Which country can make biodiesel the best?

Yesterday's Environmental Science and Technology journal includes a ranking (by subscription only) of 226 countries and their large-scale biodiesel-making potential. The study was written by Matt Johnston and Tracey Holloway from the Nelson Institute's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE). The abstract of the article is as follows:

This study presents a consistent, national-level evaluation of potential biodiesel volumes and prices, replicated across 226 countries, territories, and protectorates. Utilizing all commercially exported lipid feedstocks from existing agricultural lands, we compare the upper-limit potential for expanded biodiesel production in terms of absolute biodiesel volumes, profitable potential from biodiesel exports, and potential from expanded vegetable oil production through agricultural yield increases. Country findings are compared across a variety of economic, energy, and environmental metrics. Our results show an upper-limit worldwide volume potential of 51 billion liters from 119 countries; 47 billion of which could be produced profitably at today's import prices. Also significant production gains are possible through increasing agricultural yields: a 12-fold increase over existing potential, primarily hinging on better management of tropical oilseed varietals.

So, basically, there's still a lot more biodiesel out there to make. Thailand, Uruguay and Ghana are three places where the potential has yet to be realized, according to Madeline Fisher, writing over at Renewable Energy Access. Johnston and Holloway say the report is not meant to exploit the biodiesel possibilities in any country, but to find countries where there are a lot of petroleum imports and vegetable exports. With this list, we can highlight the fact that perhaps some of those exports could reduce the need for the imports, ya dig?

[Source: Renewable Energy Access, Environmental Science and Technology]

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