Underwriters Laboratories

November 06, 2006 14:59 ET

Underwriters Laboratories Announces Advancement Toward Developing E85 Dispenser Safety Requirements

NORTHBROOK, IL--(CCNMatthews - November 06, 2006) - Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) reported advancement today toward developing safety requirements for E85 ethanol dispensers following a two-day forum at its global headquarters Nov. 1-2.

The technical forum, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), featured 32 national experts discussing E85 fuel-dispensing system materials and the development of safety standards for E85 dispensers. Participants included automobile and petroleum company representatives, ethanol producers, dispenser and component manufacturers, industry associations, government agencies and researchers.

UL, North America's leading safety testing and certification organization, said additional technical data is necessary from forum participants to assist in the standards development process. Forum participants agreed to provide UL with requested technical data no later than Nov. 15.

UL's engineers will review all data collected and make a determination whether the technical information is sufficient for UL to draft test program requirements for E85 dispensers. Once the safety requirements are finalized, UL will immediately accept E85 dispenser investigations. UL would then propose the requirements for formal adoption through its normal standards development processes.

If the requested data is not made available by Nov. 15 or the data provided is found to be insufficient, UL will need to undertake additional research prior to revising the safety requirements.

"Our common goal was an efficient and effective delivery of the product in as safe an environment as possible. It is obvious that everyone has a wealth of information to share and consensus on a standard will be achieved in the spirit of cooperation," said John J. Fennell Jr., general counsel, Illinois Office of State Fire Marshall (IOSFM). "We are grateful to UL for making the forum possible and to the participants for their commitment to the common goal."

The DOE said that in parts of the nation where E85 dispensers are located, state policymakers have already issued statements that allow dispensers to continue to be used, even as safety requirements are being established.

"The technical forum co-hosted by UL and the Department of Energy has been very productive. Technical experts and scientists from across government and industry came together for the first time to discuss best practices and recommended safety procedures related to E85 dispensing," said Dennis Smith, technology development manager for the DOE. "Our next step is to continue working together to provide UL with the data it needs to develop safety requirements for E85 dispensing systems."

On Oct. 23, UL distributed a communication to Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) explaining that it had suspended authorization of E85 dispenser components and that it would be updating its requirements. The primary concern addressed in UL's communication with the AHJ community was any potential material compatibility issues, specifically corrosive effects that E85 may have on dispenser components. To date, UL has not certified any motor fuel dispensers for use with E85.

"For more than 112 years UL has been developing safety standards and testing products to help bring safer products to the marketplace," said John Drengenberg, UL's manager of consumer affairs. "E85 dispensing systems are no different, and UL is committed to appropriate, effective and timely safety standards."

About UL

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for more than 110 years. UL tests more than 19,000 types of products annually, and more then 20 billion UL Marks appear on products each year. Worldwide, UL's family of companies and its network of service providers include 62 laboratories, and testing and certification facilities. For more information, visit http://www.ul.com/.

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