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Argentine Biofuels Industry Gets Organized

Argentina’s oil seed processing facilities in 2004. Source: USDA FAS.

The Argentine Biofuels Chamber (ABC) is a new professional international trade association representing the biofuels industry in Argentina. Its mission is to coordinate and interact with a broad range of cooperators from the public and private sectors as well as academia.

Launched recently in Buenos Aires, its founding members include US investors looking to break into the booming biofuels industry, European biofuel associations eager to purchase the sector’s output, and international vendors seeking to sell equipment and services.

Argentina is expected to receive more than US$1.2 billion in biofuel investment in the next four years, and the Chamber will help create an open and efficient marketplace for both local and export markets.

—Carlos St. James, Executive Director of the Chamber

Argentina is the third-largest global producer of soybeans, with estimated soybean area and production of 41.3 million metric tons (MMT) and 15.5 million hectares (MHAS) respectively for the marketing year 2006/2007 (MY2006/07), according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Argentina enthusiastically embraced the use of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO) crops a decade ago, and now upwards of 98% of the country’s soybean production is GMO. Argentina is the world’s second largest producer of GMO crops after the United States.

Glyphosate-tolerant (“Roundup-Resistant”) soybeans were the first GMO crop introduced into Argentine agriculture. The rate of adoption places Argentina second only to the US in the use of this type of soybean.

The current Argentine soybean economy is geared almost entirely towards exports, with only 2% of harvested soybeans reaching the domestic market. Thirty percent is exported as grain and 68 percent is processed by the oilseed industry within Argentina. Ninety-three percent of soybean oil and ninety-nine percent of by-products (meals) are then exported, according to FAS.

Argentina is forecast to supply more than 50% of world soybean oil exports and more than 40% of soybean meal exports in MY2006/07. Major markets will continue to be China and India.

The USDA also estimates Argentina’s sunflower seed production and area at 3.8 MMT and 2.2 MHAS, respectively.

It’s that pool of potential feedstocks that the nascent Argentine biofuels industry would like to tap.


Rafael Seidl

Soybeans are grown for cattle feed. If Europe, the US and Japan stopped subsidizing their meat industries, those soybeans could indeed be turned into biodiesel. Who would you rather buy your fuel from, Argentina or Saudi Arabia?


There's no question that eating less meat will result in more agricultural room for fuel growth. Economics will help this transition -- as biofuels become more popular, soy as a feedstock will get more expensive, making beef more expensive. People will switch to other sources of protein, and this will free up some more soy for fuel.

Generally speaking, eating less meat has historically lowered your earth "footprint", and now with fuel and meat competing for soy, that meat reduction will lower your footprint by even more.

P.S. I am not a vegetarian, vegan, or other herbivore. I have tried to eat less meat over the past two years, with some success.


Not to mention the methane the cattle produce. The planet's second most abundant greenhouse gas. Some 17% of feed converts directly to methane during digestion.


___Some of the cheapest forms of raw material, that could go towards biodiesel/biofuel production, is in the form of animal fat, ie tallow and yellow grease. Unless we render/remove much of the fat, off of animal carcasses, before consumption for fuel, this source may shrink and become more costly, if fewer animals (head of, tons of, etc) are raised.
___Argentina, Chile, Brazil and the rest of the Southern Cone are uniquely positioned to produce renewable energy through new and older means.
_Chile, Bolivia, and perhaps Argentina, have large expanses of sparse land, deserts and high plateaus, that can go towards solar energy production, as well as algaculture in bioreactors (for food, feed, and energy/chemicals).
_Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia have cleared tropical land that can be exploited for fast growing tropical plants, for biofuels and energy.
_The windswept coastal southern Chile, Pampas, and Patagonia are possible candidates for wind energy. River current, tidal, wave, and other hydroelectrics are other possibilities for stormy southern Chile.
_Uruguay and Argentina can grow high yield temperate crops. Uruguayan electric demand is already met, ~95%, by hydro power; they export ~1/5 of electric production.


If soybeans can produce 50 gallons of biodiesel per acre, but gasified biomass could produce 300 gallons of ethanol per acre, I think I would look at cellulose.


Be careful when caparing C2H5OH to methyl ester. They have different BTU per gallon ratings.


Fine, you do the math and cellulose ethanol still comes out ahead of soybead biodiesel.


There are two interesting articles on corn-to-fuel and bioethanol economy subjects: one optimistic, and one pessimistic. But both are quite informative and compatible with other sources for numbers:

Account Deleted

I like it! If you’d like to know more about it here is the link создание сайтов петрозаводск

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