Biodiesel production will increase more than 20% in 2011

According to Argentina’s Renewable Energies Chamber (CADER), installed biodiesel production capacity will exceed 3 million tonnes by year end, more than 500 thousand tonnes higher than in 2010, when it amounted to 2.4 million tonnes.
Biodiesel production will increase more than 20% in 2011

The expected increase in total biodiesel production capacity is due to Explora, S.A. boosting its capacity from 120 thousand to 240 thousand tonnes, while Rosario Bio Energy, S.A. has ramped up output from 36 thousand to 49 thousand tonnes. Three new plants are also due to come on line: one owned by Cargill with a capacity of 240 thousand tonnes, another by Unitec Bio, S.A. (220 thousand tonnes), and a third by B.H. Biocombustibles, S.R.L. (4 thousand tonnes).

Late last year, the three most important biodiesel companies in terms of annual production capacity were Renova, S.A., with 480 thousand tonnes; LDC Argentina, S.A., with 305 thousand tonnes; and Patagonia Bioenergía, S.A., with 250 thousand tonnes.

These were followed by Ecofuel, S.A., with 240 thousand tonnes; Unitec Bio, S.A., 230,000 tonnes; and Viluco, S.A., 200 thousand tonnes. Combined, the six companies accounted for 1.7 million tonnes, 69% of the country’s entire capacity.

Geographically, estimates for this year show that Santa Fe will be the leading province, ending the year with a capacity of 2.46 million tonnes, 80% of the country’s total. Some way behind will be Buenos Aires, with a capacity of 258.2 thousand tonnes (8%), and Santiago del Estero, with 200 thousand tonnes or 7% of Argentina’s total capacity.

The figures released by CADER highlight the impressive growth of Argentina’s biodiesel industry since 2006, when it had a capacity of just 130 thousand tonnes – some 24 times less than today.

The average size of biodiesel plants in the country is also noteworthy, standing at 110,000 tonnes compared to the average size in the European Union of 89,400 tonnes, 70,450 tonnes in Brazil and 46,400 tonnes in the United States.

According to the ranking presented by CADER, Argentina occupied seventh place in the global biodiesel production tables in 2007, rising to fifth place in 2008 and 2009. It was forecast that it would move up one place in 2010, but in light of the recent estimates for this year, third place in the ranking is expected.

In terms of installed capacity worldwide, the CADER report notes that the European Union reached a capacity of almost 22 million tonnes last year; led by Germany with 4.9 million tonnes, Spain (4.1 million tonnes), France (2.5 million tonnes), Italy (2.3 million tonnes) and the Netherlands (1 million tonnes). However, European biodiesel production in 2009 only amounted to just over 9 million tonnes, just 43% of its total capacity.

Over the past year, Argentina exported 51% of its total biodiesel output (1.26 million tonnes). The regulatory obligation introduced in Argentina in July 2010 requiring diesel to be mixed with 7% biodiesel accounted for 43% (1.07 million tonnes) of the remaining output, while the rest was used by a new market for biodiesel to generate electricity, which is estimated to amount to 150,000 tonnes.

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