Syndicat National des Producteurs d'Alcool Agricole


What is bioethanol?

“Bioethanol is a biofuel produced in France from cereal crops (such as wheat or corn) and sugar beet, for petrol-powered vehicles. It is ethanol produced from biomass. It is also the most popular biofuel worldwide.

This biofuel is obtained via industrial fermentation to convert vegetable sugar or starch into alcohol. This raw alcohol is then distilled and dehydrated to produce bioethanol. Elsewhere in the world, bioethanol can be obtained from other plant crops such as cane sugar.”



Bioethanol is incorporated into fuel to reduce pollution. Two methods are currently used in France:

  • Direct blending

Up to 10% pure ethanol can be incorporated straight into petrol without entailing any modification of the vehicle’s engine, storage facilities, haulage and distribution of petrol. This ethanol content enhances petrol combustion by increasing the blend’s octane rating. With direct blending, the environmental benefits of bioethanol can be shared immediately and on a wide scale. In fact French vehicles are already running on ethanol since up to 5% is incorporated into SP95 petrol.

  • ETBE (Ethyl Tertio Butyl Ether)

ETBE is the result of the chemical reaction caused by mixing bioethanol (47% in volume) and isobutylene (53% in volume). Isobutylene is a petroleum base produced by refineries and in the chemical industry. Up to 15% ETBE is incorporated into SP95 petrol. ETBE has been spearheading the use of ethanol in petrol since 1992.

So, bioethanol is already a component in all types of petrol!

The following French fuels containing bioethanol are available in petrol stations:

SP 95 – E10

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Superéthanol E85

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