Annual EU report projects increased ethanol production

By Erin Voegele | August 23, 2013

The European Union recently published its annual biofuels report for 2013 with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agriculture Information Network, reporting that approximately 20 percent of transportation biofuel used within the 27 EU member states was imported during the 2007-2012 timeframe. However, trade actions have been imposed to stymie the trade of ethanol and biodiesel.

According to the GAIN report, biodiesel was the main biofuel used for transportation purposes in 2012. Ethanol comprised only 28 percent of the market share for transportation biofuels during the year. Regarding ethanol, the report specifies that from 2009 through 2012, the majority of ethanol shipped to the EU was an E90 blend. However, in April 2012 the tariff loophole was closed. In February of this year, the European Commission took additional action, and imposed an anti-dumping duty on ethanol coming from the U.S.

Within the report, the authors note that although these actions have been taken, 350 million liters of ethanol is still expected to reach Europe through preferential trade measures, which are mainly used by Guatemala, Peru and Pakistan. Brazilian imports may also enter the Brazilian markets.

Regarding ethanol production in 2013, the report notes that approximately 10.6 million metric tons of cereals are expected to be used as feedstock. Last year, ethanol production resulted in the production of approximately 3.3 million metric tons of distillers dried grains.

Ethanol imports in Europe peaked in 2011, reaching an estimated 1.635 billion liters, 1.285 billion of which was used for transportation. By 2014, ethanol imports are expected to drop to 850 million liters, with 500 million liters of that amount used for transportation purposes.

A total of 71 ethanol plants are expected to be in existence across Europe in 2013 and 2014, up from 69 in 2012. Only 55 percent of the 8.468 million liters of production capacity was in use last year. Capacity use is expected to increase to 63 percent of 8.481 billion liters by 2014.

This year, EU ethanol producers are expected to use 9.47 million metric tons of sugar beet feedstock, along with 4.65 million metric tons of wheat and 4.97 million metric tons of corn. Barley and rye will also be used in relatively quantities of 540,000 metric tons and 480,000 metric tons. In 2014, the use of all feedstocks is expected to grow slightly, with the exception of sugar beet, which will drop to 9 million metric tons.

Coproduct production is also expected to increase. According to the report, the max theoretical production of distillers grains is 3.33 million metric tons, up from 2.895 million metric tons in 2012. In 2014, the maximum theoretical production of distillers grains is projected to be 3.515 million metric tons.

The production of corn oil coproduct is also increasing within the European Union. In 2006, the maximum theoretical production of corn oil was only 11,000 metric tons. That had increased to 122,000 metric tons last year, with up to 144,000 metric tons expected to be produced this year. In 2014, corn oil production could increase to 146,000 metric tons.

The report also addresses the current state of EU biofuel policy, biodiesel production, and other biobased fuels, such as biogas and wood pellets. The full report can be downloaded here.