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NMMA: Isobutanol a promising alternative biofuel

Posted by Gary Pickering on November 20, 2011 at 4:55 AM

WASHINGTON – The National Marine Manufacturers Association released a preliminary evaluation of isobutonal-gasoline blended fuel today that showed isobutanol as a promising alternative fuel additive for marine engines.

The Summer Butanol Evaluation Report conducted by the NMMA with support from Volvo Penta and BRP revealed that the 16 percent isobutanol mixed fuel performs similar in engine enleanment and emissions tests to E10 fuel.

Positive results from preliminary tests of the 16 percent isobutanol fuel are welcome after recent testing of E15 on boat engines by the Department of Energy. In the study, marine engines experienced significant damage and corrosion as a result of the fuel.

“We are pleased with the results of the evaluation on isobutanol and look forward to more testing on this, and other, important alternatives to E15,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich in a press release. “We know E15 causes significant damage to boat engines and therefore rushing it to the market is irresponsible and an unnecessary step, especially in light of the promising test results on isobutanol.”

Alternative biofuels have been a topic of research in the boating industry after the EPA approved the use of E15 for model year 2001 and newer cars and trucks. While E15 is not approved for boat and marine engines, the NMMA believes that misfueling at the pump could pose a danger for boat owners due to boaters being unaware of the possible damage caused to marine engines by fuel with ten percent or more ethanol.


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