OSLO, NORWAY — The US Grains Council (USGC) visited Finland, Norway and Sweden recently to discuss sustainability policies and how US producers can help them meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.  

The European Union (EU) has committed to carbon-reduction goals centered around E10 blending across its member states. The USGC sent a delegation to the region to build relationships with stakeholders to further support the climate initiatives.

Cary Sifferath, vice president of the USGC, was joined by Doug Berven, vice president of corporate affairs at POET, Hagan Rose, director of sales and international marketing at Eco-Energy, and Alberto Carmona, USGC regional ethanol consultant in Europe.

“The EU is already one of the largest export markets for US ethanol and there is still so much opportunity for growth as its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies continue to develop,” Sifferath said. “Ethanol uses like sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will make a massive impact on reducing the transportation sector’s carbon footprint and these countries deserve recognition for their forward-thinking mindset on creating a cleaner, safer environment for us all.”

The team arrived in Oslo, Norway, and met with advisers from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment on May 13. The day’s docket also featured a meeting with ZERO, a non-profit leader in carbon emission reduction strategies in Europe.

Norway implemented an E10 gasoline blend to consumers in 2023 and in 2020 became the first country to mandate SAF blending. The government plans to blend SAF at 30% by 2030.

Sifferath and company traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, on May 14 to participate in a roundtable with representatives from Bioenergi Magazine; Colabit; Lantmännen; the International Energy Agency; the Swedish Bioenergy Association, the World Bioenergy Association and ePure, an association that represents 85% of the EU’s ethanol production.

Sweden raised its SAF blending mandate to 1.7% in 2022 and in 2023, its Trollhättan-Vänersborg airport became the first in the world to exclusively offer blended SAF for all aircraft refueling. Sweden also has a high demand for biofuel-blended diesel fuel, presenting several major opportunities for ethanol growth in the country.

The visit continued in Helsinki, Finland, with meetings with the Bioenergy Association of Finland and the renewable energy policy unit at the Finnish Ministry of Economy and Employment.

Finland is aiming to have the majority of its energy come from renewable sources and reduce GHG emissions from the aviation sector by 30% by 2030. The government also provides financial incentives for consumers to purchase E85-compatible vehicles.

“Our meetings in Finland, Norway and Sweden were a great opportunity to better understand the sustainability objectives of the countries and to explain how US producers are well positioned to assist them on their journey to GHG reduction,” Berven said.