An innovative method for converting biowaste into ethanol developed by the Finnish energy company St1 is helping car owners to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by their vehicles. The ethanol used in St1’s petrol is made from the biowaste produced by the food industry, domestic households and shops.
When the raw material consists of waste, the lifetime emissions of the end product are practically non-existent, according to Jari Suominen, managing director of St1. He believes that the global market potential for commercialising the technology is excellent.
Starting this year, Finland increased the ethanol content of ordinary petrol to 10% when the E10 petrol replaced the 95E petrol. In comparison, St1’s RE85 fuel already has an ethanol content of 70-85%, reducing emissions by as much as 80%.
According to St1, the use of the RE85 fuel is set to increase along with the popularity of flexifuel car models, which are currently offered by several car manufacturers and attracting good initial sales. St1 is responding to increasing demand by expanding the distribution network for RE85 from the Helsinki metropolitan region to the rest of Finland. Finland’s Ministry for Employment and the Economy is proposing to raise the share of biofuel of all fuel from the present legal minimum of 5.75% to 20% by the year 2020.
St1’s is also launching a pilot project for ethanol diesel, which aims to offer biowaste ethanol as a realistic alternative for urban transport use, public transport, waste and freight transport, as well as private car use. The company is also developing new solutions for utilising packing waste produced by domestic households, shops and industry.