Frequently asked questions

24. What is ethanol made from and what criteria does it have to meet?

Ethanol fuel is ethyl alcohol. Traditionally, it is produced through a fermentation process from raw materials that contain sugar and starch such as sugar cane, maize, grain and potato. World’s biggest producers of ethanol are Brazil and the USA. In Europe, the principal raw materials used are barley, potato and surplus wine.

New ethanol production methods are constantly being developed.  The second generation processes currently use even waste as raw material for ethanol. Over time, again a new ethanol raw material may be lignocellulose obtained from various types of agricultural waste, industrial secondary process flows, and woody biomass and energy plants.

The standard SFS-EN 15376 specifies sets requirements for ethanol blended with petrol,  regardless of the raw material of ethanol.

The ethanol to be blended into petrol must meet all the sustainable development requirements that the EU has set on fuel biocomponents. Compliance with this criterion is verified through a system of reporting where the operators introducing the fuels into the markets must report to the relevant member state. They in turn report to the EU Commission.

All biocomponents blended into petrol must reduce greenhouse gas emission. The level of the emission reduction depends on the type of raw material, the production method and the transport distances.

In comparison with the current petrol qualities, the E10 petrol with maximum 10% v/v ethanol does not have an essential effect on the regulated vehicle emissions.  The conventional petrol and the new E10 petrol are similar in their environmental and hazard characteristics.

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