Biofuels Annual

An Expert's View about Energy in China

Last updated: 29 Jul 2011

China’s fuel ethanol production is forecast to reach 2,217 million liters (1.75 million tons) in 2011, an increase of four percent compared to 2010.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 7/21/2011 GAIN Report Number: 11039 China - Peoples Republic of Biofuels Annual 2011Annual Report Approved By: Ralph Bean Prepared By: Ryan R. Scott and Jiang Junyang Report Highlights: China?s fuel ethanol production is forecast to reach 2,217 million liters (1.75 million tons) in 2011, an increase of four percent compared to 2010. Although the ethanol sector only accounts for one percent of China?s total grain production, this sector has been criticized for contributing to China?s escalating food and grain prices. Realizing a need for sustainable feed stock for bio-fuel production, the industry is developing alternative feed stocks such as energy forestry for biodiesel production and partnering with international organizations on research and development of second generation cellulosic ethanol. Post: Beijing Executive Summary: China?s fuel ethanol production is forecast to increase by four percent to 2,217 million liters (1.75 million tons) in 2011. China?s five ethanol plants use grain (corn and wheat) and tuber (cassava) for ethanol production. Over the past few years, China has been actively experimenting with non-grain feed stocks such as cassava and sweet sorghum for ethanol production. Due to China?s rising food prices, the government stopped approval of new fuel ethanol plants and fell short of reaching its production target in the 11th five year plan (2005-2010). There is no specific production target for fuel ethanol or biodiesel production for the 12th five year plan (2011- 2015) period. A goal for China?s bio-fuel policy is to become less reliant on foreign oil, so imports of bio-fuels and its feed stocks are currently not encouraged. Production: Ethanol: China?s five ethanol plants use grain (corn and wheat) and tuber (cassava) for ethanol production. In 2010, four of the plants produced a total of 1,951 million liters (1.54 MMT), which included 80 percent from corn and 20 percent from wheat and rice. The cassava plant is estimated at 177.4 million liters (140,000 MT). Although the government mandates that 10 provinces implement an E10 program (10 percent ethanol blended into fuel), industry sources stated that the blending rate is within the range of 8-12 percent, depending on the market prices between fuel ethanol and petroleum. With rising prices for feed stocks and the lack of sufficient government support, ethanol producers lowered the blending rate to help offset cuts in their profit margin. The official government guideline for the bio-fuel sector remains unchanged. As noted in last year?s Annual report, bio-fuel development (including fuel ethanol and bio-diesel) should not compete with crops intended for human consumption; and, the land for developing feed stocks should not compete with land for (food or feed) crop production. The government and the industry have been experimenting with alternative crops such as sweet sorghum and cassava for new ethanol plants. Biodiesel: In 2010, China?s capacity for bio-diesel production is estimated at 3.408 million liters (3 MMT), unchanged from the previous year; but, actual biodiesel production only reached 227.2 million liters (200,000 MT). Currently, the main feed stock for biodiesel is used/waste kitchen oil or residue from vegetable oil crushers. Due to high demand from animal feed or other chemical processing sector, the prices for these feed stocks are too expensive for biodiesel production. The restaurant and catering industry is another competitor for waste cooking oil as it?s used as a substitute when prices for edible oil are relatively high. The renewable energy often loses when competing against a need for human consumption in China. As the government continues to control the price of transportation fuel, there will be a fixed price ceiling for bio diesel. With production cost for biodiesel higher than regular diesel and the lack of government subsidies for biodiesel production, industry sources reported that some biodiesel producers stopped their operations. To develop bio-diesel feed stock, several government agencies