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Bioethanol-Blended E10 Gasoline to Become Standard in Poland

AUTOMOTIVEBioethanol-Blended E10 Gasoline to Become Standard in Poland

Gasoline with a 10 percent bioethanol content will appear at gas stations at the beginning of the new year, replacing the popular E5 95-octane. However, not all older cars will be able to run on it, so they will have to be fueled with 98-octane gasoline, which is currently more expensive. Experts predict, however, that the prices of both fuels will eventually converge. Drivers can check whether their car is compatible with the new fuel in a special search engine or via email. Meanwhile, the demand for biofuels is expected to more than double by the end of the decade.

“E10 fuel is seen not only as a substitute for traditional fuel in a sense but also as a more environmentally friendly fuel. Hence all guidelines of the European Union are aimed at the possibility of using such fuels, which will meet transport needs, but above all protect the environment,” says Halina Pupacz, president of the Polish Chamber of Liquid Fuels in an interview for the Newseria Biznes agency. “On average in the EU, fossil fuels used in all energy sectors, not just in transport fuels, already make up 38 percent. In Poland, it is still 78 percent of the entire energy basket.”

E10 petrol will appear at petrol stations on 1 January 2024. This change stems from an EU directive, which is part of the Community policy that envisages moving away from fossil fuels towards alternative fuels. As the Ministry of Climate and Environment explains, Poland will be the 19th country in the EU to introduce this fuel. It is already available in, among others, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary. In addition, E10 is also available in the UK and Norway. E10 petrol is already widely used all over the world, including in Europe, the United States, and Australia. Since 2016, it has also been the reference fuel on which new cars are tested for emissions and performance.

According to a report by ePure, an organization dealing with the use of biocomponents, bioethanol has a smaller carbon footprint – on average about 70 percent less compared with fossil fuels such as gasoline derived from crude oil refining. The introduction of E10 to the market is expected to help Poland achieve the EU target of 14 percent of fuels from renewable raw materials in transport fuels and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Bioethanol, which is a component of this type of gasoline, is a renewable fuel, produced from sustainably grown plants, as well as from waste. It is produced in biorefineries through the process of fermentation. Most often, biorefineries are focused on processing cereals and sugar beets, but fuel can also be produced from straw, for example. The bioethanol produced is delivered to refineries preparing gasoline for distribution.

“Refineries must blend this fuel, that is, prepare and deliver to stations fuel with a 10 percent addition of ethanol. Fuel stations must change the labeling on their fuel meters so that the customer fueling the fuel knows that he is fueling fuel with an alcohol additive up to 10 percent. The only information requirement is that every customer can find information at the gas station about where and how to check if his vehicle can be fueled with E10 fuel,” adds Halina Pupacz.

The method of marking, formulating, and providing information about the type of fuel used to power a motor vehicle has been determined in a regulation by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

“For the next two to three months, it will be quite difficult for everyone because employees at the stations and car owners will have to educate each other in passing on this information on how to check to fuel safe fuel,” says the president of the Polish Chamber of Liquid Fuels.

It turns out that not all older cars will be able to be fueled with this gasoline. You can check whether the engine is adapted to be fueled with E10 gasoline in the vehicle’s manual, on the fuel filler cap, from the dealer or vehicle manufacturer, but also in a special search engine provided by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The search engine indicates which of the various engines used in the model in question can be fueled with fuel with an increased bio component content. Within just a few days of launching the site, there have been more than 2.5 million searches. The search engine, which includes about 8,000 records, provides information on most models traveling on Polish roads. The Ministry has also launched a special email address for reporting any discrepancies in the functioning of the search engine.

According to the Polish Association of the Automotive Industry, the average age of a passenger car in 2020 in Poland was 14.3 years. A vast majority of passenger vehicles with spark ignition engines produced after January 1, 2010, are adapted to use E10 motor gasoline. Vehicles that won’t be able to be fueled with it will have to “switch” to 98-octane petrol which is several dozens of pennies more expensive per liter today. 10 percent of bioethanol will only apply to 95-octane gasoline. Meanwhile, 98-octane fuel will still have a 5 percent bio-component.

“We count on these prices converging so that the difference will not be as big as it is currently for 98-octane gasoline,” says Halina Pupacz.

As MKiŚ emphasizes, increasing the bioethanol content in gasoline will only slightly affect the increase in fuel consumption (in the range of 1 to 2 percent), which is hard to distinguish from other factors affecting fuel consumption, such as driving style or tire pressure.

According to data from the International Energy Agency, demand for biofuels in 2022 reached a record level of 4.3 exajoules (EJ), equivalent to 170 billion liters. By 2030, demand is expected to grow to 10 EJ.

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