GES Held For First Time Since 2018

In October 2023, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) welcomed gloabl attendees to Reston, VA, for the Global Ethanol Summit (GES), the first time the event had been held since 2018.

The first day of programming was packed with four general sessions focused on different challenges and opportunities facing the bioethanol industry.

USGC Chairman Brent Boydston opened the event and introduced the day’s three keynote speakers: POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin; Summit Agricultural Group Executive Chairman Bruce Rastetter; and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Undersecretary Jason Hafemeister. USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand then gave an opening address previewing the remainder of the event’s content.

“USDA is constantly involved with other countries about expanding bioethanol blends and sustainable production practices,” Hafemeister said. “Domestically and abroad, USDA is seeking to show that biofuel products have real value and create a durable commercial market that allows consumers to have a choice of using biofuels that makes them realize, ‘this saves me money, benefits the environment and I feel better for it.’”

The second general session included a panel discussion on governmental perspectives on global ethanol policies and speakers shared stories of successful bioethanol integration efforts in their regions. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor moderated the conversation and was joined by panelists including Lauren Clarke, manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada; Hideaki Fujisawa, minister of economy, trade, industry/business and energy at the Embassy of Japan; Ruby de Guzman, director of renewable energy management at the Philippines Department of Energy; Brian Richardson, chief technical director of energy at the Jamaican Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport; and Rod Snyder, senior advisor to the administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The afternoon began with a roundtable of experts from multilateral organizations who offered an overview of global ethanol feedstocks and end-use outlooks. Moderator Gerry Ostheimer, executive director at Biofuture Campaign, headed the group that featured a video message from Paolo Frankl, head of renewable energy at the International Energy Agency; Marcel Adenauer, policy analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Dawit Kelemework Mekonnen, senior economist at the World Bank; Constance Miller, deputy coordinator for the secretariat at the Global Bioenergy Partnership; and Augustin Torroba, head of renewables and international biofuels specialist at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

“We want to support transparent and informed policymaking and help countries understand assessments of their climate goals and obligations,” Miller said. “As an industry, we need to use recent geopolitical momentum towards clean energy to take on and address misconceptions about biofuels.”

The day came to a close with a panel discussion on international engagement efforts to achieve global E10 policies and beyond. Moderator Doug Berven, vice president for corporate affairs at POET, took to the stage with Rodrigo Cardenal, president and CEO of the Panama National Sugarcane Industry Association; Aditya Jhunjhunwala, president of the India Sugar Mill Association; Andrea Kent, past president and board director of Renewable Industries Canada; Dr. Stephan Meeder, president of ePURE; and Gerardo Tee, chairman of the ethanol producers association of the Philippines.

The event ended the following day with concurrent sessions covering new-use applications for bioethanol, bioethanol infrastructure and compatibility and environmental and human health benefits of renewable fuels, in addition to four memorandum of understanding (MOU) signings between the Council; Honduras Sugar Producers Association; Department of Environment of Nuevo Leon, Mexico; the Secretariat of Ecology and Environment of Quintana Roo, Mexico; and the Ministry of Energy of Ghana.