A Review of Global Ethanol Market Development: Where We Stand Today

As Brian Healy, USGC director of global ethanol market development, transitions from his role at the organization, he looks back on the global ethanol market and how it has changed during his tenure.
By Brian Healy | May 22, 2022

As I prepare to transition from my current role as head of global ethanol market development with the U.S. Grains Council, I expect this to be my last column for Ethanol Producer Magazine. I am sincerely honored to have had the opportunity to represent and advocate for the ethanol industry with governments and industries around the globe. United as an industry, we have achieved several successes through policy expansions, new market access and reduced tariffs on ethanol. I greatly appreciate the support from all our partners; these accomplishments would not have been possible without widespread support and guidance at all levels. With the foundations for successes laid, the future of the industry is bright for expanding global ethanol use.

Working with three different U.S. administrations over the past several years, three common themes have emerged from this global advocacy and market development program:
• Building partnerships
• Creating alignment through communication  
• Delivering results

Building partnerships has been foundational to the industry’s market development efforts to date. It was first done here in the U.S. to build a cohesive and coordinated advocacy program within our own industry to make sure we were all working together toward a common goal. We built those same partnerships with our governmental colleagues in U.S. embassies around the globe and in Washington, D.C., where ethanol transitioned from a commodity that was reported on, to an agricultural product market that was collaboratively developed. Partnerships continued to be established in overseas markets, getting buy-in from local ethanol industry and feedstock groups to support a domestic policy with a role for trade, including the signing of multiple memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for ongoing collaboration.

Creating alignment and communicating the benefits of expanded ethanol use, generated foreign government acceptance of our global program on a day-to-day engagement with our local offices and at large format industry events like the Global Ethanol Summit. While the infrastructure for the global program was scaled up and built out, our efforts to establish partnerships opened doors to new channels for communicating messages about the local and global benefits of expanding ethanol use. 

Delivering results has always been the end goal, and the partnerships and alignment created early on helped deliver. Tangible examples include the creation of nearly 100 million gallons of new market access in Japan as that country updated its domestic policy; elimination of an outright ban on pre-blended ethanol imports into Indonesia; tariff rate reduction of 25 percent on ethanol in Vietnam. Future success will be built on investments in an office in India, the global industry marketing of ethanol generically at events like the Conference of the Parties (COP) and third-party endorsements for ethanol’s role in meeting transport sector decarbonization goals like the International Energy Agency. Our work is not done, but substantial progress has been made to date in delivering results for the industry.

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