Ethanol levels in gasoline on the rise
The use of alcohol in automotive fuels will increase significantly in the coming weeks. As of Tuesday, in the Netherlands the amount of bioethanol in an average gasoline tank will more or less double. It is the next step in the ‘greening’ of road traffic. In neighboring countries like Belgium, the 95 E10 gasoline is already available since 2017.
E5 becomes E10
The new gasoline is called E10, which means ‘up to 10% bioethanol’. In Europe, it was decided in 2005 that renewable biofuels should be blended into motor fuels. The idea is that fuel from plants or waste does not lead to an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and, therefore, does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Actual percentage is lower
As of 2030, the ethanol level should become 14%. The European figures are fictional: they are calculation percentages in a control model. A lot of biofuel counts twice: put in 1%, and the governments see 2%. So, where government documents say 14%, the tank may only contain 9%.
Dutch State Secretary, Stientje van Veldhoven, (Infrastructure and Environment) writes to the House of Representatives that the transition from E5 to E10 will result in a reduction in CO2 emissions of 0,12 tons per cubic meter of petrol. That is a decrease of 5%. The second question is whether the cars that will run on this fuel will also benefit from a more favorable tax regime that is directly proportional to a 5% reduction in their CO2 emissions.
André Faaij, professor of energy systems in Groningen, sees a great future for biomass, such as bio-ethanol. “By 2050, CO2 emissions must be reduced by more than 90%, and biomass will play a major role in this. At present, ethanol is mainly made from edible raw materials, such as corn and sugar cane, but in the future, ethanol will be made from wood or grass. The production of such bioethanol also releases pure CO2, which can easily be stored underground. In this way, the production of fuels even becomes CO2-negative,” Faaij concludes.
Modern gasoline cars easily digest the E10 fuel. Older models, dating from before 2000, often use rubber fuel hoses that are affected by E10, which can lead to leaks and fires. The FSI engines of the VW group (the early 2000s) are also less suitable for this fuel. Finally, the fuel is not recommended for vehicles in which the fuel is stored in the tank for a long time because E10 degrades faster compared to conventional gasoline.