Wide range of applications
Bioethanol is used in a wide range of industrial applications, in the pharmaceutical sector, the chemical industry, and as a fuel. Bioethanol is by far the most commonly used biofuel world-wide and is used alongside conventional petrol to fuel petrol engines in road vehicles.
Bioethanol can also be used as the basis for the production of ETBE (ethyl-tertiary-butyl-ether) which is an octane booster and used in many types of petrol.
Since 2006, all of the different types of petrol in use in Germany have contained 5 per cent directly mixed-in bioethanol. This mixture is labelled normal petrol, or E5. The fuel type E10, which has been successively rolled out in Germany since 2011, contains 10 per cent bioethanol. The market share of E10 in the petrol market was 14.7 per cent by the end of 2012.
93 per cent of the fleet of petrol-driven vehicles in Germany, and usually all commercial vehicles, can use E10 without any restrictions.
The EU sustainability regulations came into force in January 2011. This stipulates that only sustainably produced bioethanol can be used, which should not be derived from land with a high conservation value, and which has proven CO2 savings compared to fossil fuels of at least 35 per cent throughout the whole lifecycle of the bioethanol – from the cultivation of the sugar beet all the way until it is burnt in the vehicle engines.
This ensures that bioethanol really does make a significant contribution to slashing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, and that no rain forests or land of high conservation value is ploughed up or “used for other purposes” to produce the raw material for bioethanol. Bioethanol is therefore a real renewable energy source.