The Impact of Low Octane Hydrocarbon Blending Streams on the Knock Limit of “E85”
Ethanol is a very attractive fuel from an end-use perspective because it has a high chemical octane number and a high latent heat of vaporization. When an engine is optimized to take advantage of these fuel properties, both efficiency and power can be increased through higher compression ratio, direct fuel injection, higher levels of boost, and a reduced need for enrichment to mitigate knock or protect the engine and aftertreatment system from overheating. The ASTM D5798 specification for high level ethanol blends, commonly called “E85,” underwent a major revision in 2011. The minimum ethanol content was revised downward from 68 vol% to 51 vol%, which combined with the use of low octane blending streams such as natural gasoline introduces the possibility of a lower octane “E85” fuel.