Ethanol could cut EU emissions, study says

Air pollution in Europe is best described with one word: deadly. About 90 percent of Europeans live in areas with dangerous air pollution levels, according to the European Environment Agency. The agency’s executive director, Hans Bruyninckx, said:

Air pollution is causing damage to human health and ecosystems. Large parts of the population do not live in a healthy environment, according to current standards. To get on to a sustainable path, Europe will have to be ambitious and go beyond current legislation.

With a dire need to improve air quality, the European Union has moved forward with a plan to cut emission levels by 40 percent by 2030. Of this 40 percent cut, between 12 to 20 percent must come from the transportation sector, one of the biggest sources of pollution in Europe. So how can the continent cut emissions in the transportation sector by such a drastic amount?

One new study says ethanol is the answer: New research by Ricardo Energy & Environment, commissioned by ePure (a trade association representing European ethanol producers), found that increasing ethanol use could reduce emissions by 14 percent. The study also examined other biofuels and found that ethanol had the greatest potential to decrease deadly pollution levels. Based on these findings, Ricardo Energy & Environment concluded that the optimal path to reaching emissions goals in Europe was to expand the use of high-octane E20 vehicles. The secretary general of ePure, Robert Wright, said:

This study shows that ethanol’s climate benefits can be further enhanced through the use of higher ethanol blends. E20 fuel is a win-win for Europe’s climate because it significantly reduces emissions and its high-octane content increases engine efficiency resulting in less fuel consumption.

By incorporating higher ethanol blends into the European transportation sector, perhaps the EU can reach their 2030 emission goals. And even better, perhaps the United States will follow suit and encourage widespread adoption of ethanol at the pump.

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