China intends to introduce a 10% mandate for ethanol use in petrol by 2020 in an attempt to cut down its massive corn stockpiles and reduce pollution.

Although mandates requiring biofuel to be blended already existed at a provincial level, this was the first time China was pushing for a targeted timeline of a national ethanol rollout, Reuters wrote on 13 September.

Currently, China’s estimated corn reserve was around 200M tonnes – much of which was rapidly ageing in silos – as a result of a now discontinued stockpiling effort aimed at supporting domestic farmers.

“Experts have proposed expanding production and consumption of ethanol to balance grain supply and demand and efficiently dispose of surplus grains,” an unnamed National Energy Administration official was quoted as saying by Reuters.

At the end of last year, the Chinese government said that by 2020, it wanted to double its ethanol output from the current 2.1M tonnes/year, which would make it the world’s third largest ethanol producer, although still far behind Brazil and the USA.

According to Chinese state media, the government wanted to build an ethanol production base in the country’s corn-producing northeast.

China’s current consumption of renewable fuels was reported at 3M tonnes in 2016, which translated to less than 1% of its total fuel use and placed it far behind most of other developed countries, according to Reuters.

The news agency reported that the government also wanted to establish large-scale domestic cellulosic biofuel production by 2025 and had begun a probe into the possible banning of the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels in the future.