Taiwan Institute of Economic Research introduced the benefits of ethanol-infused fuel to the nation’s drivers in Rende Township, Tainan City, Oct. 4.
TIER, subcontracted by the National Science Council to conduct a project on the development of biofuels, last year began to produce ethanol from agricultural waste products such as bagasse and rice straw, Tso Chun-to, head of the institute’s Research Division I, told a news conference at a Taiwan Sugar Corp. gas station.
To date 134,000 liters have been produced, and 95E3 ethanol-infused fuel has been available at the station on a trial basis since June, he added.
95E3 fuel is a blend of 3 percent ethanol and 97 percent unleaded 95 octane gas. At the pump it is NT$3.5 (US$0.1) cheaper per liter than regular unleaded 95, according to Tso.
The ethanol oxygenates the mixture, allowing the fuel to burn more completely and thus produce cleaner emissions, reducing greenhouse gases, TIER said. The goal is to increase the proportion of ethanol to 10 percent after five years.
Taxi drivers who have been using the fuel said vehicle performance is not affected, mileage is better and most importantly, they save money.
Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-de said he would work to have an ethanol plant established in the municipality. “Tainan has a vigorous sugar industry and a lot of fallow farmland,” he noted. “Setting up a factory here would help revitalize the economy in rural areas and encourage young people to return home.”
Tso estimated that if sugarcane were grown on 210,000 hectares of fallow land nationwide and 1.5 million metric tons of rice straw could be generated from 220,000 hectares of paddies, 1 million kiloliters of ethanol could be produced.
“This would reduce gasoline consumption on the island by 10 percent and create more than 10,000 jobs,” he said. (HSJ-THN)