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ePURE: New data shows record GHG reductions from European ethanol

European renewable ethanol association (ePURE) members produced 5.84 billion liters of ethanol and 5.71 million metric tons of beneficial coproducts in 2017, according to new audited data released by the industry group.

Some 81 percent of the total ethanol output was for fuel use, with an average of more than 70 percent greenhouse-gas savings compared to petrol in 2017. Ethanol´s GHG-reducing performance increased for the sixth year in a row as the sustainability of European renewable ethanol continues to improve—jumping by more than 4 percentage points over 2016. Of the rest of the ethanol production in 2017, 10 percent was for industrial use and 9 percent for food and beverages.

Virtually all of the feedstock used to produce renewable ethanol by ePURE members—including cereals, sugars, wastes and residues—was grown or sourced in Europe.

ePURE represents 34 companies (including 20 producing members), with 50 plants in 16 EU Member States. In 2017, these companies produced 5.84 billion liters of ethanol—85 percent of their installed capacity of 6.84 billion liters.

Along with the fuel, ePURE members´ ethanol refineries also produced 5.71 million metric tons of coproducts, including 4.32 million metric tons of animal feed and 0.77 million metric tons of captured CO2.

“European renewable ethanol keeps building on its importance as a clean-mobility solution,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE. “Every year, ethanol improves its greenhouse-gas-reduction score, reaching more than 70 percent on average in 2017 compared to fossil fuel.”

“The Renewable Energy Directive confirmed European ethanol´s status as a good biofuel—one that will be vital to achieving European climate and energy goals,” Desplechin said. “Also, the new data show ethanol production is an important source of animal feed at a time when the EU is trying to reduce its need to import protein.”

Ethanol produced by ePURE members works at scale in today´s vehicle fleets. According to a new study from Ricardo Energy & Environment, Europe´s push to decarbonize road transport would benefit significantly from the use of low-carbon fuels such as renewable ethanol, especially with a high percentage of cars with internal combustion engines still on Europe´s roads for decades.

For more statistics from 2017, see the new infographic.

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