1.1 Market overview and definition
Bioethanol is a renewable, liquid fuel for gasoline engines, produced from biomass, i.e. plant matter. There are different types of bioethanol, depending on the raw material used: corn, beet, rapeseed... There are also different generations of bioethanol, with the first generation using raw materials that are also used for human consumption, thus competing with our vital needs. The current challenge is to develop the 2ᵉ and 3ᵉ generations of bioethanol in order to resolve this conflict of use.
Bioethanol is overwhelmingly used as a fuel, blended into gasoline with fossil fuels. There are three types of fuel using bioethanol on the French market:
- sP98 and SP95 containing up to 5% bioethanol, for petrol and flex-fuel cars;
- sP95-E10 containing 10% bioethanol, for petrol and flex-fuel vehicles;
- superethanol-E85 (or simply E85), containing 65% to 85% bioethanol, for flexible-fuel cars only.
Global bioethanol production is on an upward trend, and the market is valued at $83.4 billion in 2023. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% until 2028. The world's leading producers are the United States, Brazil and Germany. Global production is set to rise sharply over the next few years, as government regulators set ever-higher incorporation rates in fuels for sale on the market. At the same time, demand for ethanol is driven by technological advances and increased research. The lower production costs of these energy sources should lead to increased consumption.
France, a 4ᵉ world producer, is a major European player. It is the main supplier of the raw materials used in bioethanol production, but also relies heavily on imports, particularly from European countries. Most of its production is destined for domestic consumption, and bioethanol-based fuels are becoming increasingly popular, as in the case of SP95-E10, which accounted for 56% of petrol consumed in France in 2022.
The bioethanol sector is therefore set to expand significantly in the years ahead, and the growing popularity of "Flex Fuel" vehicles and bioethanol kits, making conventional vehicles compatible with new fuels such as E85, are further growth factors to be taken into account.
1.2 The global bioethanol market
The global bioethanol market is estimated at $**.* billion in ****, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of *.*% to ****.
Global bioethanol market size World, **** - ****, in $ billions Source: ****
Against a backdrop of depleting energy resources and the promotion of renewable energies, notably through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals(***), the biofuels ...
1.3 The French bioethanol market
It's extremely difficult to calculate the size of the bioethanol market in France. This is because ethanol is incorporated into a variety of fuels sold at different prices, and is produced from many different raw materials, the most widely used of which is corn.
Breakdown of raw materials used in ethanol ...
1.4 Significant imports
France consumes most of the bioethanol it produces, and its export balance varies from year to year, being positive in **** but negative in ****.
Volume of bioethanol consumed and export balance France, **** - ****, in thousands of hL Source: ****
In ****, domestic consumption of bioethanol, whether produced locally or imported and sourced from local ...
2.1 Bioethanol, increasingly present in French fuels
Bioethanol is used in France in blends with commercial gasolines, notably in SP**-E* (***).
ETBE (***) is a chemical compound produced from bioethanol and isobutene. It is designed to be incorporated into commercial gasolines up to a maximum :
ETBE (***) has historically been the preferred method for incorporating ethanol into gasoline, ...
2.2 Bioethanol-based gasolines, a fast-growing consumer segment
SP**-E**, also known as "E**" (***), accounted for **% of total gasoline consumption, up from **.*% in ****. By December ****, this figure had risen to **.*%, with SP**-E** recording a slight increase in fuel consumption of between *% and *% over SP**. However, its price per liter is a few euro cents lower[***].
Market share of ...
2.3 A conflict over the use of raw materials
The bioethanol industry systematically supplies two markets from its agricultural production: the food and feed markets (***) or beet, systematically generates animal feed. Indeed, each kilo of bioethanol produces an average of * kg of protein-rich feed. More precisely :
* kg of cereals yield * kg of ethanol, * kg of spent grain (***) and * kg ...
2.4 Demand driven by Flex Fuel engines and bioethanol kits
Many vehicles are not originally compatible with the use of bioethanol as a fuel. Today, however, there's a solution - the bioethanol kit- that makes these vehicles compatible with these new fuels.
Vehicles fitted with "Flex Fuel" engines are those that are directly compatible with bioethanol, so bioethanol kits are not ...
3.1 Value chain
The value chain above summarizes the main methods used to produce bioethanol, right up to its incorporation into gasoline. Corn, wheat and beet are in fact the three main raw materials used in making bioethanol (***). There are other techniques for producing bioethanol, and there is a wide variety of players ...
3.2 How the biofuel industry works
As bioethanol is a product of the biofuels sector, we're going to detail the different segments of this sector and the professions encountered within it.
TheInterprofession des huiles et protéines végétales(***), founded in ****, represents the vegetable oil and protein sector. Its aim is to promote sustainable agriculture that ...
3.3 Overview of the bioethanol sector
The main mission of the Collective du bioéthanol, an organization represented by theAssociation Interprofessionnelle de la Betterave et du Sucre(***), is to disseminate information about the bioethanol industry. This mission is aimed not only at professionals in the sector, but also at the general public[***].
France is structured around large ...
3.4 The gasoline sector in France
In ****, sales of road fuels reached **.* million m*, an increase of *.*% on the previous year 's figure of **.* million m*.the share of petrol in this total increased from **.*% in **** to **.*% in ****. This increase of almost *% underlines a slight growth in the use of gasoline, to the detriment of diesel, in ...
4.1 The different generations of bioethanol
Bioethanol is one of the biofuels produced from biomass, which includes raw materials of plant, animal or waste origin. Biofuels, derived from biomass, are used for energy in transport and heating. Mainly used as additives to fossil fuels, they are divided into three generations based on biomass origin and transformation processes. ...
4.2 Advantages and disadvantages of bioethanol
The use of biofuels blended with traditional fuels in the transport sector aims to meet several challenges:
reducing greenhouse gas emissions : the CO* emitted when bioethanol is burned in engines is of atmospheric origin, captured and absorbed by plants as they grow. Moreover, bioethanol does not emit particles during combustion[***]; anticipate ...
4.3 Bioethanol, an economical fuel
The bioethanol sector has certainly seen an increase in agricultural costs and energy prices, particularly gas. However, despite these increases, superethanol E** maintains its main advantage: its pump price remains competitive with other fuels. The table below illustrates this, with average prices for a full tank in October ****:
E** is ...
5. Current regulations
France's Energy Transition Law for Green Growth, enacted on August **, ****, sets ambitious goals for reducing the use of fossil fuels. It provides for an increase in the proportion of renewable energies, particularly advanced biofuels, in road and air transport, in order to achieve these goals. This measure also contributes to the ...
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