Tuesday, September 05, 2006

They make that now, too?

China is sating America's appetite for ethanol by exporting the biofuel to our shores. From Reuters:

China is unexpectedly emerging as a major exporter of ethanol as record-high crude oil prices and a U.S. deficit in the biofuel have pushed up its international price, triggering an investment boom.

Industry officials said China's 2006 exports of ethanol, or ethyl alcohol made largely from corn or cassava, were set to exceed 500,000 tonnes (625 million liters or about 11,000 barrels per day).

Shipments may reach 900,000 tonnes (1.13 billion liters or 19,000 bpd), some traders say. It had virtually no ethanol exports for fuel last year.

Most of the ethanol cargoes go directly or indirectly to the United States due to a switch this year to use ethanol as an additive for cleaner gasoline. Some are dehydrated in Caribbean countries for use in the U.S., helped by favorable taxes.

Apparently, China is taking advantage of a window of opportunity to supply the US with the ethanol it currently needs but has not yet produced. I did not know that China was the third largest ethanol producer behind US and Brazil until reading this article.