October 19, 2007

Current worldwide production of biodiesel meets only five percent of demand for petroleum diesel

Madison, Wisconsin – Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies have concluded that there is a current upper limit production potential of 51 billion litres of biodiesel from 119 countries worldwide, according to a report by the Green Car Congress. Of that, 47 billion litres could be produced profitably at today’s import prices, meeting roughly four to five percent of the world’s existing demand for petroleum diesel.

The researchers also concluded that a 12-fold increase over the existing potential is possible through the increase of agricultural yields, primarily by improving the management of tropical oilseeds. The total potential volume could reach 605 billion litres per year, distributed over 106 countries, mostly due to better management of palm and coconut oilseeds. Almost 75 per cent of the potential volume from increased yields would come from Malaysia and Indonesia.

The researchers note that the top ten countries by biodiesel potential, in order, are Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina, United States, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, Philippines, Belgium and Spain. The production cost per litre varies from as low as US$0.53, in Malaysia and the Philippines, to US$1.71 in Spain.

Overall, the study ranked Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia, Uruguay and Ghana as the developing nations most likely to attract biodiesel investment, due to their strong agricultural industries, relative stability and lack of debt.

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