Report: Ethanol production in Argentina forecast up in 2021

By Erin Voegele | October 11, 2021

Ethanol production in Argentina continues to suffer from the negative market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report filed by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network.

The GAIN report identifies reduced fuel demand, a prolonged domestic recession, and recent policy changes as factors limiting Argentine ethanol production this year. Production and use, however, are expected to partially rebound from last year’s COVID-19-related lows. 

Fuel ethanol consumption in Argentina is expected to reach 980 million liters (258.89 million gallons) this year, up 28 percent when compared to last year.

According to the GAIN report, a recently passed biofuels law sets a minimum blend rate of 12 percent for the country. The law, however, also allows the energy secretariat to reduce the blend rate to as low as 9 percent.

There are currently 22 fuel ethanol plants in Argentina, with a combined nameplate capacity of 1.64 billion gallons, up from 1.56 billion gallons in 2020. Capacity use is expected to reach 59.8 percent this year, up from 52 percent in 2020.

Molasses is currently the primary fuel ethanol feedstock used in the country, with 1.91 million metric tons expected to be consumed this year. An additional 1.225 million metric tons of corn is expected to go to fuel ethanol production in 2021.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website