After two years of growth rates over 70% the growth in European bioethanol production increased moderately in 2007. Main reasons were high feedstock prices and historically low prices of third country originating ethanol. Total EU production was around 1.77 billion litres, a modest increase of 11.2% compared to the previous 2 years. Highest production was achieved in France (578 mio litres) where the production almost doubled (+97%). Germany (394 mio litres) and Spain (348 mio litres) follow suit.
In 7 out of 13 Member States the production went down compared to 2006 with most important decline in Sweden which halved its production to 70 million litres. In 2007 production capacity went on-stream for the first time in Slovakia (30 mio litres) and the United Kingdom (20 mio litres). No bioethanol fuel was produced in Finland, however. The total number of countries producing fuel ethanol has now increased to 13.
The EU bioethanol fuel sector was confronted in 2007, and still is, with very high cereal prices. Due to this the share of raw material in bioethanol production costs went up to a level that made production no longer profitable. A number of companies decided either to stop operating (temporarily) or delayed the start up of a new plant. Also construction of new installations were delayed and some projects were scrapped.
EU consumption of bioethanol fuel in 2007 is estimated at close to 2.7 billion litres. Fuel ethanol imports have seen a record high in 2007 with an estimated volume of almost 1 billion litres. This equals nearly 37% of total EU consumption.
The imported ethanol originated from Brazil and was consumed mainly in Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands. Brazilian ethanol was also used in much smaller volumes in Denmark and Germany.
eBIO is a non-profit European industry association under Belgium law. It is fostering bioethanol fuel production and use in the EU as well as advocating the proper legal and regulatory framework. eBIO was founded in May 2005 representing the majority of EU bioethanol fuel production and has 50 members throughout the value chain.
Source: European Bioethanol Fuel Association, 2008-04-07.