A new report from the European Commission highlights several benefits of higher ethanol blends in petrol, including reduced emissions of dangerous pollutants and improvements in car engine performance.
Carried out by the ICF for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate, the study looked at the impact of higher levels of bio-components in transport fuels. It was discovered that increasing the amount of ethanol in petrol blends – for example from 5% to 10% or 20%, would have a positive effect on vehicle emissions and air quality as well as cut reliance on fossil petroleum products.
The research itself was carried out in 2015, but has only recently been published.
Among the report’s findings was the revelation that increased ethanol blends in petrol would result in reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM). Ethanol blends reduce emissions of HC/CO/PM by 5 to 20% compared to petrol with no ethanol.
Significantly, the study also found that compared to current blending levels, the use of higher ethanol blends will not result in adverse evaporative impact levels in petrol.
Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general of ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association, has responded to the newly published study, which comes more than six months after the Commission proposed phasing out crop based biofuels after 2020.
“This Commission report once again confirms the many benefits ethanol brings to EU transport, in addition to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Desplechin.
“Renewable ethanol, sustainably produced in Europe, already helps reduce emissions of GHG and harmful pollutants in petrol across Europe, and blends such as E10 are compatible with today’s vehicles. But with increased blends it could do even more – and help reduce Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuel.”
“Instead of calling for a phase-out of sustainably produced biofuels like ethanol, the EU should be promoting their use,” Desplechin said.