Conference Highlights Ethanol’s Role In Reaching APEC Goal To Double Renewable Energy

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) presented a roadmap for increasing the production, use and trade of ethanol as a transport fuel across the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region during meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, this week. 

The Council and its domestic partners in ethanol export market development including USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) collaborated with APEC member economies to develop this plan, which incorporates case studies from countries with existing ethanol programs as well as industry best practices. 

The roadmap focuses on the benefits of increasing blending of fuel ethanol and the important role of trade in helping economies to meet mandates. It's publication follows a series of workshops conducted in Taichung City, Taiwan, in April 2016. 

This week’s three-day event included discussion of the environmental and health advantages of increased ethanol blending, economic benefits, policy tools and mandates as well as compliance and incentives. 

“Our effort to help policy makers and industry leaders understand the benefits of ethanol reaches far into Asia, where countries have mandates that are largely aspirational, in that they are non-binding or not met," said Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist and lead on ethanol work.

"As domestic production falls short of meeting the mandates, trade holds an important role in helping countries to realize the environmental and health benefits of ethanol, which are not fully realized when mandates are waived."

Presenters included representatives from the Canadian biofuels industry; government representatives from the Philippines; ministry experts from Thailand; Brian Healy, USGC manager of ethanol export market development; and Jim Miller, a consultant for Growth Energy, one of USGC’s partners in ethanol work. USGC staff representatives from Mexico, Japan, South Korea, China and Southeast Asia also attended the meeting. 

The roadmap developed with contributions from APEC member economies following the April 2016 event is one component of a broader APEC project administered by the USDA’s FAS focused on expanding ethanol trade development as part of APEC’s renewable fuel strategy. The APEC website will publish the full roadmap in the coming months. 

Language endorsed by member economies during the Bangkok meeting this week will be presented to an Energy Working Group meeting later this year in South Korea. Together, these events support the goal of utilizing ethanol to support APEC’s renewable energy goals. 

“We have found great benefit in collaborating with APEC member economies to advance regional ethanol production, use and trade," Dwyer said. "We plan to continue to work with this group as they push toward the ambitious goal of doubling renewable energy use across the region by 2030." 

More about the Energy Working Group is available here.

Learn more about the Council’s work on ethanol here.