Despite Obstacles, Biofuels Continue Surge

Joe Monfort | Apr 23, 2008

World production of biofuels rose some 20 percent to an estimated 54 billion liters in 2007.1 (See Figure 1.) These gains meant biofuels accounted for 1.5 percent of the global supply of liquid fuels, up just 0.25 percent from the previous year.2

Global production of fuel ethanol—derived primarily from sugar or starch crops—increased 18 percent to 46 billion liters in 2007, marking the sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth.3 Production of biodiesel—made from feedstock such as soy, rape and mustard seed, and palm and waste vegetable oils—rose an estimated 33 percent, to 8 billion liters.4

The United States, which produces ethanol primarily from corn, and Brazil, which primarily uses sugarcane, account for 95 percent of the world’s ethanol production.5 (See Figure 2.) Brazil increased its ethanol production by 21 per­cent in 2007, to 19 billion liters.6 But the United States continued to widen its lead over Brazil as the world’s leading producer by boosting output 33 percent to 24.5 billion liters in 2007.7

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