SOURCE: Underwriters Laboratories

October 16, 2007 08:00 ET

Underwriters Laboratories Announces Development of Certification Requirements for E85 Dispensers

Now Accepting Product Submittals for Certification Investigation

NORTHBROOK, IL--(Marketwire - October 16, 2007) - Underwriters Laboratories (UL), North America's leading safety testing and certification organization, announced the establishment of safety requirements for E85 fuel dispensing equipment, and is now accepting submittals for certification investigations.

The establishment of safety requirements follows the completion of UL's comprehensive research program to investigate potential safety concerns associated with dispensing highly concentrated ethanol-blended fuels. The research included extensive gathering of technical data, field studies of existing E85 installations in the U.S. and Brazil, analysis of material compatibility for dispenser components, and a co-sponsored technical forum with the United States Department of Energy (DOE) that brought together 32 national experts from automobile and petroleum companies, ethanol producers, dispenser and component manufacturers, industry associations, government agencies and university researchers.

"UL's research into the safety aspects of the equipment used to dispense high percentage ethanol-blended fuels was a significant undertaking that required the participation of government agencies such as Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Association (EPA), as well as technical experts in biofuels and material compatibility from around the world," said Gus Schaefer, UL's Public Safety Officer. "We took the need for E85 dispenser requirements very seriously due to the unique characteristics of ethanol-blended fuels and believe the potential issues we identified through our thorough process will help promote the efficient, effective delivery of E85 as safely as possible."

UL's research indicated that although certain materials found in commercially available dispensers can be expected to perform acceptably when exposed to motor vehicle fuels blended with high concentrations of ethanol, some materials experienced significant deterioration during research tests. The new safety requirements address these material compatibility findings.

Working closely with the DOE, UL's scientific research program was designed to advance public knowledge about the long-term effects of highly concentrated ethanol on the components of E85 dispensers and the subsequent effects on fire safety. One element of the research program included a long-term conditioning test. Test results were used to assist UL in determining the necessary protocols for evaluating potential degradation of dispenser materials from exposure to E85.

"The Department of Energy has been pleased to facilitate an efficient, focused, diligent, and collaborative effort with Underwriters Laboratories, EPA, and stakeholders. We are pleased with the outcome that offers predictability in planning and growth of E85 as it becomes a nationwide fueling option. A safe and reliable biofuels infrastructure is essential toward meeting President Bush's goal of displacing 20 percent of gasoline consumption within a decade by commercializing cost-effective biofuels nationwide," said Andy Karsner, U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "UL's quick completion of test requirements will help expand the use of clean and abundant homegrown fuels to decrease our reliance on imported oil, increase our energy security, and benefit our environment."

As part of ongoing research, UL is currently working with DOE, EPA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to conduct additional long-term, dynamic testing of materials to be used in E85 dispensers.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers' products each year. UL's worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 66 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries. Visit: www.UL.com/newsroom.

Contact Information

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