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Removing ethanol

I was going to tag this onto the Esso Synergy comments, but that was getting too long, hence this new thread.

I came across a piece on that popular video website of a “simple” method claimed to remove ethanol from E5/E10 fuel. I make no claim to its efficacy, nor do I advocate it. I hasten to add that, as with anything fuel-related it should be done in a well-ventilated area, and with appropriate safety measures in place (PPE, spill kit etc)

Put simply, transfer some fuel to a suitable, clear container

Add 20% by volume of water, preferably deionised (although apparently tap water could be used)

Agitate container vigourously for 2-3 minutes, then allow to stand overnight

The water will blend with the ethanol content, and being more dense will precipitate out and settle on the bottom of the container. The “pure” petrol can then be carefully drawn off/decanted/syphoned as appropriate. (Hence need for a clear container)

The remaining goo will need to be disposed of safely- do not tip down drains- take to a recycling centre and deposit with other hazchems

As you have removed 10% of the volume (for E10) clearly you are paying 11% “more” for your “pure” petrol.

This was taken from a website dealing with garden appliances- petrol mowers, blowers etc that could gum up over winter- same as our old rattlers. Treating the odd gallon or 2 not an issue, but if it’s your daily ride, you will not to spend your entire weekend “making” next week’s petrol.

I repeat, I have not tried this myself, and you should satisfy yourself this is an appropriate task for you. Caveat emptor and all that. The responsibility remains yours.


Yes Michael and there is a ready made kit you can buy to carry out this process. My problem is, though better than leaving the ethanol in the mixture is 'what else is being removed?'

Seems we are ever more aware of elements we don't need added to products by the establishment. I now have to test my medication with a magnet, having found that a certain brand of antibiotics contain graphine oxcide. We need a detox kit before 5G is turned up.

Under so called emergency measures, nobody voted for, governments can do as they please and that includes removal of non standard bikes, currently going through.  Thankfully ethanol was not standard when my bikes were first registered. Cleveland Discol was not standard way back, just an option....BTW.


The Ethanol removal will lower the octane rating, so you need an additive to get the octane back to where it was out of the pump if you remove the ethanol.. 


Yes John, I should have stated that fact. Poor quality petrol can be used so that E can up the octane. 


To be fair to oil companies...they are obliged by Government to add ethanol. It does increase octane rating so they are not to blame for not including aromatics which do the same job but have now become unnecessary.  We have yet to discover what ill effects will occur from ethanol..winter might expose some.  It doesn't evaporate as easily, which might not be a problem in Brazil (where E85 has been used for years) but let's see how it works in Scotland this winter. But as others have said..if you remove it, make sure you have a low enough compression ratio to remain safe from pre ignition.


I though it was related to leaving the hygroscopic fuel in the tank over a period that eventually the water causes damage to the tank/ carb? My point is “eventually” and “period”, surely some judicious methods prevent this….

Fuel off before you stop and run till drained. Full tank, breather sealed and you should be safe. I never drain tank specially with cork taps as they dry out and fail to work.  Can’t say I’ve winterised an E10 tank but I have no issue with it in my engines. E5 never presented issues with the above methods.







.. to Michael's method in the first post is to add food colouring to the water so that you can more easily differentiate between the water and the petrol when you draw off the water.


Just to reply to jon, 2006 /2007 when ethanol was introduced by stealth:

X2 slimline pet sealed tanks turned to mush and some of this got into the combustion.

My commando fuel pipe ended up with little holes in it and sprayed fuel into the engine. Only a good sense of smell and fast action saved the whole plot from going up. Deadly stuff and that was E5....


Or depending where you live just buy esso synergy E5 as it contains no ethanol for most parts of the UK. Check out the Esso website to see where - they actually tell you. 


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