As the automobile industry grows, the need for fuel grows. The growing population needs faster vehicles with greater power and mileage.
At the same time, this growing demand puts an extra pressure on environmental concerns as well. For quite some time now, the world has been moving aggressively towards the use of flex fuel due to its cost effectiveness and environmentally friendly virtues over gasoline.
Let’s take a drive and explore Flex Fuel. This exploration will take you through many destinations. Some of which are:
Would you like to learn more about our Ethanol ERP Software?
Flex fuel or flexible fuel is an alternative to the traditional fossil fuel gasoline used in most vehicles. This fuel is made up of combination of ethanol or methanol mixed with traditional gasoline to form a suitable alternative.
Ethanol is the first-generation biofuel. It is oxygen enhancing fuel additive with high octane. It burns completely.
The fuel is stored in the same fuel tank and is used by engine as a blended fuel.
Depending upon the mixture and blending of ethanol and petrol, flex fuel can vary.
E10 is the fuel with 10 % ethanol and 90% petrol, E15 is 15% ethanol and 85% petrol. E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% petrol whereas E100 is 100 % ethanol.
Likewise, depending upon the percentage of methanol blending, the flex fuel using methanol can be M85 or M100.
The performance, and mileage of the vehicle will highly depend upon the kind of flex fuel used.
The history of use of ethanol as fuel goes back to 1978. In this year Brazil successfully ran a car completely using ethanol as fuel.
Since then, research and development had been under progress for its extensive use. With growing concerns towards environment, world-wide, countries are moving towards more environmentally friendly alternatives. Biofuel is one of them.
Countries are trying to align their growth with Net Zero Roadmap by 2050. Since growth of a country largely depends upon its transportation, the world is rapidly accepting flex fuel as an alternative.
Brazil is at the top of the tally. Brazil is using E100 fuel, meaning fuel with 0 mixture of petrol and 100% use of ethanol. Besides, US (using E 85), Canada, and Europe (led by Sweden) are also using this. India has set a target to use E20 by 2025.
Huge demand of ethanol in flex fuel require production in equivalent magnitude. US is the largest producer of ethanol followed by Brazil. Where US depends upon corn, Brazil produces ethanol with sugarcane. Together US and Brazil contribute to almost 82% of world’s ethanol production.
Sustainably produced – Besides fossil fuel, the other raw material of flex fuel is produced out of crops, which is sustainable. Hence, dependency on fossil fuel goes down up to some extent.
Green Fuel – Burning flex fuel emits fewer toxic gases as compared to petrol and diesel. Thus, flex fuel is a greener substitute to the traditional fossil fuel.
Light on pocket – Ethanol is cheaper than petrol or diesel. Hence, the blending is also cheaper. Also, since ethanol burns completely with less gases, the exhaust and emission pipeline remain clearer while burning flex fuel in comparison to burning petrol/diesel resulting in comparatively less maintenance cost.
Creates by-products that are usable – Ethanol production generates by-products which are useful in cattle farming, dry ice creation etc.
Raw material is not just one – Ethanol for flex fuel production is obtained from starch which can be obtained from sugarcane, wheat, potato, corn, rice straw etc. So, depending upon the climatic condition and seasonal changes, crops can be changed.
Corrosion – Ethanol is corrosive. It reacts with oxygen in air and forms acidic compounds. Hence, flex fuels can lead to corrosion of engine system components and engine wear.
Lesser engine performance - It can lead settling impurities at bottom of fuel tank affecting performance of engine.
Ethanol production plants are biorefineries and gasoline production plants are called gasoline refineries. Many flex fuel manufacturing gasoline refineries have inhouse biorefineries. Sometimes they procure ethanol from a vendor.
Biorefineries convert biomass into biofuel using enzymes. Production method of ethanol depends upon the feedstock used. There are two types of feedstocks – starch or sugar-based feedstock and cellulosic feedstock.
The process of producing ethanol with starch or sugar-based feedstock is easier and cost viable in comparison to the process used for cellulosic feedstock.
Starch based ethanol is produced in two ways- dry mill ethanol process and wet mill ethanol process. In dry mill process corn is ground into flour and fermented into ethanol. The ethanol so formed is blended to form flex fuel.
