Saturday, February 23, 2008
It wouldn't happen overnight, and it would take a huge investment in the country's rickety sugar industry, but Cuba has the potential to produce 3.2 billion gallons of ethanol annually, according to an analysis (.pdf) by Juan Tomas Sanchez of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy. Another Cuba expert, Jorge Hernandez Fonseca, puts the figure (.pdf) closer to 2 billion gallons but even that figure would place Cuba third -- behind Brazil and the United States -- in worldwide production.
Cuba doesn't have much need for ethanol, Sanchez writes, and could export as much as 3 billion gallons a year -- worth about $7 billion at today's prices. Don't look for any of that ethanol to flow in America though. The State Department says it won't lift the trade embargo on Cuba any time soon.