Participants from 60 countries gather for Global Ethanol Summit

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Industry and government officials from 60 countries met with U.S. officials in the nation’s capital recently at the Global Ethanol Summit to learn about changing biofuels policies in countries around the world and prospects for expanded global ethanol use.

“The number of countries with ethanol policies on the books has grown exponentially in the last 18 months, and ethanol trade around the world remains strong, showing the level of commitment these countries have to reaping the benefits of this biofuel,” said Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president and CEO. “The Council is proud to bring this group together in Washington, D.C.”

This Summit, sponsored by the Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), featured high-level government and industry officials from Algeria to Vietnam, who are working together to expand the global use of ethanol by developing policies with a role for trade.

Building on the success and momentum of 2017’s Ethanol Summit of the Americas and 2018’s Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific events, the Global Ethanol Summit capitalized on potential markets around the world as demand increases for higher-level biofuels policies – including decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving clean air quality. The Council and its partners are working in all of these countries to highlight ethanol’s benefits and address constraints to expanding ethanol’s use.

“The Summit highlights policy conversations going on in governments around the world, scientific rationale for the increased use of ethanol and market development opportunities for U.S. ethanol,” LeGrand said. “The benefits of ethanol use provide common ground for countries to collaborate as they seek to meet their societal goals.”

The Summit also allowed senior-level officials from agriculture, environmental and energy ministries from around the world to discuss ecological, human health and economic benefits of ethanol use with industry leaders, while fostering collaboration and trade.

The U.S. ethanol industry’s efforts, including conferences like the Summit, establish the United States as the resource for experience in developing an ethanol industry and as a trading partner.

The United States exported 6.1 billion liters (1.62 billion gallons, or 609 million bushels in corn equivalent) of ethanol in 2018, valued at $2.7 billion. According to USGC analysis of USDA data, the volume of U.S. ethanol exports grew by 18 percent per year over the last five years, making ethanol the fastest growing U.S. agricultural export.