Mostly, OMCs (Oil Manufacturing Companies) use splash blend method for ethanol blending.
Let us understand with the example of corn as feedstock.
For methanol flex fuel, methanol is obtained from biomass by gasification. It is manufactured by partial oxidation of biomass into syngas, followed by catalytic conversion into methanol. Methanol so obtained is blended with gasoline to produce methanol flex fuel.
Flex fuel is the suitable sought-after alternative to the traditional fuel, it might see its usages in many industries like:
Flex-fuel is the future. Today the world of flex fuel seems promising. World-wide governments are trying hard to use biofuels to march towards green energy and green planet vision. The requirement is boundaryless, but is accompanied with various challenges such as its complex production methodology, fluctuating market demand, meeting the standards and guidelines, varying ethanol guidelines, etc.
Managing them simultaneously is a challenge but an ERP for flex fuel industry can help manufacturers to achieve that.
Purpose-built for flex fuel manufacturing, such ERP software are contemporary, adoptable and make extensive use of technologies to save time, increase efficiency and cut labour cost. These ERPs automate much of the business processes and streamline document workflow.
Below are the reasons of using an ERP solution for flex fuel industry:
Enhances productivity – Gasoline and biorefineries have huge workloads due to increasing flex fuel popularity. ERP for flex fuel help these refineries save time through automation and streamlined workflows, thereby enhances productivity of employees.
Maintains product consistency – Through set parameters, it generates consistent output. Consistent viscosity, density and other parameters ensure consistent product.
Asset/inventory management – Organic residues of crops or woods are raw material for ethanol and methanol. Hence their management is vital. The ERP for flex fuel helps to do it effectively.
Formula/recipe managemen t- An ERP for flex fuel industries empower to formulate various formulae/recipe to meet seasonal variations and different guidelines. It dynamically adjusts formulas to meet physical target values like density, viscosity, water vapour, etc and cost target values.
Production management - An ERP solution for flex fuel industries can control production for precise manufacturing. Depending upon the required flex fuel, viz E10, E20, E85, M85 etc, the ERP can manage and control blending of gasoline and ethanol or methanol.
Consolidates process workflow - Flex fuel production involves various processes, like fermentation, refinery, gasification, ethanol or methanol conversion process, extraction, blending etc. An ERP consolidates and routes material efficiently through these processes.
Increased transparency – Through comprehensive dashboards, it gives transparency over production processes, employees performances and raw material availability.
Integrate data –The ERP solution for flex fuel can merge various data to be available for all department, process that data and make meaningful reports.
Co-product and by-product management – Biorefineries and gasoline refineries produce by-product and co-product like dry distiller grain, carbon-di-oxide, acetone, methyl formate etc. These can be used by other industries. An ERP for flex fuel can help to efficiently track and cost these products.
Planning for raw material - The ERP for flex fuel plans for raw material procurement to avoid stockpiling or stockouts.
Safety of workers and end users – Flex Fuel industry is risky. Ethanol is inflammable. Both ethanol and methanol produce gases that could be toxic to human life. ERP for flex fuel helps maintain HMIS/WHMIS, safety data sheets, SOPs and instructions avoiding probable danger, saving workers and end users.
As ERP finds its usefulness in all the areas of flex fuel manufacturing industry therefore, choosing the right ERP can be rewarding. On the contrary, choosing a wrong ERP can increase complexities, will not solve industry specific requirements and will not be worth money.
So, before investing in an ERP, list down all requirements, see how on many parameters the ERP meet, speak to the vendor to know about the product and check for vendor experience in flex0fuel or similar industry, look out for training and support programs and then only give a thumbs up.
Always look for an ERP vendor that understands your industry and its unique needs.
When you deploy an ERP, you have a long partnership with your ERP vendor. Therefore, the vendor must know your industry inside-out and provide exact and continuous support. One such vendor is BatchMaster Software, who through its range of verticalized industry-specific ERPs has gained an unmatched experience and expertise of 30 plus years.
Flex Fuel can transform the way world drives. As the countries are making huge investments in the sector, there is an ample scope of research and technological advancement. At this junction, a flex fuel manufacturer, who has streamlined processes, better workflows, and precise reports, can take an upper hand in this growing market. BatchMaster ERP can help you achieve that. How? Connect with us and explore.