IICA study maintains that Argentina’s Córdoba province has the potential to expand biofuel production, as a catalyst for economic, social and environmental development
Córdoba, Argentina 14 June 2022 (IICA). The development of biofuels presents a major development opportunity for the Argentinian province of Córdoba, given that, in the coming decades, a significant spike in its consumption is expected at the global level, in order to fulfill environmental targets. These were the findings of an extensive study entitled “Desarrollo bioeconómico a través de los biocombustibles en la provincia de Córdoba: Aportes para la formulación de un plan para la aplicación de la ley provincial de biocombustibles y bioenergías” (available in Spanish only). A technical team from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) conducted the study.
The document, which was in the form of a book, was officially presented to Governor Juan Shciaretti at a public event in the city of Alta Gracia, in the presence of authorities, legislators, chamber representatives, private sector production entities and academics.
Through this study, IICA is making a concrete contribution, in light of the 2020 enactment of the provincial Law for the Promotion and Development of Biofuel and Bioenergy Production and Consumption in Córdoba. This law opens up opportunities and creates challenges for the promotion of bioeconomy development, through the intelligent and mass use of liquid biofuels and biogas. The study offers recommendations for preparing a development plan to ensure the success of the law and to capitalize on opportunities arising at the economic, environmental and social levels.
The more than 250-page document—which included contributions by renowned experts—describes the development of biofuels as an important engine that will facilitate value addition in agriculture and diversified production, while also replacing fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Argentina considers this as one of the major opportunities offered by the bioeconomy and thus is promoting smart industrialization, through the use of biological resources that are converted into value added products, such as bioproducts, bioenergy and services.
“Undoubtedly, this is an important day, not just for the present but for the future of our province, our central region and for all of Argentina’, said Governor Juan Schiaretti. He was receiving the IICA document at the “Sustainable Cordoba and Biofuels” meeting – an initiative of the province to promote a shift to the use of biofuels for government vehicles and to a new local and sustainable energy mix.
Córdoba, located in central Argentina, is one of the country’s major agricultural provinces, producing an abundant supply of soybean and corn, which are raw materials used in the production of both biodiesel and bioethanol.
Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of soybean oil and Córdoba has 102 companies of varying sizes, with a total installed capacity to process 7.3 million tons of the oil each year. On the other hand, the country positioned itself as the second largest exporter of corn in 2020, with Córdoba being the largest producer, accounting for 36% of national production last year. At the industrial level, Córdoba is the top corn ethanol producer, boasting 69% of the installed production capacity.
According to the study, “There is a surplus of installed capacity for the production of both biofuels, creating opportunities for the development of new markets, both within and outside of the country”. The mandatory blend for liquid fuels at the national level is currently a minimum 12% blend of bioethanol and a minimum 5% in the case of biodiesel, but the country’s Federal Secretariat of Energy could increase these amounts any time. The book examines courses of action and similar experiences in Brazil, Sweden, Indonesia, France and the United States.
IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, participated in the event, by way of a video from the organization’s headquarters in Costa Rica.
“The province of Córdoba is excellently positioned to capitalize on the bioeconomy in general and specifically biofuels, in particular bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas”, said Otero. “Greater consumption of bioethanol, with blends exceeding 12%, and more than 5% in the case of biodiesel, will create a series of social, environmental and financial challenges and opportunities for this province, with implications for the country and perhaps for the continent”.
In conclusion, he remarked that, “We hope that this book will prove very useful for the future that we will all have to build together. IICA will continue to be at the service of the province of Córdoba, Argentina and the countries of the Americas, providing substantial inputs to foster sustainable, competitive and inclusive development in our hemisphere”.
According to Agustín Torroba, IICA Biofuel and Bioenergy Specialist and coordinator of the document, “The expansion of liquid biofuel production in Córdoba is highly feasible and recommendable and biogas production also has tremendous potential”. He was participating in a panel discussion on the document, alongside Patrick Adam, Executive Director of the Corn Ethanol Chamber and Gustavo Idígoras, President of the Argentine Oil Industry Chamber and the Center of Grain Exporters (CIARA-CEC).
Torroba stated that, “The study demonstrates that the mass consumption of liquid biofuels creates tremendous potential to add value at source, generate local employment, substitute fossil fuel imports, stimulate growth and regional investment, as well as expand already existing investments.
The expert also commented that biofuels will play a leading role in the decarbonization of the transport sector – globally, regionally and locally.
Institutional Communication Division.