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Biodiesel production in China is expected to increase by 32% this year compared to 2021 mainly due to a surge in export demand, according to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported by Biodiesel magazine.

China currently has 46 biodiesel plants, up from 44 last year and 42 in 2020, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Nameplate capacity was expected to reach 4.7bn litres this year, up from 2.8bn litres last year and 2.726bn litres in 2020, the report said, with capacity utilisation expected to drop to 51.7% this year, compared to 65.5% last year and 53.4% in 2020.

USDA has estimated that 2.381M tonnes of used cooking oil (UCO) is expected to be used as feedstock for biodiesel production this year, up from 1.798M tonnes last year and 1.426M tonnes in 2020, Biodiesel magazine wrote on 20 September.

China was forecast to produce 2.43bn litres of biodiesel this year, up from 1.835bn litres last year and 1.455bn litres in 2020, the report said, with consumption expected to reach 600M litres this year, up from 564M litres last year and 522M litres in 2020.

Biodiesel exports from China were forecast at 2.125bn litres this year, up from 1.835bn litres last year and 1.455bn litres in 2020, with most of the total volume destined for the European Union.

China is expected to import 295M litres of biodiesel this year, up from 204M litres last year and 102M litres in 2020.