Is Blue Gasoline better than E10?
Introduced in 2011, E10 fuel hasn’t caught on as manufacturers hoped. Containing 10 percent ethanol, E10 contains more renewable sources than its E5 counterpart. However, many motorists and motorcyclists have steered clear of the ‘green’ fuel due to concerns with ethanol’s hygroscopic nature, which means that it absorbs a lot of moisture from the air.
Many assumed that the E10 ethanol/water concoction would separate from the gasoline and settle at the bottom of the tank. However, most fears are unfounded as gasoline goes stale before phase separation ever takes place. With emissions regulations tightening in most European countries, the U.K. will replace E5 with E10 as the standard fuel in September, 2021.
That hasn’t stopped Shell from continuing to develop an even more efficient alternative to E10. Partnering with Bosch and Volkswagen, the Dutch oil giant will launch Blue Gasoline as the next biofuel.
"On the way to climate-friendly mobility, we must not leave any technical possibilities unused, from electromobility to renewable fuels,” said Bosch drive division head Dr. Uwe Gackstatter. “Every little bit of CO2 that we save can help us to achieve our climate targets."
Shell’s Blue Gasoline will consist of 33 percent renewable biofuel such as ethanol and naphtha (flammable hydrocarbon mixture). Naphtha is a byproduct of paper manufacturing and biomass from other organic waste such as wood residues will also go into the new fuel. Shell claims that Blue Gasoline will exceed E10/Super 95 standards for storage stability and boiling behavior.
The new fuel’s stability directly addresses customers’ fears about E10. Blue Gasoline will evaporate less when stored and burn more predictably when engine and environmental temps rise. Shell plans to roll out the alternative fuel to its existing pumps, but the company hasn’t confirmed whether it will replace E10 or not.
Shell’s development is particularly interesting, as Ducati just announced its interest in synthetic fuels over electronification (for now). Only time will tell if Blue Gasoline catches on at the pump or if it struggles just like E10 before it.