Argentina ethanol production may rise 36% in 2012

30 March 2011 21:32  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)--Argentina's ethanol production could reach 300,000 cubic metres (cbm)/year by the end of 2012, an increase of 36%, the president of a trade group said on Wednesday.

Argentina currently produces 220,000 cbm/year of ethanol, said Tristan Briano, president of Camara de Alcoholes, a trade group that represents Argentina's ethanol producers.

Briano was speaking at the Clean Energy Congress Argentina 2011 conference.

At 300,000 cbm/year, Argentina would be able to blend all of its gasoline with 6% ethanol, Briano said.

Currently, the blend rate is 5%, enough to consume 210,541 cbm/year.

Argentina's gasoline demand has been rising as consumers buy more automobiles that consume the fuel, Briano said.

"The local automotive production is beating production records every year, and all of these cars are functioning on gasoline, increasing demand for the local oil companies,” he said.

Currently, almost all of the alcohol production in Argentina is sugarcane based, although local companies are developing new projects based on corn and sweet sorghum.

This adoption of new crops, which will extend the harvest season, will be the most significant change for Argentina's ethanol industry, Briano said.  

Argentina could also increase production yields for sugarcane, he added.

Current yields are an average of 75 tonnes/ha (30 tonnes/acre), Briano said. This could be increased to 100 tonnes/ha.

Altogether, Argentina produces 2.5m tonnes/year of sugarcane.

Other challenges include securing financing for ethanol projects and increasing sugar yields at mills.

Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives in Green Chemicals

By: Cristina Kroll
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