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

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.

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

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.

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).

Research Methodology

Coherent Market Insights followsa comprehensive research methodology focused on providing the most precise market analysis. The company leverages a data triangulation model which helps company to gauge the market dynamics and provide accurate estimates. Key components of the research methodologies followed for all our market reports include:

  • Primary Research (Trade Surveys and Experts Interviews)
  • Desk Research
  • Proprietor Data Analytics Model

In addition to this, Coherent Market Insights has access to a wide range of the regional and global reputed paid data bases, which helps the company to figure out the regional and global market trends and dynamics. The company analyses the industry from the 360 Degree Perspective i.e. from the Supply Side and Demand Side which enables us to provide granular details of the entire ecosystem for each study. Finally, a Top-Down approach and Bottom-Up approach is followed to arrive at ultimate research findings.


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Coherent Market Insights desk research is based on a principle set of research techniques:

  • National level desk research: It Includes research analysis of regional players, regional regulatory bodies, regional trade associations, and regional organization.
  • Multinational level desk research: The research team keeps a track of multinational players, global regulatory bodies, global trade associations, and global organization.

Coherent Market Insights has a large amount of in-house repository of industry database. This is leveraged as a burner for initiating a new research study. Key secondary sources include:

  • Governmental bodies, National and international social welfare institutions, and organizations creating economic policies among others.
  • Trade association, National and international media and trade press.
  • Company Annual reports, SEC filings, Corporate Presentations, press release, news, and specification sheet of manufacturers, system integrators, brick and mortar - distributors and retailers, and third party online commerce players.
  • Scientific journals, and other technical magazines and whitepapers.
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Preliminary Data Mining

The raw data is obtained through the secondary findings, in house repositories, and trade surveys. It is then filtered to ensure that the relevant information including industry dynamics, trends, and outlook is retained for further research process.

Data Standardization:

Holistic approach is used to ensure that the granular and uncommon parameters are taken into consideration to ensure accurate results. The information from the paid databases are further combined to the raw data in order to standardize it.

Coherent Statistical model

We arrive at our final research findings through simulation models. Coherent Data Analytics Model is a statistical tool that helps company to forecast market estimates. Few of the parameters considered as a part of the statistical model include:

  • Micro-economic indicators
  • Macro-economic indicators
  • Environmental indicators
  • Socio-political indicators
  • Technology indicators

Data Processing

Once the findings are derived from the statistical model, large volume of data is process to confirm accurate research results. Data analytics and processing tools are adopted to process large chunk of collected informative data. In case, a client customizes the study during the process, the research finding till then are benchmarked, and the process for new research requirement is initiated again.

Data Validation

This is the most crucial stage of the research process. Primary Interviews are conducted to validate the data and analysis. This helps in achieving the following purposes:

  • It provides first-hand information on the market dynamics, outlook, and growth parameters.
  • Industry experts validates the estimates which helps the company to cement the on-going research study.
  • Primary research includes online surveys, face-to face interviews, and telephonic interviews.

The primary research is conducted with the ecosystem players including, but not limited to:

  • Raw Material Suppliers
  • Manufacturers
  • System Integrators
  • Distributors
  • End-users

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