and state companies have begun planting energy trees that bear oil nuts for bio-diesel production, but, progress has been slow and it will take years before these energy trees reach a growth stage suitable for industrialization of bio-diesel production. Due to scarcity of feed stocks for bio-diesel production, China has not mandated bio-diesel use for transportation fuel nationwide. Earlier this year in Hainan province, there was a pilot program in two counties where the blending rate of 2-4% was used for biodiesel in transportation fuel. The provincial government and petroleum companies are still evaluating the results, which will determine the announcement of implementing the mandatory use of biodiesel in Hainan. Two factors will determine if Hainan will impose a mandatory program for biodiesel usage: the level of sustainable supplies from feedstock production and favorable subsidies provided by central or provincial governments. (See Policy) Policy and Programs for Ethanol Production: Reportedly, for the 12th five year plan (2011-2015) period, the government has set a target for non- fossil energy consumption at 11.4 percent by 2015, an increase of 3.1 percent from 2010. China aims to account for 15 percent of energy consumption with non-fossil fuels by the end of 2020. The targeted non-fossil energy in China includes hydropower, solar energy, wind power, and biomass energy. According to the 2010 Energy Yearbook, China?s reliance on foreign oil increased 2 percent to 55%, so they are diversifying their energy supply and consumption mix. Compared with other renewable energy sources, bio-fuel is expected to take a minor part in China?s diversified energy policy because of lack of sustainable supply of feed stocks and technology breakthrough. The government continues to provide subsidies for fuel ethanol production to all five designated ethanol plants within the 10 mandated provinces. The central government?s average subsidy for fuel ethanol production is slowly moving downward. In 2010, the average subsidy was 17 cents/liter ($215/MT); in 2009, 19 cents/liter ($241/MT); and, in 2008, 20 cents/liter ($253/MT), which was the highest in the past five years. Government subsidies for fuel ethanol production have been criticized and held accountable for rising food and grain prices. Some extreme criticism urges the government to abolish subsidies. Subsidy adjustments reflect current production cost and price changes to feed stock and gasoline prices. Since 2008, the government has implemented a flexible subsidy program for all five fuel ethanol producers. The program?s subsidy level is based on the actual evaluation of each individual plant?s performance, which is scheduled in November of each year, and designed to make more efficient use of government funding to the sector. The GOC is revising the 2011 Foreign Investment Guidance Catalogue. According to China?s Ministry of Commerce, new investments on liquid bio-fuel (fuel ethanol and bio diesel) plants should continue to be controlled by the Chinese government. There has been no foreign investment in the current five ethanol plants and all of them are 100 percent state owned, indicating a government?s preference for state ownership over the private ownership in the energy sector. This policy is unchanged from the previous catalogue issued in 2007. Policy and Support Programs for Bio-Diesel Production: In 2010, the government announced its Diesel-Engine Fuel Blend Standard (containing 5% Biodiesel -- B5). This national voluntary standard was implemented on February 1, 2011. The standard serves as technical criteria for production and usage of biodiesel and promotes a healthy and orderly development of the sector. According to industry contacts, Hainan province is the first pilot province to use B5 in 2011. Currently, there is a bio diesel plant operated by CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Company) with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons. This is the largest demonstration project on bio diesel in China. As part of the province?s efforts in building an international ecological island, the provincial government is planning to make B5 a mandatory standard. Currently, B5 is only feasible in Hainan as the economy ranks far behind most of other provinces and its diesel fuel demand is only 