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Storage of Low Level Ethanol Blends in Small Engines
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
To be published on October 30, 2020 by SAE International in United States
This study examined the effects of storing gasoline (E0) and low level ethanol blends (E10, E15, E20) in small engines over a 12 month period. Many variables were monitored or controlled in order to determine if ethanol blended fuels affected small engines during storage. A sample size of 64 engines was used to reduce the effects of normal engine to engine performance variations and analyze trends with the different fuel blends. For the study, 32 handheld 2-stroke engines with a cube carburetor (leaf blowers) and 32 non-handheld 4-stroke consumer grade small engines with a float carburetor (gensets) were tested. These engines were selected to represent many different types of equipment on the market and for ease of loading during the study. The engines were measured after initial purchase, after 6 months of storage, and after 12 months of storage to check for changes. All storage of engines and fuel was performed in a non-climate controlled building with temperatures ranging from 95°F to -20°F. Temperatures, startablilty, multi-positional operation, and hot-restart were measured on the handheld engines while temperatures, startability, load pickup, RPM stability, and hot-restart tests were measured on the non-handheld engines. At the end of the study, the fuel systems were disassembled and inspected on all of the engines. The fuel used for the study was analyzed at the beginning and after 12 months to check for changes using ASTM D4814 along with a number of extra tests. Several changes were noted in the operating characteristics of the handheld engines as ethanol content increased, such as an inability to meet or maintain initially measured RPM as well as corrosion and build-up in the carburetors. The non-handheld equipment did not exhibit noticeable operational changes from fuel to fuel from the start of the study to the end, but did exhibit increasing fuel system build-up as the ethanol level increased.