All gasoline sold in Ireland as of July 1st 2010 must include at least 4.16% of ethanol in its composition. The mandatory blend is part of the Energy Act 2010, a bill passed by the Irish Parliament to promote the use of biofuels in the country while complying progressively with the objectives set in the European Union’s Directive on Renewable Energy Sources in the transport sector.
The Directive sets as a target the replacement of 10% of fossil fuels used in the European transport sector with renewable by 2020. The Irish Draft National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) already foresees an increase in the biofuel blend to 6% in 2012.
Emmanuel Desplechin, Chief Representative of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) in the European Union (EU), believes that Brazilian sugarcane ethanol will play an important role in helping Ireland to fulfill the obligations set in the European Directive. By 2020, Ireland forecasts that 260 million liters of fuel ethanol will be consumed, of which 185 million would be imported.
“Brazilian sugarcane ethanol is ready to make a significant contribution to help Ireland achieve its targets. It’s a sustainable product, available at an affordable price, which perfectly meets the requirements established by the Irish NREAP,” said UNICA’s representative.
Besides helping meet the Directive’s targets in the long run, the 4.16% Irish blend addresses the need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and oil dependency in the short run. This represents another important advantage for sugarcane ethanol, according to Desplechin: “Brazilian ethanol is the most advanced biofuel in the world, capable of reducing greenhouse emissions by 90% compared to gasoline,” he concluded.