Currently, about 80 percent of EU biodiesel is processed from rapeseed, and biodiesel consumes about half of the EU’s rapeseed production.
Brazil is the world leader in bioethanol production (from sugar cane), followed by the United States (with corn), but the EU is the world leader in biodiesel production (predominately derived from rapeseed). An increasing share of its crop goes into fuel production. Rapeseed consumption has increased rapidly within the EU, to the point where it has become a net-importer of rapeseed for the first time in recent history. Furthering demand, there is a lack of processing capacity, raising vegetable oil prices. A number of oilseed crushing facilities are planned or being developed, as well as a number of plant conversions are occurring. In addition, soybean processing facilities are being retooled to allow for rapeseed processing, with its higher crush margin. Many processing plants are becoming multi-seed crushing facilities. These changes will help eliminate the current lack of processors within the EU. The EU doesn’t produce very large amounts of soybeans (0.9 million tons estimated for 2006/07), so they are forced to import. Most of their imports originate in Brazil, partly because of the relatively high protein and oil content in its soybeans, and its long season.
Blind leading the blind.