China Plans Nationwide Rollout of E10 Petrol by 2020
The Chinese government is planning to roll out ethanol-admixed petrol nationally by 2020 according to Chinese state media reports, which cite a government document on this matter. Up to ten percent of ethanol will be added to fossil petrol, forming a blend known as E10 in Germany. However, official legislation for the world’s largest car market is still pending on this issue. Regulations on the minimum permitted share of admixed ethanol have so far been in force only on a provincial level in China.
Less harmful emissions
According to the German Bioethanol Industry Association (Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft, BBDe), the alcohol produced from plants containing sugar or starch, such as sugar beet, cereals or potatoes, can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70 percent in the medium term compared with pure fossil petrol depending on raw material, production process and process energy. Inner cities have also benefited from using bioethanol as petrol since an internal combustion engine running on blends of bioethanol produces less harmful emissions than an engine operating on fossil petrol alone according to the Association. In particular, the proportion of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the exhaust gas decreases with increasing ethanol content.
Besides the problematic air quality in China’s major cities, key to the government’s plans is the state’s stockpiling of an estimated 200 million tonnes of maize, which is roughly equivalent to the national demand for one year. Government-ordered stockpiling was aimed primarily at supporting farmers economically but this policy has since been discontinued. Even though the country is already the world’s third-largest ethanol producer after Brazil and the USA, with 2.1 million tonnes per year, the share of all fuels from renewable sources is below one percent of total consumption.