Frequent Questions

What test requirements exist for determination of the sulfur content of denatured ethanol? What test method must be used to determine the sulfur content of ethanol? In the absence of an approved test method, what guidance can the Agency provide fuel ethan

The regulations do not require an ethanol blender, producer or supplier to test ethanol for sulfur content. The regulations do prohibit blending denatured ethanol into gasoline if the sulfur content of the denatured ethanol exceeds 30 ppm. See § 80.385(e). We expect the sulfur content of denatured ethanol would seldom approach 30 ppm under current ethanol production industry practices. To address ethanol blender concerns about the possible receipt of high sulfur ethanol, however, these blenders might choose to establish commercial (e.g., contractual) arrangements with their suppliers to only supply ethanol whose sulfur content does not exceed 30 ppm. Further, the ethanol blenders could create quality assurance programs which periodically test received ethanol for compliance of sulfur content.

We believe that ASTM D 2622-98, the designated method for testing for sulfur content of gasoline, will be useable for this testing purpose, as long as the calibration of the instrument is performed with an ethanol blend that is representative of the samples that are expected to be tested. Since we believe this ASTM method is sufficiently precise to determine if the sulfur content of the denatured ethanol exceeds 30 ppm, we do not believe there is a need to postpone enforcement.

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