600,000 tons (as of 2007), the lowest in 30 provinces (excluding Tibet), according to China?s 2008 National Energy Yearbook. However, industry contacts report that due to the high demand and price for feed stocks such as waste/used cooking oil, bio diesel production is not price competitive with regular diesel. As a result, biodiesel producers are requesting subsidies to cover operational costs. A mandatory program for B5 must address the following: whether there are sustainable feedstock supplies of Jatropha or other oilseeds (not competing with human consumption) for large industrial scale of biodiesel production; adequate subsidies from the central or provincial governments for production. Hainan producers reported that current cost for biodiesel production is about 10 percent higher than regular diesel. In June 2011, China?s Ministry of Finance and General Administration of Taxation jointly issued a notice that temporarily removes the five percent consumption tax for bio diesel producers who use the following feed stocks: used cooking oil that is not allowed for human consumption, non-edible lipid from the animal slaughtering houses, leather and meat processing sectors, the acid residue oil from crushers, and other lipids that are not suitable for human consumption. Update on Tax Incentives for Fuel Ethanol and Biodiesel Production in 2011 Comparison of Tax Incentives for Fuel Ethanol and Bio-diesel Production Type Consumption Tax Value Added Tax (VAT) Fuel Ethanol 0 0 5% was removed in 2011 *17% Bio-diesel *Interpretation by local taxation authority varies. Support programs for forestry feed stock for future bio-diesel production: The State Forestry Administration (SFA) continues to build demonstration bases for energy forestry, but lack of additional financial support still hinders plantation. The planned acreage by end of the 11th five year plan (2006-2010) was 2.0 million acres. However, by end of 2010, only 500,000 acres were actually planted. In February 2011, SFA announced the guidance on the cultivation of sustainable energy trees such as Jatropha (guidance for other energy trees will be issued in the future). This guidance explains the definition of ?energy trees? as well as the goal of producing high yield oilseeds. Previously, SFA guided Jatropha plantation as part of its national forestation program, but the survival rate was the key performance measure, not whether Jatropha varieties could bear high yield oilseeds. Revision in Bio-ethanol Production for 2010: The fuel ethanol production in 2010 is revised to 2,128 million liters (1.68 million tons), down 2 percent from the previous year. Lower production is mainly due to high grain prices and reductions in subsidies for fuel ethanol. Table 1: A Historical Look at China?s Fuel Ethanol Production % Increase from Year Production Quantity Previous Year 2002 and Official fuel ethanol production began in 2004. There is little N/A before recorded fuel ethanol production before 2002. 2003 < 25.3 million liters (or 20,000 MT/year) 2004 380.1 million liters (or 300,000 MT/year) 1,400% 2005 1,165.6 million liters (or 920,000 MT/year) 206% 2006 1,647.1 million liters (or 1,300,000 MT/year) 41% 2007 1,736 million liters (or 1,370,000 MT/year) 5% 2008 2,002 million liters or (1,580,000 MT/year) 13% 2009 2,179 million liters (or 1,720,000 MT/year) 8% 2010 2,128 million liters ( or 1,680,000 MT/year) -2% Source: Industry Sources Table 2. Current Fuel Ethanol Production Location Company Principal 2008 2009 2010 Supply (Province, Name Feedstock Production Production Production Location City) (1000 (1000 Capacity liters liters (1000 liters /year) /year) /year) Heilongjiang, China Corn/Rice 228,060 240,730 253,400 Heilongjiang Zhaodong Resources Alcohol Co. Jilin, Jilin Jilin Fuel Corn 595,490 633,500 570,150 Jilin Ethanol Co. Liaoning Henan, Henan Tian Wheat 519,470 561,281 570,150 Henan Nanyang Guan Fuel- Ethanol Co. Hubei (9 cities) Hebei (4 cities) Anhui, Anhui Corn 506,800 532,140 557,480 Anhui Bengbu BBCA Biochemical Shandong (7 Co. cities) Jiangsu (5 cities) Hebei (2 cities) Guangxi Guangxi Cassava 152,040 211,589 177,380 Guangxi COFCO Bio- Energy Co. Total: 2,001,860 2,179,240 2,128,560 Source: Industry Sources Consumption, Trade, and Stocks: Fuel ethanol production runs in tandem with the mandated use (or planned