Battle of ethanol: Sugarcane vs Corn

The battle over corn-based and sugarcane-based ethanol — which one is cheaper? — has been brewing for weeks, and I’ve received emails and tweets last week about statements released from both camps: the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

RFA accused UNICA last week of making exaggerated and (in some cases) false claims about the cost benefits of sugarcane-ethanol product over American ethanol. RFA said a recent comparison of ethanol prices shows that E10 (10% ethanol/90% gasoline) made with American ethanol would be 7 cents less at the retail level than E10 made with imported Brazilian ethanol.

“UNICA engages in a number of instances of ‘fuzzy math’,” says RFA. “Data from Brazil’s CEPEA, the Center of Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (collected via an agreement with UNICA and another sugarcane growers association), clearly shows that Brazilian ethanol prices have not been competitive with U.S. corn ethanol since the summer of 2009. An American driver who pulled up to the pump today would theoretically spend an additional 7 cents/gal if they filled up E10 from imported Brazilian ethanol instead of E10 from American ethanol.”

In response, UNICA’s chief representative of North America, Joel Velasco noted that if RFA really want to prove that American corn ethanol is cheaper than sugar-cane based ethanol, then, the US, he said, should end the subsidies, drop the trade protection and compete in an open market.

And then Velasco challenged RFA’s VP of research Geoff Cooper that whoever loses will buy the winner a drink: caipirinha vs bourbon…

One Response to Battle of ethanol: Sugarcane vs Corn

  1. howard stern 28 April, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    The battle over corn-based and sugarcane-based ethanol.???

    You don’t have to go to
    to obtain cheap Bio Energy:

    Posted on April 27, 2010
    News BLog Release FROM: SUGAR LAND, TEXAS

    Howard Stern says: We have Technology, We have Novel Operating Systems, with many years of experience and 90% different processing configuration from Sugar Cane and Grain Operations. We have sufficient knowledge to produce massive amounts of cheap Bio Ethanol, and produce Fine Chemicals for the Biotechnology industry and as an alternative we will provide for worldwide exports. We can at the same time create semi skilled jobs throughout most of the United States. Realizing that competitiveness with Brazil is mandatory function our part … it is time for us to go commercial
    on a grand scale. There is more: We will also be SUFFICIENTLY viable to operate without Federal subsidies and expand internally after first year of operations.
    Having made these “PROVOCATIVE” STATEMENTS; IT SEEMS THAT Importing from any Foreign Country does not solve our RENEWABLE ENERGY security problems. Reasonable and cheap Domestic Production capabilities will…

    To reiterate, even though we are a small Company seeking PARTNERS, this project
    involves ultimate Engineering estimate of 12 BILLION GALLONS of ETHANOL per year * (same time frame as corn.) With the TECHNOLOGY outlined above, and we will create a positive impact by contributing toward cleaner waterway environments along with a new and cheap renewable energy. These developments took decades of R&D and large investments. However the project (unlike most other ETHANOL processors) will be left standing tall if ethanol product were completely superseded by newer, better and cheaper technology.
    Again, professional studies indicate that each of the hundreds of units can be self sufficient and operational even if all subsidies are withdrawn 12months after start.. This the real stuff that everyone has been looking for. Company needs a strong Corporate Partner with a passion for ETHANOL and fine natural chemicals interest with ability to carry though worldwide.

    Posted by sternh to Wall Street News Alert at April 27, 2010 3:15 PM

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