Report features data on EU ethanol market

By Erin Voegele | July 21, 2016

A report recently filed with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network provides an overview of the European Union’s biofuel market, including data on ethanol.

According to the report, the EU produced 5.19 billion liters (1.37 billion gallons) of ethanol last year, with production expected to drop slightly to 5.05 billion liters in 2016 and 2017. Of that volume, an estimated 75 million liters was cellulosic ethanol in 2015. That volume is expected to be maintained this year, and increase to 85 million gallons next year.

The EU imported only 215 million liters of fuel ethanol last year, falling to an estimated 150 million liters in 2016 and 2017. Fuel ethanol exports reached only 190 million liters last year, and are expected to fall to 150 million liters this year and next year.  

The EU consumed approximately 5.19 billion liters of fuel ethanol last year. Consumption is expected to fall to 5.17 billion liters this year and 5.14 billion liters next year. The ethanol blend rate was approximately 5.2 percent last year, a level expected to be maintained through 2017.

The UE currently has 71 first-generation ethanol plants, a number that is expected to be maintained through 2017. Capacity of these plants is approximately 8.48 billion liters. Capacity use was an estimated 68 percent last year, and expected to fall to 66 percent this year and in 2017. The EU also currently has one cellulosic ethanol plant, with a second expected to be in existence in 2017. Cellulosic capacity is currently at 75 million liters, and is expected to increase to 85 million liters in 2017.

In addition to ethanol, the EU also produced approximately 2.862 million metric tons of distillers dried grains (DDG) last year, falling to a projected 2.797 million metric tons this year and increasing slightly to 2.834 million metric tons in 2017. Corn oil production reached an estimated 157,000 metric tons last year, and is expected to fall to 150,000 metric tons this year, increasing slightly to 152,000 metric tons next year.

Sugar beet is expected to be the primary ethanol feedstock this year, at 8.809 million metric tons, followed by corn at 5.177 million metric tons. This year, the EU is also expected to take in 2.575 million metric tons of wheat as ethanol feedstock, along with 661,000 metric tons of rye, 524,000 million metric tons of barley, and 270,000 million metric tons of cellulosic biomass.

France is currently the top EU ethanol producer, with 970 million liters of production expected this year. Germany is expected to produce 950 million liters of fuel ethanol this year, followed by Hungary at 640 million liters, Belgium at 560 million liters and the Netherlands at 450 million liters. Spain, the U.K., Poland, and Austria are also top EU ethanol producers.

A full copy of the report, which also addresses biodiesel, advanced biofuels, wood pellets and biogas, can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website.