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Technical Paper

Impact of Ethanol Fuels on Regulated Tailpipe Emissions

Flexible fuel vehicle production has been steadily increasing in the US over the past fifteen years. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel additive to gasoline which helps the US efforts in minimizing the dependency on foreign oil. As a result, it is becoming very hard to find pure gasoline which does not contain some ethanol content at the pump in the US. The fuel currently available at the pump contains close to 10% ethanol. The fuel and evaporative systems components and materials on newer flexible fuel vehicles are being designed to be tolerant of the 10% ethanol content. There is a strong desire from ethanol producers to increase the ethanol content up to a 20% level. This is still being debated by the Environmental Protection Agency and a final decision has not been made yet but will be announced by the upcoming Tier 3 Notice of Public Rule Making (NPRM) in December of 2011.
Technical Paper

Alternative to Hydrogen/Helium as Flame Ionization Detector Fuel

Flame ionization detector (FID) analyzers used in emission testing to measure total hydrocarbon emissions have been operating for the last forty years on a fuel mixture of 40% H₂ and 60% helium. These mixtures were selected based on research studies reported in the literature indicating that this particular mixed fuel combination gave the best sensitivity and relative response of the different hydrocarbons present in vehicle exhaust with respect to propane, the calibration gas. During the past few years, it was announced that there is a worldwide shortage of helium which triggered the automotive industry to look for alternatives for helium to be used in FID fuels. Helium which is produced as a byproduct from natural gas fields is non-renewable, expensive, and extremely rare on the earth. Current supply cannot keep up with demand. There are only few natural gas fields producing helium and unless new natural gas fields are found, current helium amounts will continue to dwindle.