Legislation: drivers for change of the fuel ether market

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Future developments in the ether market are inextricably linked to developments in the gasoline market. In Europe the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) and Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC) will be the main drivers for changes in fuel composition for the foreseeable future.

Both directives encourage the use of bio components such as ETBE and ethanol in gasoline.

Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)

In the 1990s the EU recognised that the correct fuel quality was an integral part of achieving lower vehicle emissions standards.  Thus a systematic pan-European approach to regulating automotive emissions and fuel quality to meet air quality targets was developed. The fuel quality directive 98/70/EC which came into force from 2000 was the first to require all EU countries to use completely lead free gasoline. 

The purpose of the FQD is to deliver cleaner fuels to enable the use of more environmentally friendly vehicles to meet air quality and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The FQD requires Member States to ensure fuel suppliers reduce the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy from fuel and energy supplied by a minimum of 6 % by 31 December 2020.

The FQD allows ethanol to be blended up to a maximum of 10 vol% whilst for ETBE the limit is 22 vol%. These are equivalent to the 3.7 wt% oxygen limit. 

Bio-ethers have been shown to provide additional greenhouse gas savings compared to the ethanol used in their production. This feature is expected to be of increasing interest to fuel producers going forward.

Renewable Energy Directive (RED)

The RED contains a mandatory requirement that by 2020 at least 10 % of the final consumption of energy in all forms of transport in every Member State comes from a renewable source. 

Further reading
Legislation: RVP Waiver
Ether Markets: Future Developments
Ether Market Drivers

Library section for pieces of European and National Legislation