Elevate and Collaborate

FROM THE OCTOBER ISSUE: The U.S. industry is working to expand ethanol's global use by hosting the Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C.
By Brian Healy | September 18, 2019

Collaboration across industry and government stakeholders is essential to build a role for ethanol as a transportation energy component, further normalizing its use. 

While other countries actively search for ways to make meaningful emissions reductions, reduce healthcare costs and make significant foreign exchange savings—by purchasing ethanol as a cost-competitive source of octane—the U.S. ethanol industry simultaneously is working globally to expand the use of ethanol.

In the past few years, the ethanol industry hosted the Ethanol Summit of the Americas, followed by the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific. This collaboration of high-level government officials and industry leaders generated further support of expanding ethanol use around the globe by highlighting ethanol-use benefits, policy development processes and fostering collaboration across the Asia-Pacific and Western Hemisphere regions.

The Global Ethanol Summit is a natural extension of the other two and will be held Oct. 13-15 in Washington, D.C. This event will feature participants from more than 40 countries, increasing global momentum for decarbonization and expanded ethanol use. In addition to world-class speakers, the event also will offer an opportunity for U.S. ethanol sellers to meet with buyers from dozens of countries, linking policy development directly with trade. The summit will conclude with more than a dozen missions to U.S. corn states to educate participants on the production, consumption and logistics of using ethanol in the U.S.

Importantly, this summit ties in the European Union, Middle East and African markets to the other regions, as each has had its own experience in producing and consuming ethanol. Several countries in Africa currently blend ethanol in fuel, like Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, while others predominantly use the fuel for industrial uses, like Nigeria and Ghana, both of which produce ethanol from cassava. Egypt and Nigeria stand to accrue foreign exchange market savings by incorporating ethanol into their fuel supply. Several countries in the EU have announced expansions to their current policies as the new Renewable Energy Directive II goes into effect in 2020. And the Persian Gulf remains a strong importer of U.S. ethanol for use in preblended exports throughout the region.

Like the upcoming summit, the U.S. industry is scaling up other global engagements to build out collaboration and expand the use of ethanol. While the benefits of ethanol are evident within the industry, misinformation and misperception exists in some areas outside of it, including multilateral, nongovernmental organizations. Ethanol, as a component of transport energy, delivers reduced greenhouse gas and particulate emissions. That important contribution needs greater recognition for the goal of expanded global use to be achieved.

As countries have identified the transport sector as an opportunity to help improve air quality—mainly through their Paris climate agreement commitments—there is real opportunity to strategically and collaboratively elevate ethanol into the dialogue surrounding this upcoming event, and subsequent events.

The Global Ethanol Summit offers a critical shift in how U.S. industry can structurally change global engagement and enhance opportunities for global ethanol use.

Author: Brian Healy
Director of Global Ethanol Market Development
U.S. Grains Council
[email protected]