Queensland considers ethanol mandate

By Erin Voegele | June 16, 2015

The government of Queensland, Australia, has announced plans to implement a 2 percent ethanol mandate, beginning in July 2016.  A similar mandate is planned for biodiesel, however additional stakeholder consultation will be needed to determine an exact percentage.

Information published by the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply indicates the ethanol mandate would aim to drive investment and development of the biofuel industry in Queensland, which would contribute to regional economic growth and job creation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It would also lead to the development advanced biofuel production technologies.

A discussion paper published by the department explains the Queensland government plan to introduce a bill that includes a phase-in of ethanol blended fuel. The government is considering a mandate that begins with 2 percent ethanol. The mandate could be increased after two years, subject to the outcome of a Productivity Commission review.

The paper notes that Queensland currently has two operating ethanol plants and one biodiesel production facility. An additional three proposed ethanol plants are in various stages of development.

While E10 has been available in Queensland for more than a decade, the discussion paper explains that that E10 comprised only 10 percent of total gasoline sales in 2013-’14. In addition, the use of E10 has been declining in recent years due to policy uncertainty, declining availability of E10 pumps and consumer preference for regular unleaded.

With regard to biodiesel, the paper notes that B5 blends are common, although consumers may not be aware they are purchasing B5 because it is not labeled as a biofuel blend.

A full copy of the discussion paper can be downloaded from the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply website. Public comments are being accepted through July 3.