Russia, Eastern Europe to supply European biodiesel feestock demand

By | April 25, 2007
Eastern Europe and Russia are rich in resources, and the European Union and various multinational companies are starting to view the region as a source for biodiesel feedstocks.

A biodiesel production facility in Pritzwalk, Germany, owned by European Oil Products Biodiesel AG (EOPB), is now receiving rapeseed oil from Baltic Holding Company, an oil mill in Liepaia, Latvia. "We have thereby not only expanded our raw material base, but in the future we will also be supplying biodiesel to the Baltic and in that way boost our export business," said EOPB CEO Sven Schön.

Similarly, Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) fully acquired Ilitchevskiy Maslo Extractionniy Zavod (IMEZ), a company that operates a sunflower-seed-crushing facility close to the port of Odessa in the Ukraine, and in March, ADM bought out former partner Risoil S.A., a Swiss sunflower seed processor. "The IMEZ facility at Illitchevsk complements our global asset base in an important origination location," said Mark Zenuk, ADM vice president and managing director for Europe and Asia.

Ukraine harvests approximately 5 million metric tons of sunflower seeds per year; its production is second only to the Russian Federation. The Ukraine government recently endorsed a Program of Diesel Biofuel Production Development, intended to promote the construction of biodiesel plants and to increase rapeseed production on farms.

Feedstock or refined biodiesel may also come from Russia. Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev told attendees of the International Green Week 2007 forum in Berlin, Germany, that Russia could expand growth of crops for energy production, such as rapeseed, and supply it to the European Union. "We currently have 20 million hectares (49.4 million acres) of productive arable land, which is not being used," he said, noting that Russia's potential biofuels production is comparable with that of the United States. "We are ready to offer our help to the European community as a supplier of biomass and, in the not-too-distant future, as a producer of biofuel," he said.
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