U.S. Ethanol Promotion Teams Head to India, Europe

Activities in Europe and India last week gave members of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and its partners in ethanol export promotion new opportunities to demonstrate the value of U.S. ethanol as a clean-burning source of fuel for consumers globally.

A team of seven representatives from the Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), led by USDA Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, traveled to India to discuss opportunities for developing clean energy solutions, technologies and policies.

During a series of meetings that involved ethanol producers, oil companies and government officials, the U.S. participants received an in-depth look at the local industry’s situation and outlook. There were extensive discussions on India’s economy, political environment, energy sector and the role of government policy as a driver of the ethanol industry’s growth.

“Macroeconomic factors like population growth, continuing urbanization and increases in disposable income mean India is poised to use more gasoline and diesel fuels,” said USGC Past Chairman Ron Gray, who was part of the group representing the U.S. industry. “Given the negative effect that petroleum-based gasoline has on air quality, we feel that the expanded use of ethanol as an oxygenate can help India reduce smog and carbon emissions in this rapidly growing developing country, particularly in its cities.”

The participants expect further engagement with their Indian counterparts in the coming years after analysis to determine how to best serve the particular needs of this market based on the information they gathered.

“With the overwhelming majority of India’s gasoline production coming from petroleum imports, increases in clean ethanol imports will come at the expense of carbon intensive petroleum imports, not India’s ethanol production," said Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist. "We stand ready to work with India to help achieve this."

The Council also sent four representatives of its ethanol and value-added Advisory Teams, accompanied by USGC staff, to the Annual World Ethanol and Biofuels Conference in Europe, where they met with ethanol importers from around the world.

While at the conference, USGC Senior Director for Global Strategies Kurt Shultz presented to attendees on U.S. corn production trends, sharing data showing U.S. corn yields have the potential to expand from current levels of 160 bushels per acre (10 metric tons per hectare) to more than 180 bushels per acre (11.3 tons per hectare).

“The ability of U.S. corn farmers to expand their yields is tremendous,” Shultz said. “This ensures that U.S. farmers are able to meet existing corn demand and any future demand that the ethanol industry places on it.”

The contacts and information from these two promotional events will be invaluable to the Council and its partners as they continue work to develop the global market for U.S. ethanol exports.

Click here to view additional photos from the mission to India.