An E100 engine is basically an E85 engine that has had its compression ratio raised to to take advantage of ethanol's high octane and built with direct injection (DI) and changes
to the engine control software to maximize mileage. These changes include running lean and spark advance. (By tuning the power level, Les MacTaggart of the Indy Racing League believes equivalent or better mileage to gasoline can be obtained with E100 at the same power level. (Click on Indy engines below to see article.)
It would cost only $70 - $100 more to make an E100 direct injection engine flex/fuel engine than it does to make a direct injection gasoline engine. If you were to make an E100 engine that couldn't burn gasoline at all, the engine would actually cost less.
The auto companies have made multi-port fuel injection engines capable of burning E100 in Brazil for many years. It would be a straightforward process to go to direct injection and make them available in the US.
Developing an E100 DI engine could easily be done using the same engine lines as we have now. There would be no huge new capital investment necessary and no years of further research.
The E100 Ethanol Group recently (July 2020) completed work on modifying a Ford Focus Flex Fuel Vehicle by increasing the compression ratio, advancing the spark timing, and running at 85% of stoichiometry. We matched the EPA highway mileage of 36 mpg on an EPA certified constant volume sampler with either E85 or E100. Financial constraints prevented us from working on the city mileage, but car companies could easily do this.
Since these engines would perform better than gasoline using E100 (the reverse of the current situation with E85), the retail franchisees would be more willing to invest in the ethanol equipment. Many are reluctant to install E85 since they fear they won't sell enough to recoup their investment.
Price of the E100 fuel would be controlled by the ethanol companies, not the oil companies. This would benefit the consumer through price competition for motor fuel for the first time in the history of the United States.
Just as in the case of seat belts and airbags, however, this engine technology is not going to come into production on any sort of rapid timetable without a government mandate.
A government mandate that all new light duty vehicles sold in the US cannot use gasoline (or diesel) after model year 2024 would make us independent of imported oil in short order and dramatically lower CO2 emissions.
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Last Updated October 5, 2020