Agroenergy and biofuels atlas of the Americas - Ethanol

Jun 2007

This volume presents information about the current state of and outlook for ethanol production in several countries of the Americas.
The agricultural sector has great potential as a supplier of feedstock for generating energy, including the production of solid fuels (wood, plant charcoal and agroindustrial processing wastes), gaseous (biogas) or liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. It is on these last products that this document will focus, especially ethanol.
The ethanol industry in Latin America and the Caribbean is based primarily on the supply of sugarcane as a feedstock. Sugarcane producing and processing activities have experienced technological leaps, raising the productivity of agriculture and industry around the world. This progress can be seen in the fact that yields now exceed 100 metric tons per hectare. Sugar production has thus become more efficient.
Latin America and the Caribbean currently enjoy a good outlook in the sugar market, with the new opportunities offered by the international ethanol market, especially in the United States and Europe. Sugarcane already makes an important contribution to energy supply through the use of bagasse, and the prospect of using ethanol as a fuel opens up even greater opportunities in Latin America for enhancing the economic, social and environmental impact of this crop.
Moreover, many countries of the region have broad expanses of land suitable for agriculture that have already been cleared and that are not being used for food production. Those lands are suitable for the cultivation of the African palm, which is the highest-yielding oil crop, by area, for producing biodiesel.
The document is divided into two parts. The first provides an overview of sugar and ethanol production in Latin America. The second focuses on the status of agroenergy and biofuel production, broken down by country.
In both cases, data is presented on gasoline consumption in the region, the minimum surface area required to produce E10 ethanol, the regulatory frameworks governing production, the use and management of biofuels, the research under way aimed at improving sugarcane and ethanol production, other crops that could be used to produce ethanol besides sugar, the interest that governments and the private sector have shown in promoting biofuel production and use, and the willingness of national institutions to associate themselves with the Inter-American Ethanol Commission.

By: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

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