USGC's Mike Dwyer

HOUSTON, TEXAS, U.S. – Leaders in the ethanol industry from more than 15 countries in the Western Hemisphere met in Houston, Texas, U.S., for the first Ethanol Summit of the Americas with a focus on regional collaboration to expand the use of ethanol.

The summit, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, brought together scientists, ethanol experts and policymakers to discuss the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol-blended fuel. It also served as the launching point for expanded regional engagement markets in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

“Increasing cooperation between ethanol industries supports economic growth for all countries involved,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the USGC. “Collaborative efforts like the meetings this week enable a greater understanding of the policy climate surrounding ethanol and help pave the way for expanded ethanol use throughout the region.”

The summit highlighted the use of ethanol in transportation fuels to help meet a number of economic and environmental challenges, including improving air quality, extending the current fuel supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The two-day conference, Oct. 19-20, also included technical presentations on ethanol-related policies, infrastructure and use in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay. The summit highlighted the release of new research on the environmental benefits of blending ethanol into gasoline as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ethanol roadmap, the economics of octane and how global ethanol shares prosperity through trade.

“This event is well-timed because dialogue and improved relationships among the hemisphere’s ethanol leadership is desperately needed right now to stem the growing scourge of protectionism that will only thwart our united efforts to expand this important industry and address pressing regional energy and environmental priorities,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist, said the summit is building relationships across ethanol industries and government policies.

“From lessons learned from the adoption of ethanol to dialogue on how to overcome existing barriers to ethanol trade, the Summit furthers conversations to sync ethanol policies throughout the region,” he said.

The USGC has focused on the promotion of ethanol for its environmental benefits that include reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The USGC works to sync global ethanol policies that include a role for trade as well as overcome restraints related to inadequate infrastructure.

“Increasing ethanol use in other countries often requires building new markets from the ground up with industry partners and government regulators, and sharing the U.S. experience is an important component for our engagement,” Dwyer said. “Time and persistence are both needed to achieve the huge potential payoffs for greater global use of ethanol.”