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Imports from Latin America may help US meet energy goals, study finds
Date:3/4/2008

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 4, 2008 -- Latin American nations could become important suppliers of ethanol for world markets in coming decades, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study released recently.

The report, Biofuel Feedstock Assessment for Selected Countries, presents findings from research conducted in support of a larger study of Worldwide Potential to Produce Biofuels with a focus on U.S. Imports by the Department of Energy. The ORNL study highlights the importance of Brazils dynamic sugarcane industry in future world trade in fuel ethanol.

A team of ORNL researchers led by Keith Kline and Gbadebo Oladosu projected that Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and members of the Caribbean Basin Initiative could produce sufficient feedstock for more than 30 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2017, which would represent a six-fold increase over current production. Nearly 40 percent of the projected supply in 2017 is based on the potential to use new technology to produce advanced biofuels from cellulosic feedstock using crop residues and forestry byproducts.

Current feedstock production, based on traditional crops such as sugarcane, soybeans and palm oil, has the potential to double or triple by 2017 in some cases, said Oladosu, the lead economist for the study. Supply growth is derived from increasing the area cultivated, supplemented by improving yields and farming practices.

Although it was not a focus for this research, the researchers highlighted implications for potential land use change.

The ORNL report assembles historic data on feedstock production for multiple countries and crops and calculates future production and the potential supplies available for export. Included in the report are detailed graphs, tables and disaggregated data for feedstock supplies under a range of future growth possibilities.

The supply projections provide analysts and policymakers with better data on which to base d
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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