Bioethanol: spirit alcohol plays its future in Brussels
At the end of the summer break, negotiations to revise the Community regulation on CO2 emissions from light vehicles resumed with renewed vigour. One of the hotly debated topics was the environmental value of the biofuel known as Superethanol E85. The fight promises to be contentious because these discussions are part of the European project of fully decarbonizing the automotive sector by 2050.
Proponents of this fuel alcohol argue (supported by a study by IFP Énergies nouvelles) that its combustion reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of a plug-in hybrid car’s petrol engine to the level of a battery-powered electric car. A truly incredible statement for environmental extremists who remain fundamentally opposed to any kind of heat engine.
The plug-in hybrid still has a (faint) hope of escaping the ban on internal combustion engines in 2035
However, the argument seems to have caught on. As evidence, the debates in Brussels ended on June 29 with the unexpected decision of the European Union’s Environment Council to keep the principle of technological neutrality at the heart of the text. A way of saying that it would be very stupid to impose the only solution of the battery electric car on all users and all manufacturers if there were other solutions to achieve carbon neutrality.
Proponents and critics of fuel alcohol are therefore facing each other in scientific studies to determine once and for all whether the production, distribution and combustion of bioethanol contributes to reducing or, on the contrary, maintaining global warming. Big question.
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