Fuel shortage in Ukraine continues. In such conditions, drivers are forced to fill the tank with what is at the gas station.
Against the background of the fuel crisis, which has been going on for the second month, at gas stations you can increasingly find biofuel, or, as it is also called, “alcohol gasoline”, writes Auto24. What is wrong with it and is it safe to pour it into a car tank?
A mixture of gasoline and alcohol
Biofuel is a kind of “mixture” of traditional fuel and bioethanol, in other words, alcohol obtained from plant components, such as corn. Therefore, this type of fuel is also called “alcohol” gasoline. If non-plant products are used as raw materials for the production of alcohol, the ethanol obtained from it cannot use the prefix “bio”.
This type of fuel has become an alternative for cars in some countries of the world, and Brazil is considered its main producer and consumer in the world. Biofuels save oil for the production of traditional gasoline, and are also considered more environmentally friendly, since they have fewer chemical compounds that enter the atmosphere through emissions from the exhaust pipe.
True, in general, the share of biofuels in global fuel consumption is still negligible and ranges from 3 to 4%.
Biofuels in Ukraine – help in crisis
Potentially, Ukraine has huge opportunities for the production of biofuels, since, being one of major cereal producers in the world, has a large amount of raw materials from which bioethanol can be produced.
Biofuel in Ukraine, according to the Institute of Consumer Expertise, in 2021 was traded by 4 filling station networks – BRSM-Neft, Avias, Motto and regional BVS. Interestingly, although “alcohol” gasoline before the war cost 4 – 5 hryvnia per 1 liter cheaper than usual (due to the difference in excise taxes), they were not very willing to buy it.
With the outbreak of hostilities and the formation of a shortage, the difference in price significantly decreased, for example, in the network of gas stations “BRSM-Neft”, perhaps the largest seller of biofuels, traditional A95euroPlus brand gasoline costs UAH 51.99, and A95 Bio brand costs UAH 50.99.< /p>
“At the moment, biofuels are rather an alternative to the missing traditional gasolines. Fortunately, our network has the ability to produce biofuels – when 32% anhydrous ethyl alcohol is added to A95 factory gasoline, which even improves its quality. In addition, since bioethanol is made from Ukrainian raw materials, thus we become even less energy dependent,” said Oleksandr Melnichuk, director of marketing and innovation at BRSM-Neft.
The cautious attitude towards biofuel in Ukraine was expressed by the director Consulting group “A-95” Sergey Kuyun. “Biofuel production is very specific and involves strict adherence to technology and quality control, which is not expected in Ukrainian realities,” the expert believes.
Alcohol gasoline – pros and cons
In general, the issue of using biofuels has a lot of its supporters and opponents, and each given category has its pros and cons.
The list of pros of biofuels usually includes:
< p>– environmental friendliness – the use of bioethanol from plant elements of the mixture allows to reduce the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere; – renewability – since bioethanol is produced from components grown on the ground, its production allows you to save oil, the formation of which on earth is much slower, and the reserves are limited; – cost savings – in general, biofuel is cheaper than traditional gasoline, although in Ukraine this difference has almost disappeared since the beginning of the war, in addition, this allows saving money when purchasing traditional oil products for import-dependent countries.
The list of cons is small:
– higher fuel consumption compared to traditional gasoline; – the washing properties of alcohol are higher than those of ordinary gasoline. Therefore, all deposits from the tank and other parts of the fuel system are washed away, which leads to rapid clogging of the fuel filters and sometimes to the breakdown of the fuel pump.
As for the harmfulness to the engine, according to bioethanol fans, if the technology is observed, this danger is not in fact, it is greatly exaggerated.
“Alcohol remains an aggressive substance in any case, even with the use of various additives, in addition, this fuel tends to“ decay ”over time, and then the car is already deteriorating. That is, if fuel is not bought at gas stations for a long time and it has lost its properties, the car owner who refueled with it may suffer,” Sergey Kuyun notes.