Diesel ethanol, also called E-diesel, is comprised of diesel fuel combined with ten to fifteen percent ethanol alcohol. It is used primarily in centrally fueled vehicle fleets. Although there are many benefits to using ethanol-based fuels, diesel ethanol is not yet widely used. This is primarily due to the fact that there are increased risk factors associated with its use.
The main benefits of using E-diesel are increased fuel efficiency and fewer carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. Much like ethanol-gasoline combinations, E-diesel helps to increase gas mileage, which has a direct effect on the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the air. Trucking companies are also able to save money by having to fuel up less often.
Despite these benefits, diesel ethanol is not widely used and is not legally sold in many areas. This is because of the high flammability of the fuel and an increased risk for combustion and explosion. Fires caused by traffic accidents with E-diesel fueled trucks or trucks carrying the fuel are also increased, although it is not known exactly by how much. When the use of diesel ethanol was compared to gasoline and regular diesel fuels, it was shown that it poses a higher risk for fire-related injury.
There are other issues related to the use of diesel ethanol, including hindered performance of trucks using it as a primary fuel source. Decreased fuel pump and fuel projector life, along with decreased performance in these components, was noted in trucks using diesel ethanol fuel in comparison with those using standard diesel. This results in added costs for trucking companies.
The use of diesel ethanol was temporarily suspended in some regions due to the increased safety hazards, but its use has recently been reexamined. There are a variety of precautions that can be take to decrease fire risks so that the use of E-diesel is comparable in safety and risk to gasoline or diesel fuel. These include equipping all fuel tanks, filters, and fill lines with flame arrestors that are specially made for use with ethanol. Installing proper vapor recovery systems and insuring that fuel tanks are of a safe design are other methods being used to increase safety.
The use of diesel ethanol is still being researched and modified to ensure optimum safety and convenience. This type of sustainable fuel is of increasing importance due to the threat of global warming and the Earth’s dwindling fossil fuel supply. Since ethanol alcohol is made from a renewable resource, it is a primary choice for increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing fossil fuel dependency.