E10 biofuel: Department for Transport explains why it’s ‘better'

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Drivers are being warned to expect far colder temperatures in the coming weeks and months, which could lead to plenty of breakdowns on the roads. In colder temperatures, condensation occurs when water vapour comes in contact with a hot surface, potentially spelling trouble for petrol cars.

This can sometimes occur in the fuel tank, as any space not filled up with fuel will be taken up by air containing water vapour.

Dr Dan Clarke, Global Head of Science and Technology at SulNOx Group Plc, warned of potential fuel issues if motorists are using E10 fuel this winter.

He said: “The main problem is that the additional bio-ethanol content in E10 prefers to mix with water as opposed to petrol.

“Where there is sufficient of both, it leaves the petrol and combines with the water to form a separate layer at the bottom of the fuel tank. 

READ MORE: Cold weather tyre pressure: Why you must check your car this winter

“The fuel line then draws from this watery alcohol mixture which is pumped directly into the engine. 

“Equally, while petrol or diesel are very unlikely to freeze in the temperatures we typically experience in the UK, water condensation left in the empty fuel lines can easily freeze and prevent fuel from reaching your engine.

“The introduction of E10 in the UK is likely to have more of an impact on motorists than it has had in other countries which generally have a warmer climate.

“Preventing this separate watery alcohol phase from forming is the key to removing the problems associated with E10, and drivers can avoid these issues by adding SulNOxEco Petrol Conditioner each time they fill up.”

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E10 fuel was introduced to forecourts at the beginning of September and replaced E5 as the standard grade of unleaded petrol.

It is seen as a “greener” fuel compared to E5, given that it is blended with up to 10 percent renewable ethanol and made of materials such as sugars and waste wood.

There were concerns over the number of cars which were incompatible with the petrol, although the Government reassured drivers that E5 would still be available at most forecourts.

Ben Richardson, CEO of SulNOx Group Plc, added: “Although the rollout of E10 is a step forward towards decarbonisation, the issues with the alcohol combining with water is effectively like producing vodka in the fuel tank.

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