Global production fell in 2012 — report

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014

Global biofuels production declined slightly in 2012 for the first time in more than a decade, according to a report released today by the Worldwatch Institute.
Total global production of ethanol and biodiesel in 2012 was 105.6 billion liters — about 27.9 billion gallons — down from 106.6 billion liters the previous year, the institute found. The decrease was the first since 2000.Ethanol manufacturers around the world produced 83.1 billion liters, or just under 22 billion gallons, in 2012, down 0.4 percent from 2011 production levels and the second yearly decline in a row. Biodiesel production, however, rose slightly from 22.4 billion liters in 2011 to 22.5 billion liters in 2012 and now accounts for more than 20 percent of total global biofuels production.Globally, biofuels accounted for 3.4 percent of road transportation fuels in 2012, Worldwatch said. The report is part of the institute’s “Vital Signs” project that examines global trends.

The decrease in ethanol production came largely because of severe drought in major U.S. corn producing regions, Worldwatch said. The United States, though, continued to lead in ethanol and biodiesel production in 2012, even though its ethanol production fell about 4 percent, according to the report.

Combined, the United States and Brazil accounted for 87 percent total global ethanol production in 2012. Other top ethanol producers were China, Canada and France.

Top biodiesel producers were the United States, followed by Argentina, Germany and Brazil. E.U. countries collectively accounted for 41 percent of total biodiesel production.

Biofuel demand continued to be driven strongly by blending mandates, such as the U.S. renewable fuel standard, and government subsidies, according to the report. Globally, government subsidies for biofuels were more than $20 billion in 2012.