TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) in cooperation with F.O. Licht released on June 26 its Global Annual Ethanol Production Forecast. The GRFA forecasts fuel ethanol production to hit 85.2 billion liters in 2012.

Despite the slowing Chinese economy and negative economic growth in many western countries, the GRFA predicts a 1% growth in ethanol output in 2012, up from the 84.5 billion liters produced in 2011. Global annual production has now surpassed 536 million barrels of ethanol per year according to the GRFA.

“While the world’s financial health continues to preoccupy policy makers and governments, the global ethanol industry continues to be a bright spot in the world economy. It continues to grow, supporting nearly 1.4 million jobs and contributing $277.3 billion to the global economy in 2010,” said GRFA spokesperson, Bliss Baker. “The GRFA’s 2012 production forecast sees global ethanol production continuing to displace the need for hundreds of millions of barrels of imported crude oil, further reducing our crippling reliance on foreign oil. Policy makers and governments must recognize the significant contribution biofuels are making to the global economy while reducing the world’s foreign oil consumption.”

The U.S. and Brazil continue to be the largest producers of ethanol with production continuing at a steady pace in 2012.

Although production levels in Africa remain relatively low, this region will see the largest increase in production for 2012 which is expected to grow by 36%.

“Many African economies are net importers of crude oil making them extremely vulnerable to the swings in crude oil prices. Domestic biofuel production will help ease this crippling reliance on oil,” said Baker. “It is encouraging to see some African countries seizing their biofuels opportunity because it will encourage investment in agricultural, create much needed local employment and help reduce their reliance on foreign oil.”

In the European region, production continues to grow at a robust pace. In 2011, Europe saw its production grow by 4% over 2010. This year, Europe’s production increase will more than double last year’s growth rate. Europe is expected to produce 4.9 billion liters of ethanol, which is an 11% increase over 2011.