Biodiesel production, consumption growing rapidly in Latin America, where Brazil and Argentina continue to dominate, but Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and other countries in region making efforts to expand, say experts

LOS ANGELES , August 18, 2011 () – In Latin America, Brazil and Argentina still dominate biodiesel production and consumption, but efforts are under way to expand the sector in such countries as Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica, say experts, reported Biodiesel Magazine on Aug. 16.

The growth of the biodiesel industry in Argentina and Brazil is largely pushed by public policy. Both of those countries mandate that a certain level of biodiesel be blended into fuels.

Exports of biodiesel also are strong in both countries. Argentina remains the top exporter of biodiesel worldwide, surpassing the U.S. last year.

By the end of this year, Argentina’s biodiesel exports are forecast to reach a record 1.6 billion liters (42.3 million gallons), and 1.75 billion liters in 2012, according to a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture report released in July, Biodiesel Magazine reported.

By 2020, Argentina’s biodiesel output is expected to total about 2.5 billion liters, according to a report from the Economic Cooperation and Development and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Most of Argentine’s biodiesel exports go to Europe, but Argentina is considering North America as a potential destination due to the expected lapse of the U.S. biodiesel tax credit at the end of this year and Canada’s biodiesel mandate that took effect in July.

Brazil, which is the world’s fifth largest biodiesel producer, coming in behind Argentina, has 5 billion liters of capacity. Its 2010 output was 2.4 billion liters under its B5 blend mandate, reported Biodiesel Magazine.

Several new investments in biodiesel facilities are planned in Brazil, where state-controlled oil giant Petrobras SA will invest US$3.5 billion through 2014 to increase its biofuels production.

BioVerde Industria e Comercio de Biocombustiveis SA, which operates Brazil’s largest biodiesel plant, plans to retrofit a plant near Sao Paulo to produce up to 100 million liters per year of industrial chemicals made from vegetable oils.

Argentina is expected to produce about 2.5 million tons of biodiesel by the end of 2011, moving up to 3 million tons in 2012, said Carlos St. James, managing director of Santiago & Sinclair LLC, an advisory firm, Biodiesel Magazine reported.

Other Latin American countries -- including Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Paraguay -- are slowly expanding their biodiesel industries. Colombia appears to have the greatest potential because of the government’s move to reach a B10 fuel blend by the end of 2012.

In Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, Jatropha cultivation investments are attractive, said Frank Craig, CEO of Miami-based Alternative Fuels Americas Inc. (AFA). AFA plans to produce up to 7 million gallons of biodiesel from Jatropha and other feedstocks, such as coyol, by about 2015, said Craig, reported Biodiesel Magazine.

The primary source of this article is Biodiesel Magazine, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Aug. 16, 2011.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.