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How does Renew stations handle insurance using blender pumps

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This is a question I hope 1outlaw can shed some light on. I keep talking up blender pumps since ethanol has dipped to the $1.50 area at plants and we have too much supposedly. I keep hearing the same answer----until UL approves them, we can't get any insurance and we're not doing that. Also, portable tanks have few rules compared to permanent installations. Why not, have a trailer with tank or a truck with E85 parked at the stations for fueling. Lots of airports have small tank trucks running around fueling airplanes where they are tied down. Seems like a way around the big underground tank installs.

Marty

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Tank (leak) insurance has not been an issue at all and that is even though we are on our 3rd carrier due to our agent shifting them for better rates. Liability insurance likewise has not been a problem. The real isssue is more that while no pump has yet to receive a UL approval- no one is sure what will happen after UL comes out with an approval- will there be "kits" to convert or will existing dispensers be expensive junk?

 

As far as insurance is concerned- it was never an issue from day one- easy to get, easy to change at least so far but this could be because we are all double wall pipe, tanks, and sensors in all sumps with never a leak in our history.

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Marty- retail and and fleet fueling from portable tanks are prohibited in many states due to fire risk. Airports, farm, and construction sites have different rules and in places portables are allowed. For retail and fleet fueling- many states today not only require aboveground tanks to be surrounded by crash barriers to the traffic side and the dispenser 30' away with underground piping tank to dispenser- but they may also reqire the tank to be fireguard (insulated with concrete between tank walls). Small commercial businesses running a few of their own vehicles can sometimes have the dispenser/ pump on the tank, avoiding the 30' underground pipe but each state willl vary on this. These rules are typically the same even for tough to ignite diesel fuel.

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Thanks for the insurance info. I'm thinking these guys over here in Iowa are just using insurance as a good excuse not to deal with E85. I buy some fertilizer and chemical from the one place and they still price 10% and straight unleaded the same. Generally not many doing that though.

Marty

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Something else just popped into my mind. Does the fuel truck that runs around here resupplying the E85 stations have any special modifications to the pump/meter? I bet not. Just too many contradictions!!!! Meanwhile, I'm being told to prepare for a couple of rough years by the board members of one of the plants I'm in.

Marty

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If the fuel delivery vehicle is a semi tanker, I can pretty much assure you it is made of aluminum and most likely using the same seals any other tanker is using. Transport companies use aluminum tanks so they weigh less and can carry more gallons. They may pick up gas in the morning and backhaul ethanol in the afternoon and the next morning carry diesel. I know of no tanker dedicated to one fuel in the land transportation fuel business- this may not be true for aviation fuels. If the truck hauling the E85 would be a small straight truck w/ meters (these are called tankwagon trucks)- then the main consideration would be to run the ethanol thru the gas side meter (due to preset calibration closer on gas) rather than the oil side meter.

 

Back on the insurance side- I wonder if the stations who claim to have problems getting insurance are buying it (their insurance) thru a second party such as an oil company or- they have single wall fiberglass tanks which are not generally approved for > 10% ethanol?

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I don't think the insurance is through an oil company but fairly local. The tanks are double walled and are OK but some piping that is in the pit, going to the pump in the tank, needs to swapped out with stainless steel I'm told. I think that if a seal or something in the pump fails and a few gallons spill they think that will be the end of the business after the lawsuit!

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The piping does not need to be stainless steel. Commonly used piping in retail stations for e85 / ethanol would be rigid double wall fiberglass pipe or a double wall flex pipe. This piping runs from the submersible pump sump (catch basin) to a sump under the dispenser and is sealed on both ends to the sumps. Both sumps have a liquid spill sensor in our sites connected to a Veeder-Root monitor that will notify us by email, fax, text message, audible alarm, and via Inform software if liquid is ever detected- plus the system does a 3 gal/ hour leak test every few minutes and a 2/10 gal per hour on programmed intervals. Furthermore- if a blender pump is being used and the ethanol is in the denatured form instead of preblended e85 it begs the question- what are they more afraid of?- a product 98% drinkable or the gasoline they are already at risk with and contains >100 polluting compounds?

 

The insurance companies are limited to about 3-4 major carriers that are nationwide. What I meant by buying it thru oil companies would be if the oil supplier / jobber / petroleum marketing association was acting as the agent for the 3-4 major carriers instead of a business insurance agent.

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Just talked to the manager of one place I buy crop inputs from that also has the gas station I've been promoting blender pumps. Told him about 1outlaw's piping and leak detection info. They already have the leak det. device and he said he was just talking to a board member of a very successful ethanol plant I'm in and they have decided that the state of Iowa,largest producer of ethanol, wants to shoot it's self in the foot with unreasonable E85 dispensing requirements. Iowa just can't do things like the surrounding states.I wish I new somebody stronger than the petroleum lobby.

Marty

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