Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘Brazilian Ethanol’ tag

Rival Ethanol Trade Groups Campaigning to Woo Senators, Clobber Each Other

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With talks well underway in the U.S. Congress for a new energy/climate bill, the U.S. EPA’s recent decision that Brazilian sugarcane ethanol meets the “advanced fuel” mandate, and now Brazil’s removal of their tariff on imported ethanol, the stage is set for some heated discussion about lowering or even eliminating our own tariff, as several senators have argued the U.S. Government should do.

The Brazilian sugarcane and ethanol industry association, UNICA, has recently launched a website and a series of ads aimed at winning over U.S. consumers.

An important note: The paper cited at the end of this article that claims larger environmental benefits from corn ethanol is not indicative of the U.S. corn ethanol production system. It focuses on fewer, newer refineries that use natural gas and have greater efficiency. If the whole U.S. corn ethanol production system were like those surveyed by Liska et al. (2009) then yes, the fuel would be cleaner. But as it stands this is not the case of the average refinery.

All of this back and forth makes my time here in Brazil that much more interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

By ANNE C. MULKERN of Greenwire
Published: April 13, 2010

Two rival trade groups seeking congressional help for the ethanol industry launched advertising yesterday to promote themselves and bash one another.

Growth Energy Inc., which represents corn and other domestic ethanol producers, seeks to maintain supremacy at home, while the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, wants to tear down corn ethanol’s benefits in order to grab a larger share of the U.S. market.

Read the entire article here.

Bunge to spend $750 mln to expand in Brazil cane

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SAO PAULO, April 9 (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness group Bunge (BG.N) will invest $750 million to expand its three largest cane mills in Brazil, the unit’s chief executive told Valor Economico newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 10th, 2010 at 8:40 am

Key role for ethanol in global energy debate seen by Dutch Foreign Minister

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As I keep asking the question of whether or not the U.S. should open our market to increased importation of Brazilian ethanol, and how that would be for Brazil, it’s important to keep in mind that we are not the only ones considering such a move.

Does Brazil have the capacity to accommodate Europe, China, and others, as each of these governments contemplates opening their markets to imported biofuels?


Ethanol produced from sugarcane will be a crucial ingredient in debates on the future of global energy. The assessment came from The Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Relations, Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen, during a visit on Tuesday (March 6) to the headquarters of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) in Sao Paulo.

Verhagen made reference to ongoing debates among European Union member countries on energy source diversification, within the context of the European Directive that defines the use of renewable fuels for transportation. “We are convinced that biofuels are key to make Europe’s energy consumption more sustainable,” he said, adding that The Netherlands as well as the European Parliament have inquired whether ethanol produced from sugarcane is sustainable in economic, environmental and social aspects, and whether it fits European Directive requirements: “We visited UNICA to know the real conditions of producing ethanol.”

Read the entire article here.

Brazil opens its ethanol market to U.S. imports

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Well this just keeps on getting more and more interesting.

I’m here in Brazil talking with people in the cane and ethanol industry, as well as other stakeholders, asking them what they think about the possibility of increased U.S. importation of Brazilian ethanol. Until recently, that was the most likely possibility, and with a recent decision by the U.S. E.P.A, it became an even more likely reality.

But with the strength of the Brazilian currency (real) and a couple of poor harvests, the price of domestic ethanol has been rising, hence the recent discussions of importing ethanol from the U.S. to meet domestic demand, which is significant given the fact that most cars here are flex-fuel vehicles, capable of operating on any mix of gasoline and/or ethanol. But the drop in the Brazilian tariff does correspond with the start of the harvest season here, which has revitalized cane and ethanol production in the last few weeks, causing a significant drop in prices.

So, it’s convenient for Brazil to drop the tariff now, when domestic ethanol prices are falling.

The motivation, it’s clear, is to pressure the U.S. to drop our tariff, thus, combined with the recent EPA decision, opening the door to imports of Brazilian ethanol.

We’ll see…

Biofuels Journal

Date Posted: April 6, 2010

Sao Paulo—The announcement April 5 that the Brazilian government has unilaterally eliminated its tariff on imported ethanol is a major step forward in building a global biofuels marketplace, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

“UNICA believes that free trade is a two way street and Brazil, as the largest producer of cane ethanol and largest exporter of ethanol in the world, with 60% of the global market, will lead by example and eliminate barriers to renewable, clean fuels.

“We hope this move will encourage other countries around the world to develop open, free markets for clean, efficient renewable fuels such as ethanol,” said UNICA President & CEO Marcos Jank.

Read the entire article here.