Motley Fool  Nov 14  Comment 
The rendering and biodiesel company's quarterly net loss isn't what it seems. Here's why.
Motley Fool  Nov 13  Comment 
Don't let the net loss fool you; The rendering and biodiesel company announced strong third-quarter results.  Nov 12  Comment 
BDI - BioEnergy International AG starts new business field BioLife Science and receives further major BioDiesel contract DGAP-News: BDI - BioEnergy International AG / Key word(s): Quarter Results BDI - BioEnergy International AG starts new...
Reuters  Nov 6  Comment 
Indonesia's government needs to increase subsidies for biodiesel fuel so it can be sold cheaper than regular diesel if a push to increase the take-up of biofuel is to succeed, an automobile association said on Friday.
Biomass Magazine  Nov 3  Comment 
During a press conference in late October at its Sète site in the South of France, Avril Group subsidiary Saipol announced two major industrial investments in the French biodiesel sector totaling 28.5 million euros.
Biomass Magazine  Nov 2  Comment 
A recent national survey shows that biodiesel is an increasingly popular alternative fuel and that support for a renewable fuel standard (RFS) is on the rise.
Biomass Magazine  Oct 27  Comment 
Agreeing to respectfully disagree was one of few assenting points reached by association heads representing the biodiesel, ethanol and advanced biofuel groups during a candid debate about the renewable fuel standard (RFS).
Biomass Magazine  Oct 22  Comment 
As the legislative year winds down, Congress is expected to take up the tax extenders package soon. The Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) has taken a stance opposing restructuring the $1 per gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit.
Biomass Magazine  Oct 7  Comment 
The contract between Hawaiian Electric and Pacific Biodiesel Technologies to supply biodiesel for Oahu power generators has been approved by Hawaii regulators.
Bulk Transporter  Sep 30  Comment 
In a fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California’s Air Resources Board has spent years looking for the cleanest, most efficient ways to cut carbon. Turns out, biodiesel is at the top of the list. Recently, the board finalized...

Biodiesel is a nearly perfect substitute to petroleum derived diesel fuel. It is derived from the transesterification of biogenic oils such as vegetable oil and animal fats. The US biodiesel industry is burgeoning- it has tripled each year during the past few years. So much so, in fact, that vegetable oil prices, which account for around 80% of production costs, have almost become prohibitive to biodiesel's production as demand for biogenic oils - mainly soybean, palm, and rapeseed (canola) - has pushed their prices to unprofitable levels. Biodiesel has a well defined place in a sustainable energy portfolio, but the nascent biodiesel industry has a long way to go.

State of the Industry

Recent Soybean Oil Prices
Recent Soybean Oil Prices

The National Biodiesel Board(NBB) just published the latest US biodiesel capacity numbers. 148 existing plants are reported (up from 105 in January 2007), for a total of 1.39 billion gallons/year of capacity. 96 new projects, and 5 expansions are currently underway, which will account for 1.89 billion gpy of capacity when they come online by the end of 2008. Here are the maps: existing and in construction.

The total is 3.28 billion gallons. This is a nameplate capacity: the output possible when running 24/7, 350 days/year. Collectively, US biodiesel plants run at about 25% of their capacity, a severe underutilization of assets. To put that 3.28 billion gallons per year capacity in perspective, at full capacity it would replace 5.1% of US diesel consumption, take up 126% of US soy oil production, take up 113% of all US vegetable oil production, and take up 84% of all US animal fat and vegetable oil production.

Future Developments

Food for Fuel

Clearly, biodiesel demand pushes up food prices. High oil prices, and subsequently biofuel prices, will cause food prices to rise, potentially pricing out poor people. This effect is well recognized, and many countries, including China, have set limitations on biofuels to combat the possibility of hunger problems resulting from biofuels.

Carbon Credits

Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions significantly- 70% is a frequently quoted percentage reduction of carbon emissions. The reduction won't approach 100% any time soon- it takes fertilizers, diesel tractors, petroleum powered transportation measures, and methanol to get biodiesel to the pump. However, [Carbon Trading] has the potential to benefit biodiesel producers immensely- on an energy basis, substituting a gallon equivalent of biodiesel for diesel (biodiesel has about 92% of the energy content of petroleum diesel) saves about 6.5 kg of CO2 emissions. It takes about 150 gallons to eliminate a metric ton (mt, or 1000kg) of CO2 emissions, making the roughly $4/mt carbon credit that the Chicago Climate Exchange offers reduce the price of a gallon of biodiesel by a mere 2.6 cents. To eliminate the need for the $1/gallon subsidy currently in place, the price of a ton of CO2 would have to be about $150.

Alternative Feedstocks

In its current form, the biodiesel market scope is small. For the long term, soybean, rapeseed, and palm biodiesel are not great solutions: soybean and rapeseed crops compete with food and have low oil/area yields relative to plants like palm and jatropha. Palm oil is a great feedstock, however it is currently being developed in a highly unsustainable form: deforesting land for palm oil production. It takes many decades to recapture the carbon emitted from forest destruction by planting biodiesel crops. Renewable fuels must become globally traded commodities if they are to have any significant impact on the world's energy portfolio.

Who stands to benefit

Companies who have their hands in jatropha plantations and those with logistics favorable to an international oilcrop market.

Who stands to lose

Companies in the middle of Iowa.

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