What is Ethanol?
Most commonly ethanol is blended with petrol to produce blends such as E10 which is comprised of 90% petrol and 10% ethanol. Many modern vehicles are capable of running blends up to E85. E85 is a popular racing fuel and is the standard for the V8 supercar competition in Australia.
Ethanol is also a base chemical that can be used in the manufacture of bioplastics, paints and pharmaceuticals.
Biofutures 10yr Roadmap Action Plan Liquid Fuel Supply Act
Ethanol is renewable and can be produced from sustainable feedstocks such as sugarcane, sorghum and agricultural wastes.
The carbon dioxide released when ethanol is burned is substantially balanced by the carbon dioxide captured when the crops are grown to make ethanol. This differs from petroleum, which is made from plants that grew millions of years ago. On a life cycle analysis basis, GHG emissions are reduced on average by 40% with grain and sugarcane-based ethanol with recent technological developments such as cellulosic or 2nd generation ethanol production widening this gap even further.
Ethanol is produced locally, from home-grown feed-stocks and has been safely blended into our fuel for decades. It burns cleaner and cooler than oil-based petrol. This cleaner burn reduces harmful tailpipe emissions.
Ethanol is an octane booster, which reduces the need for the petroleum industry to add synthetic chemicals to improve octane. E85 ethanol has an octane rating of up to 107.
Virtually every sector of the Australian economy benefits from an expanding ethanol industry. From the technology sector, which provides software for sophisticated plant operations, to the manufacturing sector providing plant components, ethanol production stimulates economic activity.
Globally, a variety of econometric models have been used to calculate economic impact of biofuel production. The economic impact of these plants can transform local economies by creating demand for local goods and services, stimulating additional local investment, generating tax revenues at the local and state level, invigorating local grain and sugarcane markets and offering wages to the region.
Communities seeking development opportunities, job creation, tax base diversification and new capital investment are quick to recognize the economic benefits of a local ethanol processing plant. These benefits are obvious from the point of initial construction and continue to expand throughout the operating life of the plant.
Australia imports nearly 90% of its petroleum products. As oil refineries continue to close it adds to this foreign energy dependency. Australia’s petroleum reserve is measured in days, not weeks or months, thereby making us extremely vulnerable to supply disruptions. The use of domestically produced biofuels like ethanol help to lessen the impact of potential supply disruptions.