European ETBE demand to increase with bio-targets

23 March 2011 18:24  [Source: ICIS news]

ROTTERDAM (ICIS)--Demand in Europe for ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) will increase as EU mandated biofuel targets rise, Willemien Terpstra of LyondellBasell said on Wednesday.

Terpstra, who is vice president for refined products and oxyfuels, spoke at the World Biofuels Markets conference in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

ETBE offers significant benefits over ethanol, the most common bio-derived gasoline fuel additive, Terpstra said. These include greater carbon dioxide (CO2) savings, higher energy content, increased octane level but with low volatility, and low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

Most importantly, ETBE has a higher hydrogen to carbon ration than ethanol, meaning less CO2 per unit of energy, and thus lower CO2 emissions, Terpstra said.

While co-blending ETBE and ethanol in gasoline offers significant benefits over ethanol alone, the practice is currently seen in only France, Germany, Spain and Finland. Terpstra said it was possible to meet current mandated bio-targets without ETBE, but believed that as these targets increase, so too will demand for ETBE.

The European Commission’s renewable energy directive (RED) states that by 2020 all transport fuels must have 10% biofuel. In the meantime, EU member states are free to build up to that target however they see fit, explaining the wide-range of mandated levels currently seen.

All states will be obliged to reach 10% by 2020, however, and Terpstra believed this would entail an adoption of co-blending ETBE and ethanol into gasoline.

“The CO2 saving are not currently recognised, but with a growing biofuels target you’ll go for the co-blend. [ETBE] becomes more relevant as bio-targets go up, “she said.

By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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