EU doubles biodiesel production in two years

By Jessica Sobolik | September 04, 2007
According to numbers released by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) in July, the European Union (EU) increased biodiesel production from 3.2 million metric tons (approximately 790 million gallons) in 2005 to nearly 4.9 million metric tons (1.2 billion gallons) in 2006. This was a 54 percent production increase, following a 65 percent increase in 2005.

EU biodiesel production tallied 1.9 million metric tons (479 million gallons) in 2004. According to the EBB, there are currently 185 fully operational biodiesel plants in the EU, and another 58 plants are under construction. This year, annual plant capacity has reached 10.2 million metric tons (2.6 billion gallons), which includes plants that have started operation but haven't produced for a full year.

In 2006, Germany was the largest biodiesel producer in the EU, followed by France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Austria. 2007 projections indicate that Italy will surpass France as the No. 2 biodiesel producer, and Spain will overtake Austria for the No. 5 spot. Finland, Hungary and Luxemburg are the only EU countries that don't produce biodiesel.

Despite the growth, the EBB warned that EU biodiesel production continues to be "strongly hindered by the lack of appropriate market measures able to create a real market for biodiesel in member states." The organization said biodiesel production may begin to stagnate in 2007 if urgent action isn't taken. One reason given for the projected drop was the U.S. B99 export subsidy, or "splash and dash" practice, as the biodiesel industry calls it. The EBB suggests the adoption of certain legislative and standardization provisions in EU member states and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) in order to meet EU biodiesel production targets in 2010 and 2020. For more information, visit
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