Ethanol Conversion Checklist

Converting to Ethanol Fuel Blends:  A Checklist for Retail Stations

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Introducing ethanol fuel blends is a strategic move for many retailers.  A thorough investigation and implementation plan is the key to a successful new fuel introduction.  This checklist hopes to provide essential step by step information.  Each of these steps should be evaluated thoroughly when preparing retail storage tanks and dispensers. In addition, station employees and transport drivers should be notified early on in the process and trained on the properties of the new fuel blends.  Each step should be documented as a reference for future considerations.


System Investigation and Preparation:

◊ Notify state authorities of intentions to offer ethanol blended fuels.  Many times there is a registration requirement for offering E85.  Information on conversion techniques and regulatory requirements for motor fuels may also be available.

◊ Verify tank material compatibility.

Tank Manufacturer: ________________________
Year of Construction: ______________________
Is tank older than 1981?  Has tank been lined?  What is the lining material?
Document material compatibility with manufacturer certification.

    ◊ Verify material of construction of submersible pumps and piping for ethanol compatibility. Document material compatibility with manufacturer certification.

    ◊ Verify compatibility of tank gauging system, including water and leak detection equipment. Document material compatibility with manufacturer certification.

    ◊ Verify compatibility of system overflow and spill containment system.  Document material compatibility with manufacturer certification.

    ◊ Verify compatibility of dispensing system, this includes valves, hoses, nozzles, swivels, etc.  Only use steel or nickel plated nozzles and swivels.  Document material compatibility with manufacturer certification.

    ◊ Review safety listing requirements and contact fire marshal or local authority having jurisdiction for system requirements and inspection.

    ◊ Investigate tank system for water problems and correct. Review history of water problems and initiate any necessary corrective action.  Install rain caps on tank opening such as vent lines to prevent rain water entry.

    ◊ Check for tilted tanks.  Inspect both tank openings, may need to remove tank gauging equipment.

    ◊ Inspect tank for cleanliness and residue.  Clean tank and remove water bottom, if necessary.

    ◊ Verify a tight seal on fill caps and proper water run-off from man hole covers. Plug any holes in the fill line box.

    ◊ Verify safety equipment for effectiveness with ethanol fuel blends.  Utilize Alcohol Resistant Film Forming Foam (AR-AFFF) or dry chemical that is effective.

    ◊ Modify inventory system for new fuel.  Obtain fuel density and temperature compensation factors if necessary.

    ◊ Train employees on new fuel properties.

    ◊ Notify local authorities and emergency response personnel of ethanol fuel blend offering.

    ◊ Notify insurance carrier of new fuel blend.


    Pre Delivery:

    ◊ Equip pump or dispenser with 10 micron ethanol compatible filter.  Water slug filters are optional.  Remember - SAFETY FIRST - SHUT OFF BREAKER.

    ◊ Recheck for water bottoms and remove any present.

    ◊ Issue alcohol compatible paste. Discard any old incompatible pastes.

    ◊ Procure proper pump labels.

    ◊ Confirm any applicable accounting procedures.


    First Delivery:

    ◊ Check for water. Water bottoms must be removed before first delivery of ethanol blends.

    ◊ Follow normal delivery procedures and ensure that accurate tank gauge and dispenser readings are taken.

    ◊ Verify with transport driver correct product and compartment for correct tank.

    ◊ Pumps should be shut down during initial delivery.

    ◊ Purge lines from tanks to dispensers.

    ◊ Install required decals and if necessary change octane decals. Also repaint manhole covers to proper color code (for example, API color code).

    ◊ Fill tanks to at least 80% of capacity. Keep as full as possible for 7 to 10 days.

    ◊ Test for water bottoms at the beginning of each shift for the first 48 hours after initial delivery.


    Post Delivery and Ongoing Maintenance:

    ◊ Check for water introduction daily. No level is acceptable.

    ◊ Replace filters if pump/dispenser is running slow.

    ◊ Check pump calibration two weeks after initial load conversion



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