Soyabean oil comprises larger share of US biodiesel production

Recent figures have shown that biodiesel production currently represents about 30% of domestic soyabean oil use in the USA, according to a 7 May report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Soyabean oil input into biodiesel production reached 3.2M tonnes during the 2017/18 marketing year, with biodiesel production growth coinciding with federal biofuel mandates, the EIA said.

The administration said about half of US soyabeans was exported while much of the rest was crushed or processed at plants in the USA. The crush yielded about 80% soyabean meal and 20% soyabean oil.

US soyabean oil supply grew between 2010/11 and 2017/18 from about 22.5bn pounds (10.2M tonnes) to nearly 26bn pounds (11.7M tonnes). Meanwhile, the share of total soyabean oil consumed as biodiesel feedstock doubled from about 15% to 30%.

Between 2010/11 and 2017/18, the USA’s domestic biodiesel production grew from 3.2bn litres to 8.2bn litres.

The EIA said the increase in production was largely driven by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a programme administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that mandated blending renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply.

The RFS target for biomass-based biodiesel grew from 5.2bn litres to 9.5bn litres between compliance years 2010 and 2018.

Soyabean crush margins were at near record high levels when China imposed a 25% tariff on US soyabeans in July 2018, the EIA wrote.

Elevated crush margins during 2018 corresponded with record-high monthly soyabean oil inputs for biodiesel production.