Future energy supplies are threatened. The extraction of oil has peaked and will decline. In addition, its use has begun to affect the global climate.
Ethanol is the oldest, by far the largest and the fastest growing biofuel in the world, a realistic alternative to much of the fossil oil. In terms of volume, ethanol is the largest biofuel in the world and accounts for about 90 percent of global consumption.
SEKAB imports, produces, refines and sells ethanol as fuel. ED95 is a renewable fuel developed for diesel engines. It is based on bioethanol and is already a well established green alternative for goods transport. Around the country buses and lorries are today run on ED95 by both large and small companies.
You can fill up with E85 in more than 1,500 locations in Sweden, and filling stations are becoming increasingly common in Europe and the USA. Sweden’s distribution system for E85 is unique in Europe; no other country has carried out such large and consistent efforts to make biofuels available to everyone.
Ethanol – a climate friendly fuel
There is one simple rule for all biofuels – if you produce it in a good way, you get a good product. The production process from field to tank must be sustainable at all levels to get the maximum climate benefits.
Ethanol is most often produced from sugar and starchy crops such as sugar cane, sugar beet and wheat. In Sweden, we mainly use ethanol from Brazil and made from sugar cane. It achieves proven high climate impacts and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 95 percent compared to petrol.
At the same time it is important to not put too much emphasis on ethanol’s land of origin. There is poor ethanol from Brazil and there is good ethanol from the USA. Throughout the world there is an aspiration towards more sustainable production. We should not limit ourselves to ethanol from certain countries, it is important is that it meets the sustainability requirements.
SEKAB is aiming to build a full-scale plant for the production of second-generation ethanol made from cellulose within a few years time. The cellulose comes from waste products from agriculture and forestry, which means that the ethanol has very good climate characteristics. The raw material is almost endless and can be co-produced together with foodstuffs.
More raw materials and more sources of energy
Petrol and diesel fuels are used in such huge quantities that no biofuels alone will be able to replace them. Consequently, the vehicle fleet of the future will be sustained by several different types of fuel – ethanol, electricity, biodiesels and biogas.
The production of ethanol is expected to be greater. By using more raw materials and better utilising old ones, we can produce even greater volumes while maintaining climatic effects.
How we use raw materials to better effect
Plants consist mainly of cellulose, which has so far been left over in ethanol production. Consequently, research is taking place worldwide into methods of producing ethanol from cellulose. SEKAB E-technology is considered to be among the top four companies in the world in this field.
SEKAB E-Technology has, together with researchers from several Swedish universities, developed a method of producing ethanol from cellulose. This makes it possible to use waste products from forestry and agriculture, such as wood chips and sugarcane bagasse, for ethanol production.
The production of ethanol from cheap raw materials available in large quantities and which do not compete with food production is an important step in the development of large scale ethanol production and in breaking the transport sector’s dependence on oil.
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