Ethanol is Embraced Beyond US Borders

FROM THE MAY ISSUE: Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor focuses on worldwide ethanol demand and acceptance in this month's column.
By Emily Skor | April 23, 2018

The international landscape for ethanol continues to be a source of great opportunity for Growth Energy and its members. American ethanol is powering drivers across the U.S. with high-octane biofuel that keeps our air clean and our engines running smoothly. And now, more than ever, the benefits of ethanol are embraced beyond our borders and throughout the global marketplace. When considered alongside the strides that have been made in growing demand for higher ethanol blends domestically, the future is undoubtedly bright for ethanol. Last year alone, our industry exported 1.37 billion gallons—a new record for global exports—of American ethanol to countries all over the world, including Brazil, Canada and India.

We are proud that Growth Energy members continue to lead global market development. Mark Marquis, CEO of Marquis Energy and Growth Energy board member, chairs the Growth Energy Global Markets Committee that collaborates with both industry stakeholders and government officials to ensure a clear path forward on international growth for biofuels. Growth Energy participated in 19 foreign trade missions, co-sponsored the first-ever Ethanol Summit of the Americas, attended the United Nations Climate Conference, and provided regulatory comments and testimony in a handful of countries. These efforts are part of an ongoing process to both educate foreign governments on the benefits of ethanol and to grow demand for the fuel in those markets. Our work alongside the greater biofuels industry has paid off with a solid framework upon which we can grow ethanol demand abroad.

Growth Energy has been closely engaged with Mexico in the development of the country’s new fuel standards, and the Mexican government recently approved E10 for most of the country, a sure sign for optimism. We continue to work with Mexican officials to see that E10 approval is extended to its largest cities as well. Meanwhile, our Canadian neighbors to the north are in the process of updating their fuel regulations, and we are encouraging them to follow the lead of Ontario and allow higher blends like E15 and E85 to lead the way toward their climate goals. And, Growth Energy and industry stakeholders have maintained an open dialogue with the Brazilian government and local ethanol industry representatives to make headway on removing the country’s tariff rate quota (TRQ) that places tariffs on imported ethanol from the U.S. beyond a 600-million-liter per year threshold. Even with the TRQ in place, Brazil continues to be the strongest export market.

On the other side of the globe, Asia represents substantial potential for increased ethanol exports. To that end, Growth Energy and other industry leaders will host a new initiative—the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific—to further discuss how to make more of an impact in the burgeoning Asian ethanol market. Though the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific is a new program, the groundwork for market expansion has already been laid in Asia. Growth Energy has focused on working with China, India and Japan—high growth markets with large populations and a desire for cleaner fuel—to consider ways to integrate ethanol into their respective fuel supplies. China is currently considering a move to E10 by 2020 that would be an enormous boost to global ethanol demand. India is already one of our largest export markets for industrial ethanol with even more room to grow fuel ethanol demand, and Japan is in the process of implementing new energy policies that may open its market to U.S. ethanol in the form of Ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) that it commonly uses. And, while the Philippines doesn’t have the growth potential of the aforementioned Asian nations, it remains a strong, solid export market.

Growth Energy is at the forefront of growing ethanol demand for its members and the U.S. biofuels industry at large. Exploring and cultivating growth opportunities around the world is a critical part of that mission. Our emphasis on industry coordination, carefully considered policies, and international cooperation has set the stage for the continued success of ethanol abroad. Ethanol is a staple of the U.S. transportation fuel supply, and we look forward to working with our members and the rest of the ethanol industry to make that the case around the world as well.

Author: Emily Skor
CEO, Growth Energy