Bioethanol - mobility with a future

The future of bioethanol is proverbially "on the road". Bioethanol is already available as a fuel in several different forms today. Renewable and climate-friendly, it is helping to ensure that mobility has a future. 84% of the world's ethanol production is used in the fuel sector.

Bioethanol as a fuel for all internal combustion engines

Most of the petrol fuels in Europe, contain bioethanol or ingredients manufactured from it. Standards determine what chemical properties the various grades of petrol may have, and what ingredients they may contain. It also permits the addition of bioethanol in various ways:
  • as a high-performance fuel component
    The production of the octane booster ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether) has for a long time been the main application of bioethanol in the European fuel sector. The increasing direct blending of bioethanol to petrol has led to ETBE becoming less important. ETBE is composed of around 47% ethanol and 53% isobutylene and is used as a petrol additive to enhance its anti-knock properties. Petrol in Europe is permitted to contain up to 15 vol.-% of ETBE.
  • as additive E5
    E5 may contain a maximum of 5 vol.-% bioethanol. It is currently the standard petrol in Europe. At fuel pumps, however, this fuel is not labeled E5, but rather super, premium or similar. The quality parameters for E5 are defined in Norm EN228. Before the European fuel quality directive was adapted, all petrol fuels in Europe had to meet this standard.
  • as additive E10
    The "Fuel Quality Directive" created the opportunity for the introduction of E10 fuel, i.e., the blending of 10 vol.-% of bioethanol in petrol, throughout Europe. Although the fuel standard has been implemented by all member states, E10 continues to be available only in Germany (since 2011), France, Finland and Belgium within the EU.
©Four Motors/Foto Flach
  • as additive E20
    Newer Models can even be powered with E20, e. i. an ethanol content of up to 20% in petrol. Since 2016, the racing team Four Motors has been demonstrating this impressively at the Nürburgring (Germany). Their bioconcept car, a Porsche Cayman GT4 powered with E20 from CropEnergies, participates successfully at long-distance races such as the 24-Hour Race.

Bioethanol in E85

E85 fuel blends have a bioethanol content of up to 86% and can be used on vehicles that have been specially designed or converted to run on it, so-called "Flexible Fuel Vehicles" (FFVs). A technically relatively simple modification enables FFVs to run both on conventional petrol and on bioethanol-petrol blends with a bioethanol content of up to 86%. For the motorist, this means a unique flexibility as it is possible to choose between two types of fuel according to availability and price. E85 is currently not available in Germany.
For technical reasons, it is not advisable to use 100% bioethanol, as it is used in Brasil, as fuel in our temperate climatic regions. That is why E85 is used in Europe. The addition of petrol improves cold-starting characteristics in the winter. Owing to its high bioethanol content the use of E85 on a nationwide basis offers the greatest potential for reducing the dependence on fossil fuels.

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