Marine Industry News: Argonne Investigates Greener Fuel

Marine Industry News: Argonne Investigates Greener Fuel

A potential breakthrough by Argonne and its industrial partners has recently occurred; they’ve developed an alternative fuel source for boats. The butanol fuel blend has proven to have less severe environmental effects as its ethanol counterpart. While it is essential that your clients ensure they are financially protected with the right Recreation Marine Insurance policy, keeping up on current trends and news, such as announcements like this, is vital to assessing their risks both now and in the future.

The 16 percent butanol blend was developed by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory with support from the marine industry, including the American Boat and Yacht Council. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has approved its demonstration of performance, efficiency, emissions, durability and lubrication effects over various recreational engine types and sizes, according to EurekAlert.

Thomas Wallner, principal investigator of Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research laboratory, stated “Butanol at 16 percent blend level works as well as ethanol at 10 percent under tested conditions. There was a push to increase the amount of ethanol in fuel, from 10 to 15 percent.”

Butanol is created from the same feedstock as ethanol, yet it does not contribute the same environmental damages, making its usage hugely beneficial. Despite this, existing parts in the majority of boats are not equipped to manage any more ethanol in the fuel. For example, increased ethanol levels in boats that are not consistently used can cause long term troubles. As ethanol attracts water, dormancy can cause water to enter the fuel tank, forming an inside layer that can damage the engine. However, butanol lacks the water attracting properties that ethanol possesses, making the issue of water seepage and performance moot. It remains to be seen how boat construction and repair procedures could be affected by this.

At Merrimac Marine Insurance, LLC, we are experts in the recreational boating business and aim to stay atop industry trends. We provide a variety of coverages to protect your clients’ assets and business. For more information, contact our specialists today at (888) 344-1687.