Consumer choice is at the root of a free-market economy, so much so that anything that is deemed to restrict choice (think a monopoly) is outlawed. With choice, though, come challenges. Consider the world of retail fueling. Until the early 1970s, drivers and retailers had one “choice” when it came to motor fuels – regular leaded gasoline. Today, the motor-fuel menu has expanded to include a smorgasbord of choices that features unleaded gasoline of various octane ratings, low-sulfur diesel and both gasoline and diesel with differing levels of alternative fuels (ethanol and biodiesel) blended in.
In fact, Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) now lists five fuel-formula designations for retail-fueling sites that meet ASTM International’s standards and limits for fuel specifications and are compliant with 40 CFR Part 80 standard “Regulation of Fuel and Fuel Additives”:
- D975: diesel fuel with up to 5% biodiesel (B5)
- D7467: diesel fuel with 6% to 20% biodiesel (B6 to B20)
- D4814: gasoline with up to 10% ethanol (E10)
- D4814/ASTM D5798: mid-range ethanol/gasoline blends (E11 to E50)
- D5798: high-range ethanol/gasoline blends (E51 to E85)
OPW offers complete families of hoses, breakaways, swivels and fuel nozzles, all of which have been third-party tested, certified and UL-listed for use in Hanging Hardware Kits for specific fuel formulations.
Confronting The Challenge
While all retailers are aware that there are structural differences between unleaded gasoline, straight diesel and ethanol and biodiesel, they may not know that the specific ethanol and biodiesel formulations (E10, E15 and E85, along with B10, B20 and B100) can all react differently with the various fueling-system components. That makes it imperative that fuel retailers incorporate fuel-island hanging hardware – hoses, swivels, breakaways and fuel nozzles – that is certified for use with specific fuel formulations. Failing to do so can lead to damaged seals, gaskets and hoses that can result in product leaks. If left unchecked, these leaks can escalate into product-release incidents that will require costs for downtime, cleanup and remediation, and new components.
Knowing that its clients are faced with increased complexity when having to outfit their retail-fueling sites, OPW Retail Fueling, Smithfield, NC, has created a series of Hanging Hardware Kits. The kits are equipped with third-party-certified hanging hardware that is approved for use with specific fuel blends, from any grade of gasoline or diesel to all formulations of ethanol and biodiesel.
Fuel retailers must also be wary of manufacturers that only offer their own letter of compatibility. Just because the manufacturer says the product is compatible, does not mean it is approved. In fact, in order to meet National Fire codes, NFPA 30 clearly states that fuel nozzles must be UL-listed for the specific blend of ethanol or biodiesel they are pumping. If you simply use a nozzle for E15 because a manufacturer gave you a “letter of compatibility,” and the nozzle is actually not UL-listed for E15, you are violating the National Fire Code.
Some of the components that can be found in an OPW Hanging Hardware Kit include:
- 241TPS Series Swivel: Designed with two planes of rotation for easy positioning of nozzles in fill pipes. Rigorously tested, certified and UL-listed for use with all ethanol-blended fuels. There is a specific model for up to E10, E25 and E85, as well as biofuels up to B5 and B20. The body is aluminum with nickel plating with outlet and inlet adaptors constructed of zinc with nickel plating. Seals and bearings are Buna-N, Viton and nylon. The two planes of rotation allow for easy positioning in fill pipes, which reduces hose wear and extends component life.
- 68EZR Series Reconnectable Breakaway: After a separation incident, the breakaway easily reconnects through “push-twist-click” technology that ensures a secure reconnection. It is UL-listed for use with ethanol blends up to E10, E25, E85 and biodiesel blends up to B20. The breakaway is constructed of die-cast zinc and Zamak, with stainless-steel main springs and protective sleeves of Zytel and impact-resistant nylon. The main seals are made of Viton and fluorosilicone.
- 11BP Series Nozzle: The industry’s first nozzle to be UL-listed for use in all three ethanol-blended fuels. Equipped with a “No Pressure – No Flow” device that prevents fueling until the pumping system is pressurized. There is a specific model that is UL-listed for all various blends of ethanol and biodiesel. The nozzle’s body and spout are constructed of aluminum, but plated with nickel to prevent degradation that can occur with higher ethanol concentrations. The seals are Viton with graphite/Teflon packing.
- 66H Series Whip and Curb Hoses: The whip hose is the short piece of straightening hose that is used to connect the dispenser to the breakaway. Curb hoses are typically 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) long and connect the breakaway to the fuel nozzle. They are third-party certified and UL-listed for the dedicated blend of the specific Hanging Hardware Kit. Low-permeation models are also available.
All of the components of the Hanging Hardware Kits arrive at the fueling site fully assembled after they have been factory tested for leaks. The components are also tested for continuity, meaning that they will perform as advertised despite changing environmental conditions.
An expanding menu of fuel formulations means that fuel retailers must be in tune with all of the unique and specific idiosyncrasies and handling characteristics of the fuels that they stock. It also means that they must be certain that the hanging hardware components that are featured at the fueling island are certified and UL-listed for use with the fuel that they are dispensing. OPW has taken the guesswork out of finding the right fuel-island components with its fuel-specific Hanging Hardware Kits. Do not just rely on a manufacturer creating a letter stating the equipment is “compatible” with a certain blend of ethanol or biodiesel. Ensure the product is actually approved and listed.
Visit opwglobal.com to learn more about OPW’s components that can be found in its Hanging Hardware Kits.
Learn more about OPW.
This post is sponsored by OPW Retail Fueling