In a sign of the ever-shrinking size of the world, the growth of palm trees in Thailand may affect your grocery bill.
According to the Associated Press, Thailand announced last year that it was going to produce more biodiesel, which means growing more palm trees to make more palm oil. Even though there have been no new biodiesel plants built in Thailand since the announcement, the price of palm oil may still go up. Any increased palm production in Thailand will require hundreds of thousands of hectacres of new palm plantations, but they have not yet been developed/set aside/razed. If Thailand needs more palm oil for biodiesel, but doesn’t have the resources, they may limit exports, which could in turn raise prices around the world.
Thailand announced the plan to make and use more biodiesel last year, along with increased development of unconventional hydrocarbon fossil fuels and hydrogen, as The Nation (the Thai newspaper, not the American newsmagazine) reported. Thailand is shooting for 8-10 percent of their energy to be from alternative energy by 2010. Numbers and more details at the AP.
[Sources: The Associated Press via AP-foodtechnology.com, Specengineers.com]