Expanding ethanol markets in Southeast Asia vital to US biofuels industry

Source: By Kellan Heavican, Brownfield • Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2022

The U.S. Grains Council says expanding the ethanol market in Southeast Asia is adding to demand for U.S. biofuels.

Stella Qian, manager of global ethanol market development, tells Brownfield South Korea is a strategic partner in the region to “load it into small shipments and supply it to the local market.  They were able to supply the neighboring markets including Vietnam, Philippines and Singapore at a significant level and provide a level of flexibility for those markets.”

She says South Korea and Japan are increasing imports to help meet the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. “Both countries demonstrated their commitment to decarbonizing their transportation sector and we believe that ethanol is playing a key role in both countries.”

Quian says 40 percent of U.S. ethanol exports are delivered to Asia.

Japan is doubling its access to biofuels and she says that could help expand the U.S.’s market share. “We see significant increase of exports of U.S. ethanol into the Japanese market that continues to be a stable customer.”

Last week, the Biden administration announced that Japan would double ethanol demand, including sustainable aviation fuel and on-road fuel by 2030.

Quian tells Brownfield Japan ranks as the fourth-largest U.S. export market for coarse grains, meat products and ethanol. “The commitment that Japan made last week further demonstrates the importance of the market and how reliable they are for the U.S. agriculture industry in general.”

She says ethanol use in Japan has steadily increased since adopting a biofuel blending policy in the mid-2000s.