Gov’t Considers Increasing Ethanol Blend in Petrol

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government is contemplating an increase in the percentage of ethanol used in petrol, in order to reduce emissions in the environment.

“We’re not there just yet (but) I have asked my team at the Ministry and at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to see how best we can increase it,” he said, at the launch of Total Jamaica’s Excellium fuel at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on May 16.

Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that can be produced from common crops such as corn, sugar cane, potato, cassava and hemp.

Ethanol use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 per cent in comparison to gasoline, and keeps harmful chemicals like petroleum additive, MTBE, out of the air.

Currently, service stations across the island offer E10 fuel, which is a blend of 10 per cent ethanol from sugar cane in both 90 and 87 octane gas.

Dr. Wheatley said that many other countries around the world are offering a 15 per cent ethanol blend.

He noted that increasing the percentage of ethanol content in the local fuel blend “will lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint and (will) not interfere with the overall performance of the motor vehicle”.

President of the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association (JGRA), Phillip Chong, told JIS News that he would welcome the move by the Government.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It would be an attempt to keep the rising (fuel prices) down. As the price of fuel increases, we have to get a bit more innovative in finding ways to reduce cost. Ethanol was originally introduced on that premise and leaves a better footprint where the ecology is concerned,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wheatley and French Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Jean-Michel Despax, who was also in attendance, lauded Total for introducing Excellium to Jamaica.

Total’s Excellium is a new generation of high-tech fuel optimised with specific detergent additives to clean and provide lasting protection to the engine’s vital components, resulting in up to 93 per cent less build-up for diesel engines and up to 99 per cent less for gasolene engines.

The result is improved efficiency in fuel use and fewer polluting emissions in the environment.

Excellium will be available in unleaded 90 gasolene and ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) at all 57 Total service stations across Jamaica.

Total’s Managing Director, David Ducognon, said the introduction of Excellium to Jamaica is in keeping with the company’s commitment to improving energy efficiency and utilising more renewable sources.

Mr. Ducognon advised that his company will increase its use of electricity from renewable energy sources by five gigawatts within five years by leveraging the expertise of its subsidiaries – SunPower, Total Solar and Total Eren.

“In Jamaica, we are committed to having solar panels in at least 90 per cent of our service stations by the end of 2021. Of course, this requires significant investments in our service stations over the next three years, but we are proud to demonstrate the commitment of the Total Group towards better energy sources in Jamaica,” he said.

The Total Foundation has worked with local partners, including the University of the West Indies, the Road Safety Unit and National Road Safety Council towards promoting environmental stewardship and road safety, among other things.

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