• Biofuels Show Strong Potential in Eastern Europe

Fuel for Thought

Biofuels Show Strong Potential in Eastern Europe

Jul 31 2008

The Russian government will back the construction of 30 new plants to produce biofuels, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has said. Russia eventually aims to produce 2 million tonnes of fuel ethanol a year, both for export and domestic consumption. For example, former Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Ryazanov is planning to build an ethanol plant in the Tambov region to produce 250,000 tonnes of the fuel, mostly from wheat.
Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus have huge potential to develop highly competitive ethanol and biodiesel industries, particularly aimed at exports. Russia alone has about 40 million hectares of unused arable lands which could be used for energy crops without affecting food production. In addition, there is the potential to raise farm productivity, which is currently half of that in most European Union countries.
These developments and many others were discussed by keynote speakers at the second F.O. Licht Biofuels in Central and Eastern Europe conference, which took place in the Polish capital of Warsaw from June 10 to 12. Ivan Bambiza, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, spoke on the significant prospects for increasing biofuel production in his country. Similarly, Jiri Trnka, a senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture, provided an overview of the current situation in the Czech Republic, where a biofuels mandate has recently been introduced.
Company representatives discussed the opportunities for further biofuel development in Poland, Hungary and Lithuania, which are already starting to produce significant quantities for both domestic consumption and export, as well as newer Balkan markets such as Serbia.

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