EBB publishes annual biodiesel statistics

By Erin Voegele | July 13, 2010
Posted July 26, 2010

New statistics published by the European Biodiesel Board on July 22 show that while the growth rate in the European biodiesel market has slowed, the region still reigns as the world's largest biodiesel producer. According to the EBB, 9 million metric tons (2.7 billion gallons) of biodiesel was produced in the EU during 2009. This means nearly two-thirds of the region's 22 million ton (6.6 billion gallon) production capacity sat idle.

Overall, the EU's 2009 production increased 16.6 percent over the previous year. This is in line with the 16 percent production increase recorded in 2007, but well below the respective 35 percent, 54 percent and 65 percent increases experienced in 2008, 2006 and 2005. However, production did not increase in all EU member countries. Biodiesel production actually decreased last year in Germany, Greece, and the UK. However, those decreases were more than set off by production increases in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Currently, the EU's top three biodiesel producing countries include Germany, France and Spain.

Biodiesel still comprises the majority of Europe's biofuel production, accounting for 75 percent of the biofuels produced in 2009. As of July 2010, 245 biodiesel production facilities exist in the EU. According to the EBB, this is a slight decrease from last year's count, and can primarily be attributed to reorganization in the sector.

The EBB's July 22 release also addressed unfair trade practices currently plaguing the EU's biodiesel industry. According to the EBB, biodiesel exports from Argentina are currently causing economic hardship to producers, similar to the impact of U.S. biodiesel in 2007. The influx of Argentinean biodiesel into the European market is primarily attributed to an export tax scheme that levies a disproportionately higher tax on soybean oil exports when compared to the tax levied against biodiesel. The EBB said this issue is intensified by an EU policy that allow Argentinean, Malaysian and Indonesian biodiesel to enter the European marketplace duty free. Approximately 850,000 metric tons (255 million gallons) of Argentinean biodiesel entered the EU in 2009, with an additional 260,000 metric tons (78 million gallons) entering the European market during the first quarter of 2010.

Click here to read the full copy of the EBB's report.
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