Development of Biodiesel in China

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Compared with European and American countries, China’s biodiesel industry developed late and started during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period. Some private enterprises mainly used traditional chemical methods to produce biodiesel from waste oils and fats. In 2001, the first biodiesel plant invested by Hainan Zhenghe Bioenergy Company was put into production in Wu’an, Hebei Province, announcing that China’s biodiesel industry has begun to enter the process of industrialization. In 2004, the Ministry of Science and Technology launched the “Biofuel Oil Technology Development” project of the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” of the National Science and Technology Research Program and incorporated the related research topics of biodiesel. Since then, China’s biodiesel industry has entered a stage of accelerated development, and a large number of enterprises have actively built biodiesel projects with a capacity of tens of thousands of tons per year. In addition to utilizing waste oils and fats, a woody oil plant planting base has also been set up. In 2007, the National Development and Reform Commission approved three demonstration projects of small Tung biodiesel industrialization in three major oil companies, PetroChina, Sinopec, and CNOOC, with an annual production capacity of 50,000-60,000 tons. In the same year, China also took an important step in the formulation of biodiesel standards. The first national standard “Diesel Fuel Blending and Biodiesel B100” was promulgated. In 2010, the standard “Biodiesel B5” was promulgated. Since its publication, the two standards have been revised in 2014, adding a number of technical indicators, gradually approaching the European and American standards. At the same time, China’s biodiesel market has also promoted the healthy development of China’s biodiesel industry. In 2011, in order to further promote the healthy development of the biodiesel industry, China issued a preferential policy for biodiesel enterprises, stipulating that enterprises that produce biodiesel mainly from waste oils such as sewage oil shall be exempted from fuel consumption tax. In 2014, the fourth batch of pilot projects on the recycling and harmless treatment of kitchen waste has been carried out in China. A total of 83 cities have been included in this work, which has improved the shortage of biodiesel oil raw materials to a certain extent.

Figure 1 shows China’s biodiesel production from 2006 to 2014. In the past three years, thanks to striking the reflux table phenomenon of gutter oil and strengthening the supervision of waste oil recovery, the production of biodiesel in China has been significantly improved. In 2014, China’s biodiesel production reached 1.13 billion liters, an increase of 5% compared with 2013. At present, there are 53 biodiesel production factories in China, with a capacity of about 4 billion liters. However, compared with the production capacity and output (Table 1), the utilization rate of biodiesel production capacity in China has been relatively low over the years, less than 28%, which is mainly due to the shortage of oil raw materials and limited product sales. At present, biodiesel has not been forced into the sales system of refined oil in China, so the vigorous development of the biodiesel industry in China still needs to be further improved and strengthened by the national supervision and support.

Table 1 Quantity and capacity utilization of biodiesel manufacturers in China over the years (2006-2014年)Table 1 The annual number of biodiesel plants and capacity utilization in China,2006-2014

Year Number of biodiesel plants Production capacity (Million liters) Capacity use (%)
2006 65 1 761 15.5
2007 96 3 124 11.3
2008 84 3 351 15.9
2009 62 2 670 22.1
2010 45 2 556 22.2
2011 49 3 400 21.7
2012 52 3 600 25.3
2013 53 4 000 27.0
2014 53 4 000 28.3


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