It’s an interesting observation. Is the use of biomass for vehicle fuel the best resource use? Or also to reduce greenhouse emissions in the transport industry?
The alternative might be to use the ethanol as fuel for combined cycle electric power generation at between 55% and 60% efficiency, rather than burn it in a motor vehicle at 25% efficiency. It produces a greater carbon reduction as an offset against coal as a fuel than as a replacement for petrol or LPG etc. The other option is the use as a renewable fuel for aviation which remains hydrocarbon dependent.
Does this mean cheaper electricity or air travel? Probably not as the natural gas now in use is a cheaper fuel for electric power generation, and aviation fuel might require an upgrade of the ethanol production to a more energy dense fuel to achieve the same overall performance and range as modern Jet-A.
What ever the direction with a five year lead time to maturity of the crop, it would need to scale up rapidly to be a significant energy source. Per the ABS 9309.0 in Jan 2018 there were 19.2M registered vehicles on the roads with 75% petrol powered (approx 14.2M).
The scale of what is needed whether the ethanol went to blended E10 or elsewhere is dramatic. It would take a total of 68 similar projects to power the whole of the Aussie petrol fleet with local E10. Take it further to an e85 blend which can have a higher octane RON 107. That’s 740 similar sized projects or more if you discount ethanol is approx 26% of the energy content compared to petrol. Interesting car options too as it works in a V8 Bathurst car?
Not sure if the larger tank size needed will catch on for 2 wheeled enthusiasts?