The Chinese government is pushing for a nationwide use of ethanol in gasoline in the country, in an effort to minimize the worsening air pollution in its cities.
As the world’s largest car market, China’s initiative to use biofuel, known as E10 and containing 10 percent ethanol, will undoubtedly make a huge impact not only to the country but also to the rest of the planet.
While not yet announced as a formal policy, Beijing revealed that it is targeting a national roll out of the plan by 2020, marking the first time the government has set a timeline for such endeavor.
Citing state media, Reuters reported that some provinces in the country have already begun practicing a biofuel system similar to the United States and Brazil, wherein car owners are required to blend a minimum amount of biofuel into their vehicle’s fuel. Ethanol in petrol is currently being used across 11 provinces in the country, including Jilin, Liaoning and Guangxi.
Industry insiders believe that the government’s support will help the industry somehow mitigate the potential cost of ethanol for the common person.
The news, which immediately sparked a spike in share values of biofuel firms, follows a commitment made by China last year to double ethanol output by 2020. The government also recently bared its plans of placing a ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels.
While the development signals a huge blow to major oil producers, the opposite can be said about the biofuel industry, which would rely heavily on utilizing corn as an alternative source of energy.
Observers are also pointing out that China may also be gearing towards to turning its mounting agricultural waste into biofuel for cars, South China Morning Post reports.
“It will be killing two birds with one stone if China can turn one of the sources of pollution – straw stalks and farm waste – into biofuel,” energy news portal China5e chief executive Han Xiaoping was quoted as saying. “China could also reduce its dependence on oil imports with this plan in the long run.”
Experts have estimated that utilizing just merely 30 % of its straw stalks and other agricultural waste could be enough to produce 20 million tons of ethanol. Even China’s aging corn reserve, estimated at about 200 million tons, is also being seen as a potential source of ethanol for the massive undertaking.
Currently, China is still behind in its use of renewable-based fuel, despite being the third-largest ethanol producer in the world.
Feature Image via Wikimedia Commons / (CC By 2.0)