Major biodiesel plant openings in Hungary and Slovenia signal continued growth in biodiesel produced in Eastern Europe. With biodiesel now required as a percentage of all diesel sold in affluent Western European countries like Germany and Austria, their eastern neighbours are stepping up to provide for their renewable fuel needs. Hungary's largest biodiesel plant is set to start production in May with capacity reaching 50,000 tonnes annually from 2008. The plant, operated by Öko-Line Hungary Kft., will utilise rapeseed as its feedstock and employ 75 people once full production capacity is reached.
Meanwhile, Slovenia's largest biodiesel plant is set to be built by oil refiner Nafta Lendava and its Austrian partner CMB Maschinenbau & Handels, with the opening scheduled for early 2008. This plant will produce 60,000 tonnes of biodiesel, the bulk of Slovenia's production, but just one percent of total European Union production.
Analysis: Every country is currently evaluating how it can reduce energy imports in the wake of record oil prices last year. Biodiesel is seen as a great way for countries such as Slovenia and Hungary to produce their own energy as well as creating a new export industry.