Of the top 10 biodiesel importers in the world in 2021, eight are European countries, in addition to the United States and Canada.
In that year, world imports of biodiesel and its blends, without petroleum or bituminous mineral oils or containing less than 70% by weight of these oils, totaled $28 billion.
Biodiesel is a fuel made from many types of vegetable oils, animal fats and used cooking oils.
It is produced by reacting the triglycerides found in these oils and fats with methanol and an alkaline catalyst in a process called transesterification.
The resulting products are biodiesel (in the form of fatty acid methyl esters -FAMEs) and glycerol (better known in the United States as glycerin).
Up to the top of all, the Netherlands leads this ranking, with imports of $7.16 billion, a growth of 82% year-on-year.
They are followed by: Belgium ($4,827 million, +73%), France ($2,172 million, +125%), Spain ($1,893 million, +63%), Italy ($1,834 million, +61%) and Germany ($1,797 million, +12%), according to World Trade Organization (WTO) data.
Other countries with the largest imports of this fuel are: United Kingdom ($1,298 million, +17%), United States ($970 million, +56%), Canada ($677 million, +41%) and Poland ($661 million, +125 percent).
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel alternative to petrodiesel that can be made from a wide variety of animal and vegetable oils, such as used cooking oil, soybean oil, canola oil and tallow.
Mostly, it is used in blends with petrodiesel as a transportation or heating fuel.
Some U.S. plants are co-located or vertically integrated, producing the feedstock supply, the oil and then the biodiesel.
The biodiesel market is heavily influenced by U.S. government subsidies and mandates on biodiesel use.
Also, U.S. demand for biodiesel is dependent on demand for U.S.-produced downstream products. Biodiesel is used in the same applications as other types of diesel fuel.
While biodiesel producers are the world’s largest source of glycerin supply and sell crude glycerin to processors or purify it themselves for sale, glycerin is used in personal and oral care products, food and beverages, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and chemical production.