Blender pump

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Bioenergy > Ethanol/Technologies > Infrastructure/Blender pumps


  • Blender pumps, along with pipelines, are an important component of the infrastructure for delivering biofuels to consumers.

A blender pump is a filling station fuel pump that allows consumers to select the desired blend of gasoline and ethanol. The availability of pumps that can handle biofuels is an important infrastructural constraint, which needs to be addressed before the use of biofuels can be significantly increased.

Issues

  • Restrictions on availability of ethanol fuel blends
    • In the United States, only limited blends of ethanol (E10 and E85) are generally available. According to those in the ethanol industry, this restriction has prevented the further increase in demand for ethanol-derived fuel; this situation has been called the "blender wall" or "blender's wall".[1]

News

  • Senate Votes to End Ethanol Blenders Tax Credit, 16 June 2011 by AgWired: "An amendment to end the ethanol blenders tax credit (VEETC) passed the Senate today by 73 to 27, a vote that some agricultural groups applaud while some denounce, while the ethanol industry says it is unlikely to matter."
    • "The Renewable Fuels Association calls the vote disappointing but 'ultimately inconsequential' since the underlying economic development bill to which this amendment is attached is 'unlikely to make it to the president’s desk.'"
    • "Immediately after the vote to end the VEETC, senators defeated an amendment that would have stopped federal funding for ethanol blender pumps by a vote of 41 to 59."[2]
  • Tom Coburn forces Tuesday ethanol vote, 9 June 2011 by Politico: (United States) "Sen. Tom Coburn has pulled the trigger and is forcing a long-sought vote on an amendment repealing billions in annual tax incentives for ethanol."
    • "The Senate will vote Tuesday afternoon on Coburn’s motion limiting debate on his amendment that would do away with the 45 cent blender tax credit for ethanol — worth about $6 billion this year — and the 54 cent tariff on imported ethanol."
    • "Regardless of whether the underlining economic development legislation gets through the Senate and House and to the president’s desk, a vote on Coburn’s amendment could be a major symbolic vote."
    • "Ethanol backers have been looking to try to stave off such moves by working behind the scenes on ways to quickly move off of the blender tax credit and transition to federal assistance for blender pumps and other infrastructure to grow the market base for ethanol and other biofuels."[3]
  • USDA aims to expand E85 market, 9 April 2011 by Des Moines Register: "In a bid to increase the market for ethanol, the Obama administration is offering aid to rural gas stations to install new tanks and pumps."
    • "Under rules that the Agriculture Department will issue soon, stations could get grants and loan guarantees to cover up to 75 percent of the cost of installing equipment needed to dispense E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and gasoline, and other mixtures."
    • "The goal is to get the ethanol pumps in 10,000 more stations in five years. About 2,300 stations nationwide are now equipped to sell E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol."
    • "The ethanol industry is fast running out of room to increase its sales because most conventional gasoline now contains 10 percent ethanol, which has long been the legal limit for the additive. The Environmental Protection Agency recently agreed to raise the ethanol cap to 15 percent for 2001 and newer cars and trucks, but it's not clear how many stations will sell a blend that won't be legal for all of their customers to buy."[4]
  • Midwest senators strike back with pro-biofuels bill, 11 March 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Two Midwest senators proposed legislation March 10 favoring the build-out of biofuels infrastructure and continued federal support of ethanol and biodiesel. The Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would establish incentives for biofuels infrastructure and deployment, develop a 'more cost-effective' tax credit program for ethanol and biodiesel, establish a renewable energy standard and encourage greater production of hybrid, electric and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
    • "The bill immediately received widespread support from renewable fuels and agriculture groups."
    • "The 117-page SAFEST Act covers a wide spectrum of renewable fuels interests and contains several important provisions related to the ethanol industry. It amends the definition of 'advanced biofuel' to include corn starch-derived ethanol....It attempts to eliminate liability concerns related to the use of ethanol in combustion engines. It also provides subsidies for the installation of blender pumps and requires any entity that owns or manages 10 or more retail fueling stations to install a blender pump at each station."[5]
  • DOE Announces up to $11 Million for Biofuels Technology Development, 28 May 2010 by US Department of Energy: "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $11 million in funding over three years for research and development in the area of thermochemical conversion of biomass into advanced biofuels that are compatible with existing fueling infrastructure. The objective of this funding is to improve the conversion of non-food biomass to liquid transportation hydrocarbon fuels via pyrolysis, a process that decomposes biomass using heat in the absence of oxygen to produce a bio-oil that can be upgraded to renewable diesel, gasoline, or jet fuel."
    • "DOE anticipates selecting three to four projects under this announcement and will require a minimum of 20% cost share from applicants. Selected projects will also be required to include an analysis of greenhouse gas reductions as compared with petroleum fuels."[8]
  • Rival Ethanol Trade Groups Campaigning to Woo Senators, Clobber Each Other, 13 April 2010 by Greenwire/New York Times: "Two rival trade groups seeking congressional help for the ethanol industry launched advertising yesterday to promote themselves and bash one another."
    • "Growth Energy Inc., which represents U.S.-based corn ethanol producers, seeks to maintain supremacy at home, while the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, wants to tear down corn ethanol's benefits in order to grab a larger share of the U.S. market."
    • "Growth Energy wants an extension of tax credits as well as to maintain an import tariff against ethanol produced in other countries and to promote the construction of ethanol pipelines and blender pumps. UNICA seeks elimination of the import tariff and of domestic subsidies for biofuels."[9]
  • DOE to Award Nearly $80 Million for Biofuels Research and Infrastructure, 20 January 2010 by EERE Network News: "DOE announced on January 13 its investment of nearly $80 million in advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
    • A majority of the money is going to, "two biofuels consortia that will seek to break down barriers to the commercialization of algae-based and other biofuels that can be transported and sold using the existing fueling infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines."
    • "In addition, the new infrastructure projects will allow the installation of new pumps and the retrofitting of existing pumps to dispense E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline."[10]
  • Ethanol Producers Look At Ways To Promote Alternative Fuel undated, from The Chief Engineer, noted that gasoline may only be sold legally "in blends of 10 and 85 percent" (as "E10" and "E85", respectively) but that "Some ethanol boosters say their product would be more attractive if drivers are allowed to select the percentage of the corn-based fuel that’s blended in with regular gasoline."
    • "Many drivers have been scared away by lower fuel efficiency, and reports that cars with E-85 start poorly in the winter, said Owen Jones, a Britton, SD, ethanol producer. He said a blender pump would allow consumers to use a more economical 20 or 30 percent blend and work their way up to E-85."[11]

References


Ethanol edit
Bioethanol - Corn ethanol
Ethanol producers by country | Ethanol feedstocks: Cellulosic ethanol (Microbe research) | Ethanol policies: Ethanol subsidies (VEETC)
Fuel edit
Alternative fuel | Biofuel

Gasoline-ethanol fuel blends: E10 | E85 | E90 {Blender's Credit, Blender pump, "Blender wall")
Fuel standards: Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS, US), Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO, UK)
Fuel tracebility (Labeling/Tagging)


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