Reports highlight ethanol production in 3 South American nations

By Erin Voegele | July 25, 2013

Reports recently filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Global Information Network provide an update on ethanol production in the South American countries of Paraguay, Peru and Argentina. Production in all three countries is expected to grow.

Paraguay’s annual biofuels GAIN report, published July 22, notes that the country’s ethanol production is expected to reach a new high in 2014, with 190 million liters (50.19 million gallons) of production. According to the report, the country currently mandates a mix of ethanol of at least 24 percent but no greater than 25 percent.

According to the report, fuel consumption is growing within Paraguay. The growth is primarily attributed to an increase in the number of cars on the road and increased economic growth. Gasoline and gasoline blends currently account for approximately 35 percent of the fuel consumed in the country, with diesel accounting for 65 percent.

The report also indicates that approximately 25 percent of Paraguay’s vehicles are categorized as flex fuel, and that E85 consumption is expected to reach approximately 16 million liters next year.

Data included in the annual biofuels report shows that Paraguay is currently home to 12 ethanol plants, with a combined nameplate capacity of 260 million liters per year. While the same capacity has been in place since 2010, production has increased in recent years. The country produced 130 million liters of ethanol in 2010 and 2011, increasing to 165 million liters in 2012. Production this year is expected to reach 175 million liters this year before rising to 190 million liters in 2014.

Both sugarcane and grains are used to produce ethanol in Paraguay. This year, approximately 1 million metric tons of sugarcane and 240,000 metric tons of grain feedstock are expected to be converted into ethanol.

Peru’s annual biofuel GAIN report indicates that ethanol production is expected to reach 240 million liters this year, an increase of 9 percent over 2012 production levels. Ethanol is currently blended at rate of approximately 7.8 percent in Peru. The country is expected to consume 130 million liters of ethanol next year, with 2013 exports expected to reach 135 million liters. The 2013 export level represents a 7 percent increase from the prior year. The report specifies that the Netherlands was the main destination for Peruvian ethanol exports last year, accounting for 54 percent of ethanol exports.

According to the GAIN report, there are currently two ethanol plants in Peru, and both use sugarcane as feedstock.

The annual biofuel GAIN report filed by Argentina states that the nation’s ethanol consumption is expected to increase to 600 million liters next year, representing an average blend of 7.6 percent, which the report calls the highest ever. If the 600 million liter production level is realized, it will represent an increase of 50 percent compared to the expected output for this year.

Production capacity in Argentina will reach 840 million liters in 2014, as a new 125 MMly grain ethanol plant is expected to commence operations next year. The 2014 capacity level is projected to be 40 percent higher than the capacity level of 2012.

According to the report, molasses and sugarcane are expected to account for approximately 70 percent of the ethanol produced this year, with the remaining 30 percent manufactured using grain feedstock. In 2014, the share of grain is expected to increase to 40 percent. This is due to the new plant coming online.