ROC vehicles will use E3 ethanol gas

TRIAL: In an effort to combat high crude-oil prices and to diversify fuel supplies, Taiwan will use gas that is composed of 97 percent gasoline and 3 percent ethanol

AGENCIES WITH STAFF WRITER , TAIPEI

Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 11

Government vehicles in Taipei City will switch to using E3 ethanol gasoline within this year on a trial basis, officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said on Thursday.

They said the ethanol gasoline will be supplied to these vehicles at specific state-owned CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油) gas stations.

By 2009, the ethanol gasoline will be available in several other major cities in Taiwan, and filling stations all around the island will make available both normal and ethanol gasoline by 2011, according to the MOEA.

The government is following the lead of the US, Brazil and Europe in encouraging usage of ethanol fuel to combat high crude-oil prices, diversify fuel supplies and lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

E3 ethanol gasoline is composed of 97 percent gasoline and 3 percent ethanol. Countries of the EU have been using E85 ethanol gasoline, while E93 has been introduced on the market in Brazil.

Although ethanol mixed fuels can help reduce dependency on fossil fuels and diminish emissions of greenhouse gases, MOEA officials noted that ethanol can erode fuel tanks and limit driving performance -- factors which can only be offset by future improvements.

Citing a previous survey, MOEA officials said that 1.17 million cars, or 80 percent of all cars made after 2001, are adaptive to ethanol gasoline. However, cars made before 2001 must be tested to determine whether they can use ethanol-blended fuels.

The ministry's E3 ethanol gasoline plan arrives at a time when ethanol demand worldwide is growing as governments and consumers seek ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in the fight against global warming and oil dependency.

Taiwan imports nearly 98 percent of its energy and a businessman warned earlier this month that such a heavy dependency forms a grave energy security concern to the nation.

Demonstration

In a live demonstration of a car that runs on ethanol earlier this month, Winston Wang (王文洋), chief executive officer of Grace T.H.W. Group (宏仁集團), said that Taiwan should collaborate with its diplomatic allies in Latin America to plant sugar cane for ethanol production there, and then ship them back to Taiwan for domestic uses.

Wang, also a son of the Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) patriarch Wang Yung-ching (王永慶), made the remark at an international conference on the development of renewable energy on Feb. 1.

He estimated that ethanol could replace around 25 percent of gasoline usage in this country, the Chinese-language Liberty Times, sister paper to the Taipei Times, quoted him as saying.

The nation's energy consumption last year climbed 1.8 percent to the equivalent of 109.75 million kiloliters (690.3 million barrels) of oil, the Bureau of Energy said on Feb. 14.

According to the energy bureau's tallies, petroleum accounted for 51 percent of energy supply last year.