Bioethanol in gasoline: environment protection vs. business interest

Author : Serhiy Kuiun

Source : 112 Ukraine

A group of people's deputies registered a draft law obliging the operators of the fuel market to sell gasoline and diesel fuel with a certain content of biocomponents
14:27, 4 December 2017

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A group of people's deputies registered the draft law № 7348 in the Verkhovna Rada, which provides that from January 1, 2019 the total capacity of biocomponents for gasoline should be 3.4 percent of energy, and from July 1, 2020 - not less than 4.8%. For diesel fuel, part of the biocomponents since January 1, 2019 is calculated at a rate of 2.7% of total sales. In case of non-compliance of economic entities with the requirements on the percentage ratio, a fine of 100 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens for each 1 GJ of the difference in the established volume of the mandatory share of biocomponents in the annual sales balance is provided.

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A peculiarity of Ukraine is the dependence on fuel imports and a small 20% share of its own production of gasoline. Imports import ready gasoline, which meets all European standards. But the law requires the addition of alcohol. If this is done, the fuel parameters will immediately change. To prevent this, the importer must bring a certain base gasoline, which when mixed with Ukrainian bioethanol will give standard Euro-5. There is no doubt that a foreign manufacturer for such a special order will ask for a surcharge. Of course, bioethanol will not be free.

Alcohol-containing gasoline must be properly mixed. It is necessary to make special constructions at the tank farms. Before you get certified gasoline, you need to achieve compliance with the quality, and for this oil depot must be equipped with laboratory complexes. Producing gasoline with bioethanol is not as simple as it seems to the functionaries of the alcohol industry.

In fact, this requires time and money.

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It is obvious that alcohol-containing gasoline will be more expensive than the "usual" gasoline. How much? This will largely depend on Ukrspyrt, the monopolist; the prices for bioethanol will be exclusively in its hands. But this is not all. As the analysis of specific cases shows, often quality deviations arise due to improper transportation and storage. And now let is imagine if there are problems with elementary technological norms, what will happen when production is added? Nothing good.

Gasoline with bioethanol is a very capricious substance. This fuel is not designed for long-term storage. It is not recommended to leave the car with such gasoline in the tank for a long time.

Gasoline with ethanol is could be bought today: the special law gives a privilege on the excise on gasoline with the maintenance more than 30% of alcohol. But there are no special queues for this product, although it is cheaper. A couple of years ago, WOG network was forced to wind down this program of selling alternative fuels. Why? Because the product is very specific, it is not appropriate for every car, in particular, old cars.

In general, the entire story of bioethanol is not a story about environmental protection and energy saving. It is mostly about money. Money of the lobbyists. European experts openly say that in Europe this topic was once sold by German manufacturers of equipment for the alcohol industry. Ukraine was not an exception. Before the revolution in 2014, the mandatory addition of bioethanol was lobbied by the Minister of Energy Yuriy Boyko (who, under this program, began building a powerful distillery in Rubizhne), as well as his long-time partners Eduard Stavitsky and the Minister of Agricultural Policy Mykola Prysyazhnyuk. This was a plan to create a monopoly on the production of bioethanol and thus on the orientation of the entire fuel market. Only the resistance of oil market participants could take this threat away.

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The issue of using bioethanol in gasoline is not new. And today we have the law, adopted in 2012, which prescribes the mandatory addition of biocomponents in gasoline. But why did not this law work? These reasons are on the agenda and today.

And now the key question: why should everyone donate in order to breathe life into a mountain of rubbish called "Ukrspyrt"?

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The state concern that has been plundered cannot make money on the market of food alcohol, so it decided to reborn at the expense of bioethanol? In Europe, any alternative fuel must be competitive. It must find its own consumer, without the help of the state. Fuel that needs constant "artificial breathing" has no future. Turning food into fuel, grain into alcohol, not bread, was a mistake, and now it is obvious. Europe departs from bioethanol, looks more and more at electricity and biofuel of the second, third generations for the production of which food crops and agricultural lands are not used.

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