At the beginning of the year news broke that Argentina will be increasing the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10% to 12%. There are now plans to more than double the current blend which would require a huge amount of investment and policy commitment.
The president, Mauricio Macri, then went on to announce that the ethanol would derive solely from sugar, which will help boost the sugar industry of the country, which is currently experiencing a slump due to over-saturation of the marketplace.
Tabacal, located in Salta province, is one of the largest ethanol and sugar producers in Argentina, and will be expanding their plant, as well as this expansion, Tabacal will also be modernising their current plant, and once finished, will be one of the most efficient in Argentina.
As well as the expansion in Argentina, there is also hope of moving to higher ethanol mixed fuels in the future, which give us cleaner oil and a smaller carbon footprint.
We spoke to Martin Fraguio, Executive Director at MAIZAR, and speaker at Biofuels Latin America conference, to find out more about the expansion and the effect it will have locally and for the future of ethanol.
How have/will you be working with the local sugar farmers to produce ethanol?
Sugar and corn farmers have a great potential to produce the ethanol Argentina needs for the future. We’ll continue trying to coordinate actions between these two value chains and all their members.
How will modernising the existing ethanol plant help you achieve your goals?
Investments is the most critical aspect of developing this industry, access to capital at reasonable interest rates will determine the competitiveness of these companies.
Does a higher ethanol blend in gasoline reduce/increase efficiency of the gasoline?
Brazil is our closest neighbour and has a long tradition of very high blends that allow engines to reach efficiency levels in terms of energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be achieve with other fuels.
Where do you see the future of ethanol going in the next 5 years, and how will this benefit Argentina?
We see the market growing very fast, adequate public policy will promote this growth. The private sector needs to coordinate strategies and actions to help Argentina develop this industry to its potential.