VP Racing Fuels is launching a new, renewable, nonalcohol alternative to ethanol and butanol-based fuels. Calling it EcoGen, the high-octane recreational fuel can be used in cars but was developed for the sports market, including all-terrain vehicles, sport-utility vehicles, boats and muscle cars, said Mark Walls, director of research and development, fuel technology and quality at VP Racing Fuels, San Antonio.
It's expected to be rolled out to gas stations and marinas the Texas-based company serves. “We’re working on the rollout to anywhere you see ethanol-free fuel, gas stations or marinas,” he said.
The recreational fuel caters to the growing ethanol-free market, which Walls estimated is at 10 billion gallons per year in southern Gulf of Mexico states. “You see a lot more UTVs (utility vehicles) out there, side by sides, motorcycles, jet skis. It’s a big market, and it’s definitely growing,” Walls said.
The EcoGen fuel, made with corn and sugarcane, will debut Feb. 15 at the Miami Boat Show. On March 1, it will debut at the pump at the Wakepoint convenience store and fueling station at Lake Lynden B. Johnson near San Antonio, said Wakepoint LBJ General Manager Gary Gabriel. Demand for an alternative to ethanol-based fuels led Wakepoint (pictured above) to purchase EcoGen, he said. “Apparently all the new boats, that’s what they’re using,” he said, instead of ethanol-based products.
The product is expected to cost more than unleaded gasoline because it contains up to 10% renewable energy. “We take typical gasoline blendstocks and we blend this on top of that to make the desired octane. We blend different ratios to get the desired renewable content,” Walls said.
“This one is direct competitor to the current ethanol-free fuels,” he said, noting ethanol isn’t ideal for some sports vehicles or older muscle cars.
“Older cars from the ‘60s aren’t designed to handle ethanol,” he said. EcoGen is an environmentally friendly fuel expected to produce lower emissions, he added, making it friendly to power sports and marina uses. It took about a year to develop the new fuel, Walls said.
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