Any plans by the EU to phase out support for conventional ethanol will cost European cereal and beet farmers at least EUR 2.1 billion (USD 2.3bn) in annual revenues, sector organisations are warning.

In a joint letter to the European Commission (EC), four associations voiced concern last week about the EU strategy for low-emission mobility, which says that the EC is considering a gradual phase-out of support for conventional biofuels made from crops such as corn, wheat, sugar beet and oilseed rape.

“The Commission’s suggestion to phase out after 2020 perfectly sustainable conventional biofuels, such as European ethanol, is neither justified nor a solution and will kill a market worth billions of euro to our financially struggling farmers,” said Robert Wright, secretary-general of the European renewable ethanol producers association (ePURE).

According to the announcement, 99.7% of the crops and feedstock used to produce ethanol in Europe last year were sourced from European cereal and beet farmers, which earned at least EUR 2.1 billion in revenue. In 2015, European companies produced 4.5 billion litres of ethanol fuel.

The letter was issued on the occasion of the World Ethanol and Biofuels conference in Brussels.

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