Massive increase in global biofuel production
Global biodiesel production has increased ten-fold to 10.9bn litres per year
over the last eight years and could double by 2012, according to a new report.
The review of 21 key biofuel producing countries by the International Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Task 39 also reveals bioethanol production has increased significantly, from less than
20bn litres per year in 2000 to 66bn litres per year by 2008.
Much of the growth in both fuel types is happening in just three countries; the
, which together account for over half of biodiesel and more than three-quarters
of bioethanol production.
is ranked the sixth largest biodiesel producer at 347m litres per year, and
ninth-biggest bioethanol producer at 153m litres, just ahead of
The IEA report suggests if recent trends continue, world production of biodiesel could
top 20bn litres per year by 2012, while bioethanol production could exceed 90bn
However, it acknowledges biofuel policies around the world are moving away from
a focus on production capacity towards ways of solving questions over economic
and ecological sustainability.
The UK government, for example, is investigating carbon reduction targets instead
of volume targets for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation beyond 2010/2011 and in the US ethanol production from corn will be capped at
56.8m litres per year from 2015 (22m litres more than 2008).
New conventional first-generation facilities in the
will also be subject to tight environmental regulations. Advanced second-generation
biofuel production is expected to increase considerably from the 2.3m litres required
in 2009 as a result.
Only Brazil has a “business as usual” approach to growing its biofuel production,
but even here the report says problems with managing the waste from sugar cane
processing are pushing people towards second generation technology.
Annual biofuel production
Biodiesel (million litres)
Bioethanol (million litres)
Source: IEA Bioenergy Task 39 http://www.task39.org/