June 19, 2007

Chinese ethanol production projected to increase 12 per cent in 2007

Washington, D.C. – A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Services estimates that fuel ethanol production in China will reach 1.45 million tonnes in 2007, up 12 per cent from 1.3 million tonnes in 2006. The country began official production of fuel ethanol in 2004.

Last year, the country’s National Development Reform Commission introduced a five-year plan that set a target of 5.22 million tonnes by 2010, but the State Council did not approve the plan, fearing rising food prices and the potential for a fuel-food conflict. Plans now call for an increase in tuber crops and sweet sorghum, grown on non-arable lands, for ethanol feedstocks. With the new plan, a realistic target appears to be between three and four million tonnes by 2010.

Currently, nine provinces participate in the fuel ethanol program; five of these have close to full use of E10 (10 per cent ethanol), while four provinces have only partly adopted the product. China primarily uses diesel fuel, and in 2006 consumed 120 million tonnes of diesel and 40 million tonnes of unblended gasoline. The country has no national standard on biodiesel used as a transportation fuel, and currently has no national or provincial programs to promote its use.

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