Back in November 2010 I wrote a blog about separating ethanol from E10 by a method that is commonly known as “washing.”
Looks like pilots don’t get it. There has been an ongoing conversation on backcountrypilot.org about separating ethanol from auto fuel by “washing” it out with water — scroll down to the entry by “EZFlap” and read on.
It got really interesting when the owner of this device advertised it on that thread, Portable Fuel Systems. The message was removed, I assume for being crassly commercial. What is interesting is that Portable Fuel Systems implies that the ethanol washing version is suitable for aviation use while only advertising the portable tank version in their aviation section. However in the description of the ethanol separation version, this statement is made, “The PortableFuelSystems Alcohol SeparationSystem is currently in the prototype phase, and has been successfully providing fuel to aircraft since 2009. A-S-S will be released for shipment Oct. 20, to coincide with the Copperstate Fly-In in Casa Grande, Arizona.” The post on backcountrypilot.org stated that the device was indeed shown at Copperstate.
Unfortunately the ad for this device and the statement made on backcountrypilot.org implies that you can use this device to remove ethanol from auto gasoline and use it in any airplane. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You cannot use the resulting product, whatever it is, in a Type Certificated airplane with an auto gas STC. There is no way to guarantee that the resulting product is gasoline that is ASTM D4814 compliant and, in fact, it probably isn’t. To understand why, I urge you to read my original blog noted above. In addition, the resulting water, ethanol, or whatever mixture is considered hazardous waste and must be handled appropriately.
The authors of this blog would again like to urge our fellow aviators to put their efforts into getting mogas on our airports. Communicate with the FAA, EAA, AOPA and other aviation alphabets and the EPA and tell them why we need mogas service on the majority of our airports, and ask them why we don’t have one of the approved aviation fuels widely available. Putting up with ethanol fuel blending and then buying expensive equipment to try to remove it and ending up with an unknown fuel product is not worth the liability or the expense.
The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.