China works to increase biofuels production, use

By | August 01, 2005
Despite a recent unexplained drop of 1 percent in China's oil consumption, fuel shortage is still a primary driver influencing China's launch into biofuels production. With upwards of 1.2 billion people in the country, China now has close to 30 million automobiles on its roads. Use of petroleum increased 11 percent in 2003 and 15 percent in 2004. Its oil imports are second in the world; the Chinese are consuming petroleum products at a rate increasing faster than any other country. Some analysts venture to say that China is one of the reasons international oil prices exceeded $60 per barrel recently.

To help curb the increase in fossil petroleum use, a petroleum tax may be issued soon; currently there is only a consumption tax that is 3 percent of the pump price. There is also a campaign to encourage the purchase of energy efficient vehicles.

The latest in biodiesel production technologies is being sought by potential biodiesel producers in the effort to reduce China's consumption and dependence on fossil fuels in their diesel transportation vehicles.

Professor Dehau Liu of Tsinghua University in Beijing spoke at the recent International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo in Kansas City, Mo., and noted that a specification and incentive policy on biodiesel has now been issued and that a few small plants have been built. These are the initial steps toward what one day should be a significant biodiesel industry in China.

If China maintains its current vehicle structure and fuel consumption, approximately 100 million vehicles will be on the roads, and 228 million tons of gasoline and diesel will be consumed in 2020. The need to produce reliable sources of domestic, renewable diesel is evident.
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