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A testing based assessment to determine impacts of a 20% Ethanol Gasoline fuel blend on the Australian passenger vehicle fleet - 2000hrs material compatibility testing

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A testing based assessment to determine impacts of a 20% Ethanol Gasoline fuel blend on the Australian passenger vehicle fleet - 2000hrs material compatibility testing

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

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About this report

This report presents the findings of materials compatibility 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)'. This materials testing was a continuation of the broader program of performance and durability testing program undertaken on this engine category on behalf of Environment Australia and reported in March 2003, where in only a preliminary review of materials compatibility was presented since the testing was still in progress.

The materials compatibility testing focused only on the compatibility with E20. Selected components, or samples cut from components, from three representative vehicles were subjected to a 2000hr immersion test following the appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers test standards. The three vehicles were the Holden VN and VK Commodores, and the XE Falcon, each representing a different fuel system / Engine Management System type and thus encompassing most component types.

In addition to the immersion tests, assessments were conducted to evaluate the compatibility of the paint used on body components that may be subjected to fuel splash (such as the filler door).