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Bioethanol sales increased in Germany 2018 despite drop in petrol consumption

The German Bioethanol Industry Association (Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft – BDBe) has published the 2018 market data for the production and consumption of certified sustainable bioethanol. German bioethanol production, standardised for use as fuel, fell to 613 000 tonnes, a decline of 8.9 percent compared with the previous year. However, in a shrinking petrol market, sales of bioethanol rose by almost 3.0 percent in 2018.

In 2018, bioethanol's share of the German petrol market reached 6.3% by volume, 0.3 percentage points higher than in 2017 (graphic courtesy BDBe).

In 2018, bioethanol’s share of the German petrol market reached 6.3% by volume, 0.3 percentage points higher than in 2017 (graphic courtesy BDBe).

In 2018, when the overall fuel market declined overall, with 17.8 million tonnes of petrol sold – around 2.5 percent less petrol than in the previous year (2017: 18.3 million tonnes) – the consumption of bioethanol, which is used as a petrol admixture for the petrol types Super E10, Super Plus and Super (E5) or used to produce ETBE (ethyl tert-butyl ether), rose to just under 1.2 million tonnes.

While just under 110 000 tonnes of bioethanol were used for ETBE production, around 1.4 percent less than in the previous year, the admixture percentage rose significantly. For the first time in several years, this has again resulted in increasing percentages of bioethanol in the petrol types Super (E5), Super E10 and Super Plus.

Commenting on the official mineral oil data, Stefan Walter, Managing Director of the BDBe explained that the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for all fuels from the current level of 4.0 percent is “clearly too low to ensure even more climate change mitigation in the transport sector.

However, this will change starting in 2020, when the greenhouse gas savings quota will increase to 6 percent as stipulated by law. The mineral oil industry will then use the biofuels that best meet the commitments, said Stefan Walter.

The discussions about meeting climate change mitigation targets, about the necessary measures such as higher prices for fossil-based fuels, the promotion of electromobility and the use of alternative fuels are also, in the BDBe’ s view, raising public awareness of the potential biofuels have to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as well as improve urban air quality.

The consumption of bioethanol in petrol is already reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector by 3.1 million tonnes. In mathematical terms, this is equivalent to around 1.0 million passenger cars without CO2 emissions. Comparative tests initiated by the BDBe which apply the new WLTP measurement method have shown that the use of Super E10 not only significantly reduces CO2 emissions but also particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), said Stefan Walter.

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