Intermediates: Biofuel targets to drive ETBE demand

04 April 2011 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Demand in Europe for ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) will ­increase as EU-mandated biofuel targets rise, according to Willemien Terpstra, vice-president for refined products and oxyfuels at LyondellBasell.

Speaking at the World Biofuels Markets conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on March 23, Terpstra stated that ETBE offered significant benefits over the most common bio-derived gasoline fuel additive, ethanol. He cited greater carbon dioxide (CO2) savings, higher energy content, increased octane level with low volatility, and low volatile organic compound emissions.

Most importantly, she continued, ETBE had a higher hydrogen-to-carbon ratio than ethanol, meaning less CO2 per unit of energy, and thus lower CO2 emissions.

The European Commission's renewable energy directive states that by 2020 all transport fuels must have 10% biofuel. Until then, EU member states can 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, and Terpstra says this would ­entail co-blending ETBE and ethanol into gasoline. "The CO2 savings are not currently recognized, but with a growing biofuels target, you'll go for the co-blend," she said.

By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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