OAS, Guatemala Promote Ethanol Use

guatemala-oas7 August 2014: The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Guatemala have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement a pilot project on the blending and use of ethanol, and to support the formation a Technical Unit on Biofuels. The project could result in savings of nearly US$104 million in oil imports for Guatemala.

Under the MoU, signed on 7 August in Guatemala City, the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines and OAS will jointly promote the initiative that aims to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by assessing the environmental and mechanical performance of biofuels in a sample of 20-25 cars running on different percentages of ethanol and petroleum blend fuels. The project is carried out under a framework of a cooperation agreement supported by the US and Brazil promoting the development of biofuels in the region.

The Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Section of the OAS Department of Sustainable Development will be responsible for the financial management, technology identification and recruitment of consultants for the pilot project. The Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines will provide the physical space and scientists.

The results of the project will be publicized in a report aimed at informing the public about the benefits and challenges of ethanol use. The pilot project will also enable the establishment of a national programme for ethanol use.

Guatemala produces 250 million litres of fuel ethanol per year, of which nearly 90% is exported. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, an ethanol blend of 10% in all gasoline used in the country would only require 136 million litres of ethanol per year. In 2013, Guatemala's gasoline import bill totalled US$1,042 million. [OAS Press Release] [OAS Website] [Ministry of Energy and Mines of Guatemala Press Release (Spanish)]