InterviewSingapore’s Fuelogical to open 15,000 t/yr biodiesel unit in Oct

15 June 2010 10:04  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman and Serena Seng

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Singapore-based Fuelogical said on Tuesday its new 15,000 tonne/year biodiesel plant in the city-state is expected to come on stream in late October this year.

The wholly-owned $3m modular plant would derive its feedstock of jatropha oil and used cooking oil from the open market before the company’s own plantation in Indonesia matures in about two years, Sive Sivandran, managing director of Singapore-based Fuelogical, told ICIS news in an interview by telephone.

The company aims to sell its biodiesel to both domestic and international markets, he added.

Fuelogical had already finalised contracts with “large oil companies” in Taiwan to supply them with the company’s biodiesel once the plant comes on stream, he said.

“We also have several buyers interested in our products in Europe,” he added.

Sivandran said more biodiesel plants were expected to come on stream in Asia in the next four to five years, despite a lack of legislation which promotes the use of the fuel in the region. The biofuel industry “will and have to grow” in the near future as an alternative to diesel fuel, he added.

Finland’s Neste Oil would soon bring on stream the its 800,000 tonne/year renewable diesel plant in Singapore in late October this year, in a move to operate closer to its feedstock source of palm oil in neighbouring Indonesia.

“Biofuels is the only way to reduce carbon emissions and the only replacement for diesel when it runs out,” Sivandran said.

However, the lack of legislation in Asia which promotes the use of biofuels had hampered its usage thus far, he said.

“It is clearly economic decisions that are affecting the biofuel industry at the moment in Asia,” Sivandran said.

Currently, only the Philippines and Korea have legislation in place which mandates a minimum amount of biofuel to be blended into traditional fuels, Sivandran said.

Industry sources concurred that persuading Asian companies to switch to biofuels would be an uphill task as buying diesel in bulk is still about 20% cheaper than buying biodiesel alternatives.

But the situation was changing as Sivandran said he saw an increasing number of large corporations in Asia buying big quantities of biofuel as feedstock, citing companies that were buying up biodiesel as a blend for jetfuel.

With countries in Asia exploring alternative forms of clean energy such as solar power and electric batteries, industry players added that the market for renewable fuel was promising, as any diesel vehicle or power generator could use biodiesel as an alternative.

“The biodiesel industry could be worth $71m (€58m) by 2020,” Sivandran said.

($1 =  €0.82)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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