A Study on Microbial Contamination of Alcohol-Blended Unleaded Gasoline
The fuel supply chain faces challenges associated with microbial contamination symptoms. Microbial growth is an issue usually known to be associated with middle distillate fuels and biodiesel, however, incidents where microbial populations have been isolated from unleaded gasoline storage tanks have also been recently reported. Alcohols are employed as gasoline components and the use of these oxygenates is rising, especially ethanol, which can be a renewable alternative to gasoline, as well. Despite their alleged disinfectant properties, a number of field observations suggests that biodeterioration could be a potential issue in fuel systems handling ethanol-blended gasoline. For this reason, in this study, the effect of alcohols on microbial proliferation in unleaded gasoline fuel was assessed. Ethanol (EtOH), iso-propyl alcohol (IPA) and tert-butyl-alcohol (TBA) were evaluated as examples of alcohols utilized in gasoline as oxygenates.