Spain's ethanol capacity holds steady

By Erin Voegele | December 13, 2013

The government of Spain recently filed a report on ethanol with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Information Network. The report addresses Spanish policy, production, and supply and demand data.

Spain is among the European Union’s top four ethanol producers. However, production capacity has not increased since 2009.

According to the report, Spain currently has 583 million liters (154.01 million gallons) of ethanol capacity. The country has three large grain-ethanol plants, ranging in size from 200 MMly to 180 MMly. All three are majority owned by Agengoa. A smaller 33 MMly facility takes in wine alcohol feedstock. The country is also home to a 1.5 MMly cellulosic project owned by Abengoa.

Together, Spain’s ethanol plants consume 1.225 million metric tons of grain annually, and produce 360,000 metric tons of distillers grains.

Corn has been expanding as a percentage of the ethanol feedstock share in Spain. In 2009, corn was estimated to account for 51 percent of ethanol feedstock, with wheat, barley and wine alcohol accounting for a respective 27 percent, 14 percent and 8 percent. This year, corn is expected to account for 92 percent of ethanol feedstock, with wheat and wine alcohol each accounting for 4 percent. Next year, corn is expected to account for 95 percent of ethanol feedstock in Spain.

While the report indicates average monthly blending for ethanol in Spain accounted to 6.05 percent this year through August, the domestic market is limited. Transportation fuel consumption in the nation peaked in 2007, and has since declined due to the economic crisis. In addition, gasoline currently represents only about 20 percent of the transportation fuel market in Spain, and is continuing to lose market share to diesel.

This year, Spain is expected to consume 4.7 metric tons of gasoline. Ethanol consumption is estimated at 320,000 metric tons. However, the country is expected to produce 335,000 metric tons of ethanol, leading to a net trade level of 15,000 metric tons.

Additional information on Spain’s ethanol industry is available in the GAIN report.