Zera procures fuel quality testing machine

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THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has spent $400 000 on a new fuel quality testing mobile laboratory to protect consumers from substandard products after the introduction of mandatory blending of ethanol (E5) and unleaded petrol, an official has said.

Report by Tarisai Mandizha

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Harare last week, Zera chief executive officer Gloria Magombo said the regulator had already procured the machine from a local company and it was expected in the country in October.

“When it comes to quality testing, Zera is in the process of procuring a mobile fuel testing vehicle and currently it’s on its way,” Magombo said.

She said the mobile laboratory came with instruments securely mounted on specially designed shock absorbers to avoid damage during driving.

Magombo said Zera would work together with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) in testing the fuel quality.

SAZ already has laboratories all over the country and has been providing this kind of services for some time.

“If we feel that there is need for more testing because of the introduction of mandatory blending, we will engage other laboratories as well. There are a couple of laboratories in the country which do fuel testing and we believe will go to tender and add on,” Magombo said.

She, however, said Zera had encountered some challenges with some service stations where they were selling E10 as unleaded, adding that culprits had since been prosecuted.

“I would like to urge motorist to desist from using backyard garages. Some of the test which were done indicate that they were selling contaminated fuel which is not good for vehicles,” she said. Magombo said Zera would continue to do surveillance checkups to ensure all service stations were selling the right products.

Government introduced mandatory blending of ethanol and unleaded petrol at the level of 5% ethanol and 95% unleaded petrol and players in the fuel industry are expected to comply with immediate effect.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thats a lie, the truth is 40% ethanol, 60% unleaded, and the life span of the engine will be reduced by half, Clever people must start investing in collecting craps metal, soon Zim will be turned into a huge scrap land, worst with exJap cars hahahahaa ndohwe tsitsi

  2. Carburettor Equipped Engines
    Vehicles made before 1986 vehicles were predominantly equipped with carburettors and steel fuel tanks. The use of ethanol blended petrol in engines impacts the air/fuel ratio because of the additional oxygen
    molecules within the ethanol’s chemical structure.

    Vehicles with carburettor fuel systems may experience hot fuel handling concerns. This is because the vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol will be greater (if the base fuel is not chemically adjusted) and probability of vapour lock or hot restartability problems will be increased.
    As a solvent, ethanol attacks both the metallic and rubber based fuel lines, and other fuel system components. Ethanol also has an affinity to water that can result in corrosion of fuel tanks and fuel lines. Rust resulting
    from this corrosion can ultimately block the fuel supply rendering the engine inoperable. Water in the fuel
    system can also result in the engine hesitating and running roughly.

    Fuel Injected Engines

    In addition to the issues mentioned above for carburettor equipped engines, the use of ethanol blended petrol in fuel injection systems will result in early deterioration of components such as injector seals, delivery pipes, and fuel pump and regulator.

    Mechanical fuel injection systems and earlier electronic systems may not be able to fully compensate for the lean-out effect of ethanol blended petrol, resulting in hesitation or flat-spots during acceleration.

    Difficulty in starting and engine hesitation after cold start can also result.

    Exhaust and Evaporative Emission Levels
    Lean-out resulting from the oxygenating effect of ethanol in the fuel may affect exhaust emissions. Of more concern is that fuel containing ethanol can increase permeation emissions from fuel system
    components, particularly those that have aged for nearly 20 years. Therefore the increased vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol (if the base fuel is not chemically adjusted at the refining stage) will lead to increased evaporative emissions.

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