Skip to main content

Marine industry evaluates alternative biofuel

The National Marine Manufacturers Association released findings from preliminary evaluations on isobutanol-gasoline blends supplied by Gevo.

The tests were conducted by NMMA and the American Boat and Yacht Council as the recreational boating industry explores alternative biofuels in response to the U.S. introduction of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, commonly referred to as E15.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the use of E15 for model-year 2001 and newer cars and trucks. However, the marine industry has found that fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol causes severe damage to boat engines. While marine engines are not currently approved by the EPA for use with E15, misfueling at the pump is a danger for boaters unaware that E15 is not compliant with boat engines.

In contrast, the testing conducted on isobutanol reveals it could be a promising biofuel alternative to E15.

The NMMA and ABYC isobutanol evaluations tested components, including older fiberglass tanks, and engines during on-the-water testing on inboard, outboard, jet pump and two-stroke outboard engines. The tests showed isobutanol to produce no more emissions than pure, EPA-approved test gasoline, while producing 30 percent more energy than ethanol. Support from Bombardier Recreational Products and Volvo made the testing possible through the provisions of product, personnel and testing equipment.

Click here for the full press release.

Click here to read the recently released Boat US article on this important evaluation.

Click here to read the full NMMA report.