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EU’s Struggle for E10

Submitted by on March 18, 2014 – 5:39 pmNo Comment

by Robert Vierhout (ePURE/Ethanol Producer Magazine)  For European ethanol producers, E15 is still a distant dream. In the EU, the struggle is to get from E5 to E10. The legislation to offer E10 has been in place since 2009 but its use, even five years after the legislation came into force, is minimal.

For us, the struggle is to get from E5 to E10. The legislation to offer E10 has been in place since 2009 but its use, even five years after the legislation came into force, is still very disappointing.

There are only three countries in Europe where one can buy E10: France, Germany and Finland. Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the U.K. are considering E10 in the future, but the “accidents” that occurred when E10 was introduced in Germany are not yet forgotten and explain the slow pace of implementation elsewhere.

The argument revolving around potential engine damage from E10 was used by the German car and oil industries. It resonates with the average motorist who gets scared that one day his car will stop if he fills up with E10. Not surprisingly, E10 sales had a poor start in Germany when the fuel was introduced in early 2011. But remarkably, its share is continuously increasing and now stands at around 17 percent of gasoline sales—not entirely bad for a fuel that was held with such suspicion. E10 is not only cheaper, but it performs well too. Since its introduction, not a single car failure has been reported. So much for the scaremongering.

In France, the E10 share is now close to 30 percent of gasoline sales.

Now a new witch hunt has started. A U.K. car magazine measured fuel consumption and emissions from cars running on E10. Tests on four cars found that compared to 100 percent fossil gasoline, the average fuel consumption was 7.7 percent higher higher with E10, and as a consequence, increased tailpipe emissions. This contrasts markedly with Finnish research from 2011 that found little difference between E5 and E10 consumption. Some basic errors must have been committed during the U.K. tests; fuel consumption cannot rise that much when using E10 as suggested by this research. The higher tailpipe emissions are understandable, but do not reflect the true lifecycle emissions of the two fuels. Only if the emissions of biofuels are measured on a well-to-wheel basis can we have accurate data on the greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.

…  Also, several very technical studies demonstrate ethanol’s higher octane delivers benefits to engine performance, improves the combustion process and increases fuel efficiency.  READ MORE

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