CropEnergies confident despite Germany E10 debacle

04 March 2011 16:44  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany's renewable fuels firm CropEnergies is confident about its outlook for 2011 and beyond, even though the country’s launch of 10%-bioethanol blended gasoline (E10) has stalled, the company said on Friday.

Germany's demand for E10 remains low as drivers fear the fuel could damage car engines, leaving the country's refiners with unsold stock of E10 and prompting them to reduce E10 production.

CropEnergies said the main reason for Germany’s troubles in launching E10, which was approved for sale at the pump from 1 January, was a failure to properly inform drivers about the new fuel and its advantages.

CropEnergies said drivers’ fears were not justified and added that E10 had been available as a standard fuel in the US for many years.

In January, the US even authorised 15% ethanol (E15) blends for older-model passenger cars.

CropEnergies said that with the implementation of the EU’s Renewable Energies Directive, the market for bioethanol in Europe was expected to grow considerably over the next few years, regardless of the current difficulties in Germany.

As for Germany, CropEnergies said "all parties involved must now work at comprehensively informing the consumers as quickly as possible about the new fuel".

Officials at Germany’s economic ministry said minister Rainer Bruderle would meet leaders from the refining, renewable fuels and automotive industries for a “gasoline summit” on 8 March to clarify the situation and reassure drivers.

Refiners trade group MWV welcomed Bruderle’s initiative.

The group said while about 90% of cars of Germany’s roads could run on E10, it was up to car makers to provide reliable and legally enforceable information as to which models could run on E10 without damaging engines.

However Germany's drivers lobby group, ADAC, said both car makers and the oil and refining industry had failed to do their part in properly informing drivers at the pump.

CropEnergies’ share price was up 11% to €6.06 on Germany’s Xetra stock exchange at 15:43 local time.

On Thursday, the shares fell almost 15% when media reported that refiners would pull E10 from the market.

MWV quickly dismissed those reports, insisting it had no plans to pull E10, which so far had been introduced at about 45% of Germany’s 15,000 petrol stations.

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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