ETANKFIRE Ethanol Tank Fire Fighting

What is ETANKFIRE? At the initiative of SP Fire Technology and the Swedish Petroleum Institute (SPI), a research project on ethanol storage tank fires has been developed – ETANKFIRE Ethanol Tank Fire Fighting. The ultimate goal of the ETANKFIRE project is to develop and validate a methodology for suppression of tank fires containing ethanol fuels and to determine the large scale burning behavior of ethanol fuels to ensure proper investment in the fire protection of ethanol storage facilities.

The project was launched in 2012 and the first test series is complete but additional partners are welcome to join and take part in the upcoming test program.

Stakeholders are sought on an international basis to participate in this project, both to obtain the necessary funding to complete Phase 1 and also to provide a wide understanding of the problem and an acceptance of the project scope and results.  An executive summary of the project and a project update as of Nov 2013 are available for download, see the links along the right side of this page. The full project description is available under Administration.  Note that ETANKFIRE is an evolving project; the details may change as new stakeholders join the steering committee and contribute their expertise to the project goals, milestones, and deliverables.

Why do we need the ETANKFIRE project?

In many countries, the use of ethanol has increased significantly as a means to fulfill climate goals by replacing fossil fuels with renewable fuels, but the use of ethanol fuels will create new risks and challenges from a fire protection point of view. In general, oil companies and fire brigades have extensive fire protection and suppression experience for petroleum-based fires, however, there is a significant lack of experience concerning water miscible fuels such as ethanol, especially regarding storage tank fire scenarios. Those few tank fires that have been reported resulted in burn out rather than extinguishment.

Project Status

Two full scale tests have been conducted to study the burning behavior of ethanol fuels.  Denaturized ethanol (E97) and a blend of 85 % ethanol, 15 % gasoline (E85) were used as fuels. The results show that the heat exposure towards the fire surroundings is significant higher with ethanol compared to gasoline (see below for more details).

The next step in the project will be to learn more about tank fire extinguishment tactics. As the experience from real tank fires shows that we can’t expect to extinguish an ethanol tank fire using common fire fighting tactics, there is an urgent need to develop some alternative methods (see below for more details).

Project News

We would like to welcome Alert Inc/The Solberg Company Partnership as a new Full Partner and Tryg Forsikring A/S as an Associate Partner. We would also like to thank BRANDFORSK for their additional funding with EUR 50 000 to the work within WP1 and WP2.

A list of all partners can be found under Administration.

ETANKFIRE background

Large scale tests on water miscible fuels.

Join the project

Laboratory scale tank fire tests the next step.

Free burning tests

Higher heat exposure from ethanol fires.

Related Information


Contact Persons

Henry Persson

Phone: +46 10 516 51 98

Francine Amon

Phone: +46 10 516 51 66

Margaret Simonson McNamee

Phone: +46 10 516 52 19

Fredrik Rosén

Phone: +46 10 516 56 86

SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, Box 857, 501 15 Borås, Tel 010-516 50 00, E-post

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