European renewable ethanol industry increased co-products output in 2020
European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) members produced 5.57 billion litres of ethanol and 6.16 million tonnes of co-products in 2020, according to audited data released by the industry group. The figures showed a significant increase in the production of ethanol for industrial use, including hand sanitizers and disinfectants.
According to ePURE, the new statistics “confirm the importance” of European renewable ethanol biorefineries to achieving EU Green Deal objectives by reducing transport emissions and ensuring sustainable domestic production of animal feed and other beneficial co-products, including captured carbon dioxide (CO2).
Furthermore, over 98 percent of the feedstock used to produce renewable ethanol by ePURE members – including cereals, sugars, wastes, and residues – was grown or sourced in Europe.
Of the total ethanol output from ePURE members in 2020, the most recent year for which data have been compiled and audited, more than 79 percent was for fuel use, with an average of over 75 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) savings compared to fossil petrol (gasoline).
Of the remaining ethanol production in 2020, 5.6 percent was for food and beverage uses and 15.2 percent was for industrial applications, including hand sanitizer and other hygienic uses. When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic surged in early 2020, several EU ethanol biorefineries swiftly adapted production to supply ethyl alcohol for medical use, while continuing to make low-carbon renewable fuel ethanol.
Renewable ethanol is more than a fuel. These numbers confirm the additional benefits of European ethanol production, including offsetting the need to import soybean meal for animal feed and ensuring a strong supply of alcohol for medical and industrial use. This is on top of the vital role renewable ethanol must play in achieving the ambitious decarbonization targets of the EU Green Deal, as an immediate, cost-effective and socially inclusive carbon-abatement solution to power the vehicles of today and tomorrow, said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary-General of ePURE.
ePURE represents 35 members (including 19 producers) with around 50 plants across the EU27 and UK, accounting for about 85 percent of EU renewable ethanol production. The statistics were compiled from ePURE members and certified by auditing firm Copartner.