Ethanol is a renewable non-fossil fuel. It’s made using byproducts from the sugar industry, or from grains like wheat, sorghum or corn. As part of the UK government’s commitment to energy sustainability and emissions reduction, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) Order regulates biofuels use for transport and non-road mobile machinery.
In accordance with this Order, “major suppliers of fossil fuels” are required to ensure that a specified percentage of the road fuels they supply in the UK is made up of renewable fuels from sustainable sources.
“Major suppliers of fossil fuels” are those that supply at least 450,000 litres of fuel a year, which includes Shell. (For the latest information on RTFO targets and European fuel specification requirements, please refer to the Department for Transport’s website.)
The RFTO target is typically met through the use of bio-derived ethanol in petrol and Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) in diesel, which are blended into Shell’s UK fuel products in compliance with current UK fuels specifications (up to 5% ethanol in petrol and up to 7% FAME in diesel fuel). This means that, in the UK, Shell regular unleaded and Shell V-Power unleaded are likely to contain some ethanol, but it will not be present at more than 5% (in accordance with current UK specification requirements).