2023 Global Ethanol Summit: Taiwan and U.S. Look Forward to Deepening Cooperation on Climate Change Issues

Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of USDA, has a side meeting with the Taiwan delegation during the 2023 Global Ethanol Summit. (Source: U.S. Grains Council)

The U.S. Grains Council's 2023 Global Ethanol Summit (GES) was held in Washington, D.C., from October 16 to 18. 350 senior officials and industry, academia, and research leaders from more than 40 countries attended the event to explore the latest trends in the application of low-carbon gasoline (a gasoline blended with bioethanol) and successful experiences from various countries. The Taiwan delegation, comprised of government officials and think tank and industry experts, was also invited to participate in the GES. A side meeting was arranged with Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to discuss the possibility of expanding the use of E3 gasoline in Taiwan to E10 in order to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan cooperation in response to climate change. As a post-summit tour, the delegation visited the bioethanol industry chain in North Dakota to understand the economic value and carbon reduction benefits of adopting low-carbon gasoline.

The Taiwan delegation was led by Su Jin-Sheng, Director of the Office of Energy and Carbon Reduction, Executive Yuan, and comprised of Chern Jyuung-Shiauu, Section Technical Specialist of the Energy Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs; Hsu Chung-Hao, Section Chief of the Department of Atmospheric Environment, Ministry of Environment; Wang Shu-Li, Division Director of Refining and Manufacturing Research Institute, CPC Corporation; and Tsai Jiun-Horng, Chairman of the Environment and Development Foundation. At the summit, the delegation learned from global policy makers and low-carbon gasoline experts about policies and industry trends, and discussed how to apply them to improve Taiwan's pathways toward the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal.

The GES served as a platform for successful experiences sharing by many countries and covered a wide range of topics, including sustainable aviation and marine fuels, infrastructure and vehicle compatibility, and impacts on the environment and human health.

USDA: U.S. is willing to assist Taiwan in implementing E10 Pilot Program

Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of USDA, mentioned in a side meeting with the Taiwan delegation that the electrification of transportation vehicles is a global trend, but countries also recognize the importance of diversifying carbon reduction pathways, and that low-carbon gasoline blended with bioethanol has been used in the U.S. for many years, and it is an immediate and effective solution to reduce emissions. He also said that bioethanol has been widely used in the U.S. for decades to replace environmentally harmful MTBE, and he is pleased to work closely with Taiwan under the U.S.-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative framework in response to climate change, to assist Taiwan in implementing the E10 Pilot Program, which is one of the diversified carbon-reducing pathways to help Taiwan achieve net-zero emissions.

After the summit, the Taiwan delegation traveled to North Dakota to visit the industrial chain of bioethanol, from corn harvesting, factory production, transportation, and storage to the retail at gas station. After being warmly welcomed by Jean Henning, Executive Director of the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, the Taiwan delegation met with Carson Klosterman, a local corn farmer and Vice President of the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, Hankinson Renewable Energy, a bioethanol manufacturer, David Ripplinger, a bioenergy economist at North Dakota State University, and Kent Satrang, CEO of PetroServe USA, to discussed the latest technology in how emission reduction is synchronized with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in the bioethanol production process.

Taiwan to consider evaluating the feasibility of E10 adoption

Su Jin-Sheng said that the Taiwan government is actively aligning with new international standards for the supply chain, and is also striving to explore opportunities for cooperation and development with international partners who share common value.

“I will also share the experience from this trip with relevant ministries and am pleased to see that Taiwan and the U.S. can further ties on promoting a diversified energy and carbon reduction pathway”, Su added.

Chern Jyuung-Shiauu said that he was invited to the Ethanol Summit of the Americas in 2017 as Chairman of the Energy Working Group (EWG) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to report on the "APEC Ethanol Pathway" prepared by EWG.

The GES this year was a good opportunity for him to brush up on his knowledge on technological advancement of ethanol, which could be used as a reference for promoting a diversified carbon reduction policy in the Asia-Pacific region, Chern added.

Wang Shu-Li said that although Taiwan has 14 E3 gas stations and the sales volume of ethanol gasoline is only 285 kiloliters per month, it is still a good basis for the transition to E10.

Wang said the exchanges with experts from different countries were fruitful and the GES provided a lot of latest information on ethanol, which can be used to consider evaluating the feasibility of introducing E10 after overcoming the difficulties in domestic transportation, storage, blending, and increasing public acceptance.

U.S. Grains Council Taiwan Director Michael Lu said that he hoped that he Taiwan delegation could fully understand the practical benefits of bioethanol from the policy, technical, and economic perspectives through this trip. Low-carbon gasoline blended with bioethanol can enable existing fuel vehicles to immediately contribute to emissions cut and maintain Taiwan's engine industry advantage. It is suggested that the government should also consider low-carbon gasoline a strategy for ensuring just transition in carrying out the climate change policies.