Peru ethanol producer ramps up production at new facility

By Susanne Retka Schill | November 28, 2012

Peru’s sugarcane ethanol producer, Maple Etanol S.R.L., continues to ramp up production at its new 35 MMgy facility. Since starting operations in March 2012, the plant has processed about 468,000 tons of sugarcane through mid-November. By the end of the calendar year, the company expects to produce 11.5 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol. With up to 20 percent being sold domestically, the company has an offtake agreement with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. for exports sales, with the initial shipments bound for Europe, it said in a Nov. 26 report to investors.

The ethanol project, located in the Piura Region on the north coast of Peru, includes the sugarcane processing and ethanol production facility. It will also generate 37 MW of electricity to power the plant, with a projected surplus of 17 MW to supply the Peruvian national power grid. Transmission lines and a third-party operated and owned ethanol storage, loading and shipping facility near the Port of Paita are included in the project infrastructure.

Maple currently owns about 13,500 hectares (33,400 acres) of land, according to its website, and is at an advanced stage of developing the first phase of 7,000 hectares of drip-irrigated sugarcane. The company plans to continue to ramp up production to full capacity and explore opportunities to expand its ethanol project in the country, with the goal of being a low-cost producer.  In its Nov. 26 update, the company estimated its 2013 costs will be 10 percent higher than its long-term estimates of $1.20 to $1.30 per gallon of ethanol produced. It projects average annual sugarcane yields of 150 metric tons per hectare, and reports an ethanol yield in October and November of about 86.6 liters (22.9 gallons) per metric ton of sugarcane.    

Parent company, Maple Energy plc is a publicly traded company, listed in London and Lima. The South American energy company has crude oil production and refining capabilities and gas assets in Peru, in addition to the ethanol project.