Event encourages biofuels program development in Central America

By U.S. Grains Council | October 18, 2018

A recent seminar in Costa Rica planted seeds for further regional cooperation and biofuels policy development throughout Central America.

The Council organized the one-day seminar, Cultivando Energia (Cultivating Energy), in San Jose, Costa Rica, in late September to increase awareness among key government officials and industry about the economic, environmental and technical benefits of using ethanol in fuel. Forty-eight attendees from Central America and the Dominican Republic attended the event.

“This regional seminar allowed the Council and its partners to provide valuable information to policy makers and local industry,” said Juan Sebastian Diaz, USGC Latin America regional ethanol consultant. “This conference also provided a space to discuss common issues in the region related to the implementation and represented a great opportunity to develop synergies between countries to establish biofuels programs in the region.”

As the host country, Costa Rican representatives delivered details of its biofuels program, planned to start by the second half of 2019. Costa Rica is considered one of the world’s “greenest” countries and has committed to an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 44 percent by 2030.

Government officials consider ethanol blending one of the most effective pathways for achieving this commitment, and the speakers during the seminar stressed their arguments confirming this position. The Council is strongly supporting this initiative and has engaged with Costa Rican government officials to expedite the adoption of blends above 10 percent with consideration for ethanol imports.

Other topics covered at the event included supply chain technical requirements, car performance under different ethanol blends and discussions of ethanol policies throughout Latin America. Outside of formal presentations, the seminar also allowed attendees to network and share their own experiences with biofuels policy development.

“Attendees suggested these events allow them to meet counterparts from the region and utilize current regional resources to establish cross-country policies targeted at increased use of biofuels,” Diaz said. “These events, which follow the successful Ethanol Summit of the Americas, continue to yield positive attitudes and policy developments related to global ethanol adoption.”

Learn more about the Ethanol Summit of the Americas and resulting follow-up activities here.