Colombia, the fifth-largest producer of palm oil-based biodiesel and 10th-largest maker of sugarcane-based ethanol, plans to boost production of both biofuels by around 50 percent in the 2014-2015 period.
The National Biofuels Federation’s director of planning, development and innovation, Carlos Mateus, made the announcement to reporters Thursday prior to the inauguration of the inaugural International Conference on Biofuels in this Caribbean city.
International scholars and private- and public-sector experts are attending the conference.
“There are projects for 2014-2015 to boost installed production capacity by 50 percent for ethanol and 60 percent for biodiesel to meet the needs of the domestic market, come up with better blends in that market and target international markets,” Mateus said.
Colombia’s biofuels industry was spurred by laws enacted at the beginning of the last decade; since then, installed production capacity for biodiesel and ethanol has grown to 600,000 tons annually and 1.2 million liters per day, respectively.
Ethanol is currently produced from sugarcane in the Andean nation but scientists are studying ways to make the biofuel from bitter cassava.
More than 300,000 people in Colombia depend on the biofuels industry for their livelihoods, 85 percent of whom live in rural areas.