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Fresh Updates and News on Bio Diesel and Renewable Fuel Products and Industry

US – Domestic fuel increase through 2030

The US DOE’s Energy Information Administration predicts that American consumption of liquid fuel will increase by a mere one million barrels each day through to 2030 and that bio-fuels will provide enough supply to meet the demand, reports.

Increased use of domestically-produced bio-fuels will also contribute to an almost 10% decline in liquid fuels imports by 2030. According to the EIA’s 2009 Annual Energy Outlook, petroleum prices will continue to drive the rate at which renewable fuels are consumed. Overall oil consumption shows no growth between 2007 and 2030 as a result of increasing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and increased requirements for renewable fuels.

However one EIA model shows that if oil-producing countries rapidly expand their petroleum output to keep oil per barrel prices low, bio-fuel consumption might only reach 27 billion gallons by 2030. On the other end of the scale, the EIA’s high oil price model predicts that if oil producers maintain tight control over their supply and prices increase to near $200 per barrel in 2030, total bio-fuel consumption could reach 40 billion gallons.

In Oregon, Chemeketa Community College, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and Wildwood have proposed a $10 million pilot-scale bio-fuels plant and training facility at Mill Creek Junction, near Salem, Biofuels Digest reports. The proposed project is co-located with the state’s largest commercial bio-diesel plant, Sequential-Pacific Biodiesel.

The facility would produce up to 432,000 gallons of bio-fuels and 660 kilowatts of power, and include training and R&D facilities, and would create up to 450 jobs within the state. The facility would work with agri-waste, algae and woody waste as feedstocks.

Snohomish County is going ahead with plans to get into the bio-diesel business, King 5 News reports. The county has plans to produce enough bio-diesel to eventually fuel its entire fleet of vehicles.

Just this weekend Seattle bio-diesel producers and consumers met to discuss the steady decline of the industry. International markets are forcing up the costs of materials to make bio-diesel at a time when oil and gas prices are going down.

Supporters of Snohomish County's plan say they can avoid those problems by keeping it local. A County Councilman told King 5 their plan would use canola grown by local farmers, heated in the County's own seed driers which would be fuelled by methane gas captured from an old landfill near Everett.

Investment experts and bio-fuel industry representatives are criticizing a $176-million, two-year California plan to reduce transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by subsidizing a range of alternative fuels and vehicles, claiming the initiative allocates a large chunk of money for unproven hydrogen and electric drive-train technologies, Carbon Control News reports.

These critics charge the plan undervalues many technologies that could significantly reduce transportation GHG emissions in the near-term, such as increasing the use of renewable and biomass-based fuels. California's plan to advance alternative fuels and vehicles -- including prioritizing which technologies to fund at $800 million over the next six years -- may serve as a model for other states and the federal government, as officials look to cut transportation GHGs, increase energy efficiency and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Iowa energy officials have approved more than $2 million for an effort to grow algae at a southwest Iowa ethanol plant and use the material to make fuel, Fox News reports.

The 18-member Iowa Power Fund Board approved the grant this week to assist in the commercialization of algae production technology. (14 April 2009)

Malaysia's B5 scheme may use up 3pc of palm oil output

23/03/2009 (Business Times, Malaysia) - MALAYSIA is expected to consume 500,000 tonnes of palm oil, or 3 per cent, of national crude palm oil (CPO) production, when it fully implements blended biodiesel programme by early 2010, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said.

Also called the B5 programme, use of blended biodiesel has started with government agencies and will be extended to the industrial and mass transport sectors later.

In a recent interview with the World Refining Association, ahead of the Asian Biofuels Roundtable which will take place in Kuala Lumpur from today to Wednesday, Chin said the government is also working with Petronas to enable some retail stations to supply B5 to the agencies.

Malaysia started the B5 programme on February 1 2009 with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur and the Armed Forces, in the central region.

"Discussions with the biodiesel producers and petroleum companies are ongoing on areas critical to the implementation, namely logistics and financing mechanism," Chin said.

He said challenges facing the biofuel industry this year include exports of subsidised US biodiesel to EU which distort prices and trade, the EU energy directive, and the global economic slowdown.

Last year, Malaysia exported 182,108 tonnes of palm methyl ester (PME), or palm diesel, valued at RM610.7 million. In January this year, it exported 12,731 tonnes of PME valued at RM30.19 million.

On the impact of the global economic crisis, Chin said the sharp drop in CPO prices, coupled with the global financial crisis, could slow the development of the biofuel industry in terms of stalling new investments.

"The Malaysian biodiesel industry has both the production capacity to a tune of 1.67 million tonnes and feedstock available to meet market demand both in the domestic and world market."

To reduce the current oversupply of palm oil and help support palm oil prices, Malaysia has also launched the RM200 million Oil Palm Replanting Incentive Scheme to reduce the nation's high palm oil stock to ensure the stability of palm oil prices.

The scheme is aimed at felling 200,000ha of oil palm trees aged 25 years and above, which will reduce palm oil supply by 700,000 tonnes annually in the short term. It has to date approved 63,000ha under the scheme, which closes at the end of June.

Chin said the quantum of CPO duty free exports has been increased to three million tonnes this year to cater to markets which prefer CPO while encouraging offtakes would also reduce stocks in the short term.

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