Ethanol-blended fuels have become increasingly popular in recent years as part of efforts to reduce emissions and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
While ethanol has its environmental benefits, it also poses unique challenges for fuel systems and engines.
Here we will explore the details of ethanol damage protection and why it is essential for the longevity and performance of your engines.
The Rise of Ethanol-Blended Fuels
Ethanol, a renewable biofuel has gained prominence as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Ethanol-blended fuels, often referred to as E10, E15, or E85, contain varying percentages of ethanol.
E10, which contains up to 10% ethanol, is the most common form and is widely available at petrol stations across the UK.
While ethanol may offer environmental benefits, its compatibility with existing fuel systems and its impact on engine longevity and performance cannot be ignored.
Ethanol's Impact on Fuel Systems
Ethanol has unique characteristics that can affect various components of a vehicle's fuel system.
One of the primary challenges posed by ethanol blended fuels is corrosion. Ethanol absorbs moisture from the surrounding environment, including the air. As ethanol absorbs water, it can create a corrosive environment within the fuel system.
This moisture can lead to the formation of rust and corrosion on metal components like fuel tanks, fuel lines, and even the internal components of the engine.
Corrosion in the fuel system can result in fuel leaks, reduced fuel efficiency, and costly repairs.
2. Fuel System Component Compatibility
Ethanol can interact with various materials commonly used in fuel system components. It can degrade certain types of rubber and plastic, leading to costly repairs.
For example, fuel hoses and seals may deteriorate when exposed to ethanol over time. This degradation can result in fuel leaks and other issues that compromise the safety and functionality of your engine
3. Fuel Quality Degradation
Ethanol-blended fuels are open to what is known as phase separation. This occurs when absorbed water separates from the fuel, creating layers within the fuel tank.
The lower layer, which consists of water and ethanol, can cause engine misfires and stalling if drawn into the engine.
The Role of Ethanol Damage Protection
Given the potential challenges posed by ethanol-blended fuels, damage protection becomes paramount. This protection is achieved through the use of fuel additives, often referred to as ethanol fuel treatments or fuel stabilisers.
1. Corrosion Inhibition
One of the primary functions of ethanol damage protection is corrosion inhibition. Ethanol fuel treatments contain corrosion inhibitors that create a protective barrier on metal surfaces within the fuel system.
This barrier prevents the corrosive action of moisture and ethanol, effectively safeguarding fuel tanks, fuel lines, and engine components from rust and corrosion.
2. Water Removal
Ethanol fuel treatments are designed to actively remove water from the fuel system. By eliminating moisture, these additives mitigate the risk of phase separation and the formation of water-ethanol mixtures within the fuel tank.
When water enters the engine, it can disrupt the combustion process, leading to misfires, stalling, and reduced power.
3. Fuel Stabilisation
This involves preserving the quality of the fuel itself. Ethanol-blended fuels can degrade more rapidly, resulting in the formation of gum and varnish deposits that can clog fuel lines, injectors, and carburettors.
Ethanol fuel treatments stabilise the fuel and prevent the oxidation and degradation of fuel components.