primary feedstock

  • Cellulosic feedstock in development

High octane (100+)

  • Used to enhance octane of gasoline (E10)

  • As oxygenate to reduce CO emissions during combustion (E10)

As an alternative fuel, most commonly used in a summer blend of approximately 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline (E85). Winter blends may be as low as 70% ethanol.


As an alternative fuel, most commonly used in a summer blend of approximately 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline (E85). Winter blends may be as low as 70% ethanol.


FLEX FUEL VEHICLES (FFVs)

Flex fuel vehicles can use E85, unleaded gasoline or any combination of the two.

Key component differences in a flex fuel vehicle are-

  • Higher volume fuel pump

  • Larger diameter injectors

  • Different materials in the fuel system, heads, valves, and piston rings.

  • ECU calibration

Conventional vehicles are not certified for use with E85.


If E85 is used in a non- flex fuel vehicle the driver will experience very poor acceleration, a substantial increase in maintenance costs, eventually component failure.


WHY E85 ?

  • Efficient Technology

  • Is Sustainable

  • Performance

  • Better for environment


40 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All