15 September 2008

World's largest biofuel plant will not be veggie friendly

I just finished an article on agrofuels for the next Red Pepper... but since there are a lot of nuggets that I left out I may post a few here. I started with a theme of "what are the world's largest agrofuel producers?" That changed a lot, mainly because there have been several recent policy developments to report... but in the process I found a few interesting things.

Here's one: the Finnish-based Neste Oil is currently developing the world's largest biodiesel refinery in Singapore. Opening in 2010, it will process 800,000 tonnes a year. This will be joined by a similar-sized refinery in Rotterdam by 2011.

Both plants will process the company's NexBTL blend of biodiesel. This is made from a blend that includes palm oil. The Singapore plant is strategically located near production sites in Indonesia and Malaysia... which are hugely destructive, since much of this is produced on recently deforested land. In Indonesia's Riau province, which I visited last year, the land is a deep peatland - which makes the whole process massively damaging in climate terms, because peat is a rich carbon sink. Aside from palm oil, the blend is made from rape seed oil and... vegetarians beware... animal fat?!

A second nugget of info, which may be of interest to Premier League football fans.... Dubai Investment Group, who tried but failed to by Liverpool FC, have major investments in palm oil in Malaysia. They're still after a Premier League club...

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