UK to introduce petrol with 10% bioethanol

Article by Amanda Doyle

E10 fuel – petrol blended with 10% bioethanol – is set to be introduced in the UK in September.

Bioethanol can be made from low-grade grains, sugars, and waste wood. The Department for Transport claim that the use of the E10 fuel could cut the UK’s transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 t/y. Currently, only E5 fuel, which has a 5% blend of bioethanol, is available. E5 petrol will continue to be available for older vehicles which may not be compatible with E10.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re going further and faster than ever to cut emissions from our roads, cleaning up our air as we accelerate towards a zero-emission transport future. Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey, as we build back greener.”

The Government was criticised in a 2019 report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Bioethanol for not taking urgent action to introduce the E10 fuel to have an immediate impact on CO2 emissions and to help the struggling bioethanol industry. In September 2018, Vivergo Fuels had to close its facility in Hull, the UK’s largest bioethanol facility, due to high wheat prices and delays in bringing in legislation on biofuels.

However, with the announcement that E10 fuel will finally be introduced, Vivergo Fuels plans to re-open the site. Mark Carr, Group Chief Executive of AB Sugar, the majority stakeholder of Vivergo, said: “It was an extremely difficult decision we had to take to close in September 2018, but we have continued to maintain this world-class plant in the anticipation that it could re-start if the conditions were right to do so. With the Government’s announcement to introduce E10 to UK vehicles and improved market conditions, we are re-opening the plant and will start manufacturing bioethanol in early 2022.

“This is good news for a sustainable British biofuels industry, the economy within the Humber region, and the environment and consumers. I look forward to our continued investment and ambition for the UK bioethanol industry”.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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