News & Media

Europe’s ethanol industry boosts production of low-carbon fuel and high-protein feed

New data from European renewable ethanol association members in 2017 show record-high greenhouse-gas reduction compared to petrol, major production of animal feed

BRUSSELS, 4 September 2018 – European renewable ethanol association (ePURE) members produced 5.84 billion litres of ethanol and 5.71 million tonnes of beneficial co-products in 2017, according to new audited data released today by the industry group.

Some 81% of the total ethanol output was for fuel use, with an average of more than 70% 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% was for industrial use and 9% 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 litres of ethanol – 85% of their installed capacity of 6.84 billion litres.

Along with the fuel, ePURE members’ ethanol refineries also produced 5.71 million tonnes of co-products, including 4.32 million tonnes of animal feed and 0.77 million tonnes 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% 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 decarbonise 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 our new infographic.

--ends--