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The Alcohol Fuels Option in the Third World

Energy planners in developing areas have become increasingly interested in the possibility of using alcohol-either ethanol (grain alcohol) or methanol (wood alcohol) as a substitute for gasoline refined from imported oil. The most prominent example is Brazil, where there has been interest in alcohol fuels for the past fifty years, and where a serious alcohol program has been in place since 1975 (Hammond, 1977). Brazil is the leader, but not the only participant, in such work. Other Latin American countries, like Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, have expressed great interest in alcohol, and Colombia has committed itself to large-scale production of alcohol during the 1980s. Asian countries, such as Thailand and Indonesia, have investigated the option, and serious work is being done in Papua New Guinea (IEE, 1980, pp. 27-29). And, of course, planners in Third World countries are influenced by the current gasohol program in the United States, by programs in New Zealand and Australia, and by experiments with methanol in West Germany and Sweden (LEE, 1980, pp. 24-26).

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Energy Specializations: Renewables – Biofuels ; Renewables – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes: Q42: Alternative Energy Sources, Q16: Agricultural R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services, Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q24: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Land, Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy

Keywords: Alcohol, Renewable energy, Developing countries, Feedstocks

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol2-No1-7

Published in Volume 2, Number 1 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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