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A Testing Based Assessment to Determine Impacts of a 20% Ethanol Gasoline Fuel Blend on the Australian Passenger Vehicle Fleet

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A Testing Based Assessment to Determine Impacts of a 20% Ethanol Gasoline Fuel Blend on the Australian Passenger Vehicle Fleet

Market barriers to the uptake of Biofuels study
Environment Australia, March 2003


About this report

This report presents the findings of vehicle testing completed by the Orbital Engine Company in order to assess the impact of gasoline containing 20% by volume ethanol on the Australian passenger vehicle fleet. The program is an initiative of the Environment Australia project 'Market Barriers to the Uptake of Biofuels - Testing Petrol Containing 20% Ethanol (E20)'. The program comprised two components, these being a desktop study and an experimental study. Both components have run in parallel with the desktop study reports submitted to Environment Australia in October and November 2002.

The desktop studies were undertaken with the intent of providing further focus and substantiation to the experimental study work scope. These studies resulted in the submission of reports to Environment Australia covering: 1) 'A Literature Review Based Assessment on the Impacts of a 20% Ethanol Gasoline Fuel Blend on the Australian Vehicle Fleet'; and 2) 'A Technical Assessment of a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis Output for the Application of the E20 Petrol Ethanol Blend Fuel into the Australian Vehicle Fleet'. These reports have confirmed that the proposed experimental program is sufficiently broad in terms of capturing the potential issues identified.

The experimental study work scope has three major components reported:

A number of other elements to this study included in this report are:

The vehicle durability testing is not reported in this document, as this testing has been categorised as a separate phase and has just been initiated. The planned completion timing of this activity is May 2004. This activity is considered crucial, as it will provide detailed data related to the impact of the E20 fuel blend on the durability of many vehicular systEMS, in particular the catalyst in terms of regulated emissions, air toxic emissions and greenhouse gases.

The vehicle testing program included nine different vehicle makes or models, and was comprised of 5 new vehicles and 4 old vehicles (model year 1985 to 1993). The vehicles were selected in consultation with The Department of Transport and Regional Services and Environment Australia to ensure adequate representation of the Australian passenger vehicle fleet.