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World biofuel use expected to double by 2015

And Brazil will remain the leading exporter, despite significant production growth from India, a new report by Hart Energy Consulting says.

Global biofuel use is expected to increase twofold by 2015 and Brazil will remain the world's top exporter of biofuel, according to a report released Wednesday by Hart Energy Consulting.

The U.S. is expected to see the largest increase in biofuel use per country, increasing its current consumption by more than 30 percent, according to data from the "Global Biofuels Outlook: 2009-2015" report.

The overall increased use of biofuel in many countries around the world will make a dent in the world's consumption of traditional gasoline, according to Hart.

"Global ethanol demand will represent 12 to 14 percent of the global gasoline pool by 2015," said the report.

On the supply side, Brazil is expected to increase its production capacity by 30 percent and double the amount of biofuel it currently exports, remaining the world's largest biofuels exporter. Germany will continue to be Europe's largest producer of biofuel.

In terms of which kind of biofuel will make it to the forefront of production, Hart predicted that palm oil biodiesel, rapeseed biodiesel, and first-generation ethanol will dominate.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the biofuel industry will thrive as much as some would have the public believe, according to the report.

"Out of the approximately 170 next-generation biofuels projects around the world that are in some stage of development (operational, under construction or proposed), only 30 percent of those are actually expected to be operating during the study time frame, and many of those are still in the pilot project stage," said Hart.

Hart also said that while India is expected to see tremendous growth in biofuel production, it saw its predictions of soon outpacing Brazil as the leading exporter as too optimistic.

Other countries predicted by the report to significantly begin contributing to the world's biofuel production by 2015 are: Argentina, China, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Hart's report is based on data the company collected concerning existing biofuel plants in "operational, idle, or shut down" modes, biofuel projects in progress, government policy developments concerning biofuel regulation, and capacity projections from both governments and individual companies.