Ethanol Market - Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2016–2024

 Rupesh Dhiwar

Ethanol Market Overview

Ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is a colorless liquid manufactured from starch-based, sugar-based or cellulosic feedstock. The U.S. and Brazil are the major producers of ethanol. Corn is the major feedstock used in the production of ethanol in the U.S., while ethanol is produced from sugarcane in Brazil. According to Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), 25,576 million gallons of fuel ethanol was produced in 2015. According to Sucres & Denrées (Paris), approximately 110 billion litres of ethanol is consumed globally each year. Ethanol has wide range of applications such as biofuel, industrial, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Approximately 87% of the global ethanol is used in producing biofuels. The environmental concerns related to greenhouse emissions have resulted in use of ethanol to produce transport fuels. The U.S., Brazil, and Europe are the major producers and consumers of ethanol. According to RFA, the gross output of ethanol industry in the U.S. was US$ 23.33 billion in 2016. Growth of ethanol market in Asia Pacific is attributed to increasing consumption of biofuels. According to International Energy Agency, the biofuel market in road transport application is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 3.9% by 2020. This in turn is projected to fuel growth of the ethanol market.

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Global Ethanol Market Taxonomy

The global ethanol market is classified on the basis of the following segments:

  • Process

    • Wet-milling

    • Dry-milling

  • Product Type

    • Synthetic ethanol

      • Oil derivatives

      • Coal

      • Others

    • Agricultural ethanol

      • Sugarcane

      • Sugarbeet

      • Maize

      • Wheat

      • Rye

      • Others

  • Application

    • Fuels

    • Industrial

    • Pharmaceutical

    • Food & beverages

    • Cosmetics

    • Others

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Prevalent Scenario in Ethanol Market

Increased applications of ethanol in biofuels, industrial, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food & beverages sectors lead to burgeoning growth of the ethanol market. According to Independent Chemical Information Service (ICIS), 73% of ethanol is used as fuel, 17% in beverages and 10% of ethanol is used for industrial applications. Increasing demand of biofuels is fueling growth in consumption of ethanol in the renewable fuel energy sector. According to State Council General Research Office, the U.S. government is promoting use of ethanol as a source of renewable fuel and creating awareness regarding the environmental and social benefits of gasoline. Corn, sugarcane, grains, sugarbeet are common sources for manufacturing agricultural ethanol. Ethanol used for in fuel applications are agricultural ethanol as synthetic ethanol is not used for fuel applications. Ethanol is used as solvents in industrial applications for wide range of end users which include cosmetics, detergents and cleaning products, printing ink, paint & coatings. Ethanol has its application in food & beverage sector in manufacturing vinegar, alcoholic beverages, and is also used as glazing agents in bakery & confectionery.

Government initiatives play a vital role in development and innovation of ethanol for wide range of applications. For instance, the fuel regulations imposed by the government in Mexico allowed 5.8% of ethanol blends in the fuel supply. The government and ethanol associations are continuously working in coordination to fuel the growth of ethanol market. RFA in partnership with federal government and the industry key players are working to innovate new applications of ethanol and minimize the difficulties related to trade of ethanol and enhance the market growth globally. U.S. and Brazil contributes a major market share in production and consumption of ethanol. Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow due to growing applications of ethanol industrial chemicals to manufacture acetic acid and ethyl acetate and the increasing applications of ethanol as solvents in pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors.

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Fragmented Market

The global ethanol market is highly fragmented due to the participation of many established and emerging players in the ethanol industry. Major players involved in the market include Archer Daniels Midland Company (U.S.), Cargill, Inc. (U.S.), Grain Processing Corporation (U.S.), Ace Ethanol LLC (USA), Advanced BioEnergy, LLC (USA), Chemtex Group (USA), MGP Ingredients (U.S.), Flint Hills Resources LP (USA), Copersucar SA (Brazil), Adkins Energy LLC (USA).

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