UL confirms certification of first E25 dispensers

By Holly Jessen | March 16, 2010
Posted March 23, 2010

A week after two companies put out press releases about Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified fuel dispensers, UL confirmed that the dispensers are the first fuel dispensers UL-certified for anything above E10. John Drengenberg, a UL consumer safety director, told Ethanol Producer Magazine that Dresser Wayne and Gilbarco Veeder-Root now both have UL-certified dispensers for E25.

Drengenberg clarified that the UL certification is for the dispenser, or the "box" people see when they drive up to a pump. The hanging hardware—the nozzle, hose, swivel and breakaway—must go through a different UL certification path.

For E25 and lower blends, the dispenser can be certified separately from the hanging hardware. However, for E85, UL is holding off certification of any fuel dispensing equipment until it is all certified together, at one time. "We need everything in the system before we can put our mark on it." Drengenberg said. "… The reason for that, what seems like an anomaly, is safety."

Since 2007, UL has had very specific standards in place for ethanol blends all the way up to E85, he explained. In the case of the Dresser Wayne and Gilbarco Veeder-Root UL-approved dispensers the manufacturers submitted dispensers for evaluation for use with E25. UL put it through its testing and certification process to mitigate potential fire, explosion or shock hazards. With UL certification, those companies are authorized to place a UL certification number on each newly manufactured dispenser of that type.

For E85, dispensers and hanging hardware must also be looked at for an additional factor—corrosion. At blends of E25 and lower, UL determined corrosion wasn't a problem, which is why it is certifying dispensers and hanging hardware separately, he said.

Many components for a complete E85 dispenser have already been submitted for testing. However, there are "some missing links" in the hanging hardware components, Drengenberg told EPM. Because of confidentiality agreements with the various manufacturers, UL can't reveal the specifics about what components have been submitted for testing. "That's like telling Hoover what Eureka is doing with their vacuum cleaners," he said.

The UL certified Dresser Wayne dispenser for E25 is a duel hose blender pump. The company's Ovation Eco Fuel model dispenser offers blended fuel from both hoses. With this dispenser, retailers can sell traditional fuels alongside blended ethanol. "It gives your customer more options and choices as well as the retailer," said Louis Smith, North American dispenser marketing manager for Dresser Wayne. The company also said that UL approval was pending on two other fuel dispensers for use with up to E85.

Gilbarco Veeder-Root announced its newest E85 fuel dispenser at the same time as the company received UL certification for E25. The E85 fuel pump is a multi-hose blender that offers a separate hose for four fuels: regular unleaded, premium unleaded, mid-level ethanol blend and E85, all at the same place. "Retailers are requesting products that provide flexibility in the fuel choices they can offer their customers," said Chad Johnson, product manager at Gilbarco Veeder-Root. "Increasing consumer demand for ethanol based fuels, combined with incentive programs to encourage the development of an infrastructure to deliver these fuels, are helping to create demand for a range of products."

Both companies said that, by allowing onsite blending, the fuel dispensers could open the way for retailers to become the blender of record, giving them access to federal incentives.