API, RFA Team Up on New and Updated Gasoline-Ethanol Standards
Posted May 16, 2019
Updated and new API standards that address the ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply – developed in partnership with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) – will enhance the natural gas and oil industry’s ability to safely trade and/or ship its products.
Certainly, our industry has disagreed with RFA over policies and specific provisions related to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s mandates for increasing ethanol use in the nation’s gasoline. Even so, we agree on the need for technical standards to help ensure the safe transfer of products and can work together to develop them.
New and updated standards announced this week prove the point. Working with the RFA, API has updated measurement standards to incorporate ethanol blends into gasoline; issued a new consensus standard on gasoline/ethanol blends; and released a technical report with data, for crude oils, and refined products (including ethanol).
Fuel ethanol is blended into nearly all of our nation’s gasoline. For more than 15 years, from blending to shipping, API has developed technical references for manufacturers, refiners and retailers of fuel-grade ethanol and gasoline blends, to promote consistency and quality of the product.
Fuel-grade ethanol behaves differently than other petroleum products, with regard to temperature, pressure and volumes. Therefore, the industry must adjust its standards and approaches to ethanol blends accordingly—especially when the product is being sold, traded or shipped.
API’s existing standards on ethanol and gasoline, published in the Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards (MPMS), have long been used by the industry to calculate the effect of temperature and pressure on the bulk volumes of petroleum products. The collaborative effort between API and RFA updates these standards to account for the effect of temperature, pressure and blending on the volume of fuel ethanol and blends of fuel ethanol with gasoline. Again, these updated standards will allow our industry to trade products at the same rate, and with constant volumes.
And, for the first time, API is releasing a standard that explains how to estimate the blend volume change at base conditions and calculate volume correction factors of denatured ethanol and gasoline component blends. This new standard, MPMS Chapter 11.3.4, was developed as an outcome of research, jointly sponsored by API and RFA, that included blending and testing gasoline and denatured ethanol components in a laboratory at various temperatures and pressures, and then measuring the results.
In addition to the new and updated API standards, API is releasing a technical report with data for crude oils and refined products (including ethanol). This technical report provides documentation and files, foundational data and materials, the data from the laboratory work, and the analysis of the data to support these newly released standards for the Midstream segment of the oil and natural gas industry.
An underlying goal of all API standards development is to enhance the safety of industry operations by assuring quality, consistency, interoperability and reliability across the globe. These new and updated standards are an example of this important work, and in this case, developed in collaboration with leading experts in the field.
About The Author
Debra Phillips is vice president of API’s Global Industry Services division, which is responsible for standards setting, certification, training, events, publications and safety programs for industry operations. Before joining API, Debra served on the leadership team at the American Chemistry Council, where she was the catalyst behind the chemical industry’s sustainability strategy. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Albright College and holds a master’s degree in environmental toxicology from Duke University.