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The ethanol craze is arriving in China. The Chinese government is investing in searching the crop that will satisfy, at least partially, China's needs for fuels. The best candidates so far are sorghum and tapioca. The country is currently the world's third largest ethanol producer, although far behind numbers 1 and 2, Brazil and the US. The current crop of choice is corn and it's claimed that it's the reason behind a recent 30 percent rise of the price of grains in China.

As Sam noted earlier today, China is putting the foot down on domestic coal-to-liquid energy projects. While generating energy from biomass sources is the one option China will consider moving forward, ethanol from grains will not be the biofuel of choice.

While it's been exporting heaps of plastic toys and cheap clothing, China has also recently become a big player in the international ethanol market. China will export at least an estimated 500,000+ tons this year (about 11,000 barrels a day), according to Reuters. The exports may even reach over 900,000 tons this year, up from about nothing last year. Most of this ethanol is sent to the United States. Two factors may influence the boom: the fact that China needs to import cassava to use as bioma

Sure, China is playing global politics to ensure it will have a supply of oil as its population continues to grow and cars become more and more prevalent, but it is not neglecting home-grown biofuel made from the cassava plant.  The cassava-based ethanol will be used in cars in the southern region Guangxi starting in late 2007, state media reported on Friday. Ethanol production plants with a combined capacity of 1 millions tons a year will be built to produce the biofuel. Cassava (which som