When bio-ethanol gets cold

With the temperature dipping to -2°C this week, I had an unexpected chance to find out how bio-ethanol reacts to the colder weather.

This is not as cold is it can get in winter here – I’ve experienced -18°C before now! But with the cold wind blowing it certainly felt different to the temperatures that we had been having the previous week.

When bio-ethanol gets cold it apparently gets sluggish. This is why there is a socket on the front of the car, so that I can attach it to the mains and warm the tank up slightly before driving off. Well, that’s the theory at least. As I don’t have an electrical socket anywhere near where I had parked the car, that wasn’t really a solution.

The alternative is to put some normal petrol into the tank during the winter. Again, the drop in temperature came so unexpected, that I hadn’t done this and had only E85 in the tank.

So I drove off anyway – and I can’t say that I noticed any difference. Perhaps the cold temperature hadn’t affected the bio-ethanol as much as I had expected? Perhaps it just wasn’t cold enough yet!

I shall be keeping a watchful eye on the thermometer and may well start mixing in some normal fuel next month.


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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