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Asia-Pacific region, Central and South America, and the Africa/Mideast region are expected to drive the global biofuels demand to reach 115 million metric tons in 2018 from 96.30 million metric tonne in 2013, according to the Freedonia Group’s new study, ‘World Biofuels’.
The rise in demand is likely to be moderate going forward as the US - the world’s largest market - stagnates. While this will directly limit increases in bioethanol demand overall, biodiesel demand will continue to grow at a healthy pace, supported by the expansion of biofuel mandates in a number of developing countries and by the implementation of the European Union’s renewable transport fuel target for 2020.
Nick Cunningham, Analyst, Freedonia, noted, “Concerns about the use of food crops for biofuel production have caused the focus in North America and the European Union (EU) to shift toward advanced second and third generation biofuels derived from waste materials and nonedible, sustainable biomass, which in turn will drive robust growth for other biofuels such as renewable diesel and biobutanol.” However, these gains will come from a very small base, which will limit their positive contribution to total biofuel demand increases.
The US and Brazil have historically dominated world biofuel demand and production, due to government policies to promote bioethanol consumption and plentiful access to feedstock. Growth in global biofuel consumption will slow markedly going forward as contradictory US regulations over bioethanol incorporation into the gasoline supply and waning public support for biofuels in the country restrain advances. While demand in the US market will remain nearly flat, advances elsewhere will be positive, with particular strength in the Asia/Pacific region and Western Europe.
“Demand for biodiesel will see faster growth, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region, Central and South America, and the Africa/Mideast region. In many cases, rising biodiesel demand in developing countries will reflect the establishment of consumption mandates intended to reduce dependence on imported petroleum products, as well as provide additional support for the domestic production of biodiesel and biodiesel crops,” said the Freedonia Group report.
In volume terms, biodiesel demand will continue to be led by Western Europe, supported by EU member countries’ efforts to meet the EU’s 10% renewable transport fuel target in 2020. However, the pace of biodiesel demand growth in the EU will slow after that year as EU diesel fuel standards limit the amount of biodiesel that can be blended without requiring a new fuel label.