BRP believes biobutanol may be the answer to the problems caused by E15 (15 percent ethanol) blended fuel offered in the US. During the Miami International Boat Show in February, the company arranged test rides on a Crevalle 25 Bay centre console powered by a 300hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 containing biobutanol blended with gasoline.
BRP's Evinrude engineers have been collaborating for four years with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and several engine and boat manufacturers in the testing of advanced alternative fuels for use in recreational marine engines and boats.
Supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Argonne National Laboratory, BRP says its work has been integral to the four-year comprehensive testing program that includes the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and other boat and engine manufacturers across the industry.
"Boaters have the opportunity to test how the fuel works first-hand here at the show, and that's definitely part of the equation in creating interest and demand for this next-generation biofuel,' said Jeff Wasil, Engineering Manager in Emissions Testing, Certification and Regulatory Development for BRP's Marine Propulsion Systems division. "We've been collaborating across the industry for several years and have published multiple papers on our findings. The data, paired with the experience, will definitely help us move the fuel conversation forward.'
Testing included measurements of gaseous and particulate engine exhaust emissions, combustion analysis, cold start, run ability, durability and more. The team tested many engine technologies from engine and boat manufacturers including four-stroke carbureted and fuel-injected outboard engines, conventional two-stroke carbureted outboard engines, stern drive engines and E-TEC direct fuel injection outboard engines.
Ongoing research in the industry has been exploring cost-effective fuel alternatives. Other higher ethanol blends such as E15 have caused issues in recreational marine engines, including fuel phase separation, fuel system compatibility issues and engine failures. These issues have driven the marine industry to explore alternative biofuel solutions like biobutanol.
The team accumulated thousands of marine engine and boat test hours in the study and the results suggest that biobutanol blends up to 16.1 percent can be used in marine engines and boats without deterioration of engine or boat performance. The researchers found no engine durability or exhaust emission failures throughout the test program.
Although the availability of biobutanol fuels at marinas and boat fueling stations is expected to take time, sharing marine industry research on biobutanol fuels is essential to creating a market and an adoption of this fuel.
Evinrude engines continue to be approved for up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) fuels.