Skip to main content

High Octane Fuel: Terminal Backgrounder

The Bioenergy Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy sponsored a scoping study to assess the potential of ethanolbased
high octane fuel (HOF) to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
HOF blends used in an engine designed for higher octane have the potential to increase vehicle
energy efficiency through improved knock suppression. When the high-octane blend is made
with 25%–40% ethanol by volume, this energy efficiency improvement is potentially sufficient
to offset the reduced vehicle range often associated with the decreased volumetric energy density
of ethanol. With this scenario in mind, the purpose of this study is to assess the ability of the fuel
supply chain to accommodate more ethanol at fuel terminals. Fuel terminals are midstream in the
transportation fuel supply chain and serve to store and distribute fuels to end users. The study
does not cover the impacts on ethanol and gasoline markets supply and demand or other parts of
the fuel supply chain.
This report summarizes terminal equipment, operations, statistics, and regulations. It serves
largely to provide a background on how terminals operate and opportunities for handling greater
volumes of ethanol. As a part of this study, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
interviewed companies who own terminals and visited several terminals to gain insight into their
operations, how ethanol is handled, any issues with ethanol storage, and the potential for
terminals to store more ethanol.

Kristi Moriarty
Contact Person
Kristi Moriarty
Contact Organization
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Bioenergy Category
Publication Date
DOI is live on OSTI.
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.