International Landscape for Ethanol: 11:15 2/16

February 16, 2010

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance moderated an international discussion on the international landscape for biofuels. There was a discussion of complex and nuanced protectionism versus free trade market forces for biofuels trade with the reality that nearly all countries have established varying levels of tariffs and market barriers to promote local agriculture. The food for fuels debate has also significantly eroded the political support for biofuels even as conventional oils prices skyrocketed and oil related political conflicts advanced. Thin arguments are often embraced by media yet go un-challenged by the biofuels community.

Volatility of oil prices likely had more effect on food prices than biofuels did. It would be interesting to study this and provide an updated analysis that would be pertinent to discussions over the past few years.

The global community thinks it is regretful that international indirect land use change remains a part of the US biofuels policy and debate without rational scientific backup information.

A key participant in the discussion was George Fitch, who serves a dual role as Mayor of Warrenton Virginia and as Executive Director of the Caribbean Basin Ethanol Producers Association. Warrenton’s next generation biomass energy community project boosts energy independence and energy security by processing local wastes into electricity and biofuel. These efforts will produce 12 MW of electricity (enough for all of Warrenton), and use a byproduct syngas to produce biofuels to fuel school bus and government vehicles.

Brazil has flex fuel motorcycles. Vroom Vroom.