A new report has found that the lion’s share of new U.S. vehicles now explicitly allows E15, or a 15% ethanol blend, to be used for fuel. Nebraska drivers, meanwhile, already got that memo, and are slated to save $17 million in fuel costs this year thanks to their ethanol use. Keep reading for these stories and more in your weekly bioenergy news roundup!

Report: 80% of 2017 US vehicles now have automaker E15 approval

A report issued by the Renewable Fuels Association found that more than 80% of new 2017 model year vehicles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use 15% ethanol blends. RFA notes that the figure last year was 70%.

Hyundai Motor Company has approved the use of E15 in MY 2017 Hyundai and Kia vehicles, joining the majority of its auto competitors. And Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, which collectively represent 45% of U.S. market share, all clearly allow E15 in their vehicles. Nissan Motor Corporation remains the largest vehicle manufacturer that does not explicitly approve E15 in its vehicles.

Of note, says the report, “BMW Group’s Mini vehicles again allow the use of 25 percent ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”

Read more about the report at Biofuels Digest.


China aims to double ethanol output to 4M tons by 2020

China is aiming to produce 4 million tons of ethanol by 2020, doubling output from the current level, even as it keeps tight control over the use of food grains to make bioenergy.

The world’s largest energy consumer plans to raise the non-fossil fuel portion of primary energy consumption to 15% from 12% by the end of its current five-year plan in 2020.

But while other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar have expanded rapidly in recent years, the country has struggled to meet its targets for agricultural energy production amid concerns over food security and a lack of large-scale collection of biomass raw materials, such as corn stalks.

Learn more about the announcement, including its ambitious target for installed biomass energy capacity, at Reuters.


NE drivers to save $17 million using ethanol blended fuel in 2016

In 2016, Nebraska drivers will save approximately $17 million by using ethanol-blended gasoline. The savings is based on lower prices for ethanol compared to wholesale gasoline and the state’s projected spark-ignition fuel consumption of 900 million gallons.

Between August 2015 and August 2016, the cost of wholesale ethanol averaged 18 cents per gallon less than the minimum octane gasoline allowed to be sold in most of the U.S.

“Higher octane fuel reduces ‘engine knocking’ and provides better vehicle performance,” noted Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller. “Adding ethanol to boost octane reduces the toxicity of gasoline. It’s a win-win for consumers and the environment.”

Nebraska is the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol with 25 plants producing a combined capacity approaching 2.5 billion gallons annually. The ethanol industry has a $5 billion annual economic impact in the state.

Get the full story at ForeignAffairs.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.