NMMA Evaluates Promising Alternative Biofuel

November 18, 2011

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) today released findings from preliminary evaluations on isobutanol-gasoline blends supplied by Gevo.   The tests were conducted by NMMA and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) as the recreational boating industry explores alternative biofuels in response to the U.S. introduction of gasoline containing fifteen percent ethanol, commonly referred to as E15.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the use of E15 for model year 2001 and newer cars and trucks. However, the boating industry has found that fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol causes severe damage to boat engines. While marine engines are not currently approved by the EPA for use with E15, misfueling at the pump is a danger for boaters unaware that E15 is not compliant with boat engines.

In fact, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced results from tests conducted on engines using E15 which revealed performance issues like stalling, corrosion leading to oil or fuel leaks, increased emissions and damaged valves, rubber fuel lines and gaskets. These results reinforced the recreational boating industry’s concern that E15 is not a suitable fuel for boat engines.