Brazil ethanol makers win EPA stamp for advanced biofuel

13 September 2010 22:51  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Five Brazilian ethanol mills were certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as producers of advanced biofuels, industry association Unica said on Monday, touting the move as a victory for sugarcane ethanol.

Unica said one of those mills was controlled by US agribusiness giant Cargill, while the other units were part of Copersucar, a Brazilian cooperative of sugarcane mills and one of the country’s top producers of ethanol.

An advanced biofuel as defined under the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a renewable fuel other than corn ethanol that meets a 50% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction requirement.

Unica said sugarcane ethanol reduced such emissions by 61% compared with baseline gasoline, citing estimates earlier this year by the EPA.

The association said EPA certification was an important step for sugarcane ethanol makers to compete in the US, which produces ethanol from corn and levies a tax of 54 cents/gal on Brazilian ethanol.

The tariff is a huge point of contention between the two countries, but Brazilian ethanol makers are hoping the US will eventually relax its import restriction on sugarcane ethanol because of a mandate to blend advanced biofuels in the coming years.

The US will be required to use 950m gal (3.60bn litres) of advanced biofuels in 2010. That volume will rise every year, reaching 5bn gal in five years, and 21bn gal by 2022.

Unica predicted more Brazilian ethanol mills would seek certification by the EPA as producers of advanced biofuel.

Brazil is the world’s top exporter of ethanol, while the US the largest consumer of the biofuel.

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By: William Lemos
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