Biodiesel was first invented in 1988 by the German company Niel. Biodiesel, with its outstanding “environmental protection” and “reproducibility”, has attracted the attention of the developed countries, especially the resource-poor countries. At present, it has formed three major biodiesel production bases around the rich area of several main oil raw materials, and gradually spread to the world. In the era of “low-carbon economy” with low consumption, low emission, and low pollution, it is a sustainable way to develop the biodiesel industry.
1.Source of raw materials for foreign biodiesel production
In the world, the raw materials for biodiesel production mainly include vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil, palm oil, and sunflower oil, as well as domestic and industrial waste oils and fats. In 2007, the main vegetable oils used in biodiesel production were canola oil (53%), soybean oil (18%), palm oil (14%), sunflower oil (8%) and others (7%). At present, the EU is a major region in the world for the development and utilization of biodiesel. In addition to the European Union, the United States and Argentina are also major producers of biodiesel. They are mainly rapeseed oil, soybean oil, and other raw materials. In addition, other countries use other raw materials to produce biodiesel, mainly including: (1) animal fat;(2) other vegetable oils such as palm oil (Indonesia, Malaysia), coconut oil (Philippines), castor oil (Brazil), jatropha seed oil (Thailand), cottonseed oil (India);(3) engineering microalgae;(4) waste cooking oil (gutter oil, etc.).
2. The EU is the world’s largest producer and marketer of biodiesel
2.1 The EU is the world’s largest producer of biodiesel
So far, the EU bio-energy industry mainly includes biodiesel, bio-fuel ethanol, and biogas three fields. Among them, biodiesel ranks first. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, the EU ‘s total transport fuel consumption was equivalent to 293.09 million tons of crude oil, 297.89 million tons and 302.78 million tons respectively. Biodiesel, bio-fuel ethanol and pure vegetable oil account for 75%, 20% and 5% of the consumption of bio-transport fuels in the EU respectively.
2.2 The EU is a major consumer of biodiesel
According to the Kyoto protocol, the EU will reduce CO2 emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012. Biodiesel produces about 50 percent less CO2 than fossil diesel. To this end, the EU regards biofuels as a major alternative energy source and has formulated the EU biofuels strategy, which stipulates that the proportion of biofuels in total fuels will increase from 2% in 2005 to 5.75% in 2010. By 2030, biofuels will account for 25 percent of transportation fuel. In line with the expansion of biodiesel production, the EU issued two new directives to promote its market sales, requiring EU countries to reduce biodiesel taxes; Starting in 2009, the mandatory blending of biofuels into vehicle fuels will be at least 1%, with the goal of making biodiesel a 12% market share by 2020. These measures have effectively promoted the commercialization of biodiesel.
Strong market demand has driven the EU member states to invest in the development of biodiesel. According to the latest EU data, there are 153 biodiesel production plants, and another 58 processing plants are under construction. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, the EU ‘s biodiesel production capacity reached 6.25 million tons, 11.58 million tons and 15.3 million tons respectively. It is expected to grow to 17.9 million t in 2009 and 19.5 million t in 2010. In the same year, the actual production of biodiesel in the EU was 4.52 million tons, 5.35 million tons and 5.7 million tons respectively. It is expected to grow to 7.3 million t in 2009 and 8.6 million t in 2010. In the same year, EU biodiesel consumption was 4.66 million tons, 6.1 million tons and 6.7 million tons, respectively. It is expected to grow to 8.5 million t in 2009 and 10 million t in 2010. In the same year, EU imports of biodiesel were respectively 140,000 t, 750,000 t, and 1 million t. It is expected to be 1.2 million t in 2009 and 1.4 million t in 2010.
2.3 Development of biodiesel in major EU member states
Germany is Europe’s largest producer of biodiesel, which is produced mainly from rapeseed oil. Currently, the area of rapeseed for biodiesel production in Germany has reached more than 1 million hm2. At the same time, Germany has 8 biodiesel production enterprises, biodiesel has accounted for more than 60% of the German renewable energy market. The German government actively encourages the production and application of biodiesel and provides certain subsidies for farmers to grow rapeseed. At the same time, Germany has more than 1,500 biodiesel gas stations. Since January 2004, the duty exemption policy has been implemented for biodiesel, which is exempt from consumption tax on biodiesel or diesel mixed with ordinary petrochemical diesel. The duty exemption amount of mixed diesel is determined according to the proportion of biodiesel. This measure further promoted the production and use of biodiesel in Germany. Biodiesel has replaced regular diesel in Germany as a fuel for buses, taxis, construction, and agricultural machinery.
Since 2003, the French government has taken a series of positive measures to promote the development of bio-energy and encourage the use of bio-energy. For example, lower taxes or exemptions; The design of the car engine is mainly based on a biodiesel engine, which accounts for 63% of the car ownership in France. The incentives could help France overtake Germany as Europe’s biggest producer of biodiesel.
Italy is a big importer of energy, importing about 80 percent of its total energy needs. At present, the total annual production capacity of biodiesel in Italy is 350,000 tons. The raw materials are mainly rapeseed imported from France and Germany, and 1/5 of the raw materials are soybeans. Although the Italian government strongly supports the production of biodiesel, in the 2005 budget act the government reduced the amount of biodiesel eligible for tax relief from 300,000 tons to 200,000 tons per year. The reasons are as follows: on the one hand, it is restricted by biodiesel raw materials; The other is to protect the interests of Italian farmers.