Fuel dispensers get UL certification for E85

By Holly Jessen | June 10, 2010
Posted June 24, 2010

It's a milestone many have been waiting for. Two companies, Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Dresser Wayne, have received official Underwriter's Laboratory certification for company-specific E85 fuel dispensers.

"The final UL certification of both the Gilbarco and Dresser Wayne fuel dispensers represents a significant step in expanding our national effort to provide higher level blends of ethanol directly to consumers," said Growth Energy CEO, Tom Buis. "Now that these two outstanding domestically based pump manufacturers have received all the final approvals and certifications, we anticipate a more rapid expansion in the number of higher blend fueling facilities across the nation."

The Renewable Fuels Association was also pleased to hear the news. "On the heels of yesterday's release of the USDA "Biofuels Strategic Production Report" calling for transforming the existing ethanol infrastructure, this approval by UL opens a pathway for delivering more ethanol directly to the consumer," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of RFA. "After nearly four years, this approval finally means drivers will have access to thousands of new locations offering higher level ethanol blends."

UL certifications are consensus based, said John Drengenberg, director of consumer safety for UL. That means, besides UL staff, many groups and individuals gave input on the standards for E85 dispensers, which have been in place since 2007. "We did a lot of research on this," he told EPM.
For E25 and lower blends, fuel dispensers can be certified separately from the hanging hardware. However, for E85, UL has been holding off certification of any fuel dispensing equipment until it is all certified together, at one time. UL granted final certification to the two fuel dispensers only after the final components of the hanging hardware were submitted, he said.

Although UL doesn't name names due to competition reasons, according to Growth Energy, the last component was a trademarked Veyance Flexsteel Futura liquid fuel dispenser hose for use with mid- and high-level blends of ethanol. Growth Energy had provided needed financing to accelerate the submission of the hose, according to a press release.

Now E85 certified for Gilbarco Veeder-Root is its trademarked Encore E85 fueling dispenser. "We are pleased to be leading the development of the infrastructure required for alternative fuels, including increased use of ethanol," said Chad Johnson, marketing manager for Encore dispensers at Gilbarco Veeder-Root.

Dresser Wayne's E85-certified fuel dispenser is the trademarked Eco fueling E85 dispenser. "This UL approval will have an extremely positive impact on our customers, motorists and the entire alternative fuels industry," said Scott Negley, director of alternative energy products."Consumers are increasingly demanding renewable fuel options for their vehicles, and car manufacturers are steadily increasing the number of vehicle models that use eco-friendly fuels."

The next anticipated step is UL certification of a blender pump, which is expected in the near future, Buis said. Receiving these UL certifications will enable the ethanol industry to bolster ethanol infrastructure while knocking down a barrier that has been impeding the growth of alternative fuels in the mainstream marketplace. Drengenberg said he couldn't give out specifics but confirmed that a UL testing program of blender pumps has been established.

Drengenberg also put in a plug for preventative maintenance programs of all fuel dispensers. Just because a product has UL approval, he said, doesn't mean the equipment doesn't need to be checked for leaks, wear and tear or other potential hazards by those that operate fueling stations. "That's something that they should be doing all the time," he said.