consumption) prescribed by the government. This state-running management system prohibits the private sector to import fuel ethanol or biodiesel despite favorable market prices. Feedstock imports are not currently considered for biodiesel production. China is the largest importer of oilseeds for human consumption. Oilseeds such as crude palm oil are not price competitive for biodiesel production without government subsidy. As noted above, the renewable energy sector often loses when competing against a need for human consumption in China. Denatured/Undenatured ethanol: China temporarily lowered the import tariff on denatured ethanol (HS code: 220720) to 5 percent in 2010, a drastic decrease from 30 percent in 2009. This tariff cut only benefited imports of denatured ethanol for chemical use (not fuel consumption). The government tightly controlled domestic distribution of denatured ethanol, so its use (or demand) has been confined to selected provinces and cities. For undenatured ethanol, the import tariff remains unchanged at 40 percent. The 17 percent VAT and 5 percent consumption tax are levied on both denatured and undenatured ethanol. In early July 2010, China announced the elimination of VAT tax rebates on ethanol and corn starch exports, mainly due to rising domestic grain prices. Tariff and Taxes on Ethanol Trade Import VAT on Consumption Tax VAT Rebate VAT Rebate HS# Tariff Rate Import on import on Export/1 on Export/2 220710 Undenatured 40% 17% 5% 5% 0% 220720 Denatured *5% 17% 5% 5% 0% 1/ Before July 15, 2010; 2/ After July 15, 2010. *Tariff cut is a temporary rate (in 2010, it was 30 percent). Source: Ministry of Finance Table 3: Conventional & Advanced Bio ethanol (million liters) CY 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Production 1,647 1,736 2,002 2,179 2,129 2,217 Imports 0 0 0 0 0 0 Exports 0 0 0 0 0 0 Consumption 1,647 1,736 2,002 2,179 2,129 2,217 Ending Stocks 0 0 0 0 0 0 Production Capacity (Conventional Fuel) No. of Bio refineries 4 4 5 5 5 5 Capacity 1,824 2,065 2,243 2,179 2,357 2,534 Production Capacity (Advanced Fuel) No. of Biorefineries 0 0 0 0 0 0 Capacity 0 0 0 0 0 0 Co-product Production (1,000 MT) DDGS 800 800 928 1,000 1,020 1,070 Corn Oil 56 56 65 70 69 72 Wheat Gluten 45 45 45 45 45 45 Wheat Bran 150 150 150 150 150 150 Feed stock Use (1,000 MT) Corn 3,200 3,200 3,700 4,000 3,900 4,120 Wheat 1,050 1,050 1,050 1,050 1,050 1,050 Cassava 0 0 340 470 392 336 Rice NA NA NA NA NA NA Source: Industry Sources (Corn to ethanol ratio 3.15, dried cassava?s ratio 2.8, and wheat ratio 3.5.) Table 4: Conventional & Advanced Biodiesel (million liters) CY 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Production NA NA NA 341 341 341 Imports 0 0 0 0 0 0 Exports 0 0 0 0 0 Consumption 0 0 0 less than less than less than 170 150 150 Ending Stocks 0 0 0 0 0 0 Production Capacity (Conventional Fuel) No. of Biorefineries NA NA NA 10 10 10 Capacity 0 0 0 0 Production Capacity (Advanced Fuel) No. of Biorefineries 0 0 0 0 0 0 Capacity Feed stock Use (1,000 MT) Spent Kitchen Oil NA NA NA NA NA NA Waste Residue from Oil Crushing Plants NA NA NA NA NA NA Source: Industry Sources Advanced Bio-Fuels: Sustainable Aviation Fuel Cooperation between China and United States: In January 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Chinese and U.S. companies on the US- China International Trans Pacific Sustainable Aviation Bio-Fuel Flight. To supply biodiesel for a demonstration flight in China, the Chinese government designated China?s National Petroleum Cooperation (Petrochina) to develop biodiesel production using Jatropha. Reportedly, the demonstration flight is scheduled in the second half of 2011. PetroChina is working actively with State Forestry Administration and provincial governments to develop Jatropha production in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Jatropha trees were planted in these provinces since 2006; however, due to poor management and growing conditions on marginal land, most trees are still in early stages of development and are not sufficient for large scale production for industrial use. Sources have noted that, in June, Petrochina provided 15 tons of biodiesel to a U.S. company for further processing, which, reportedly, has been the largest production (to date) for this pilot program. For this delivery, around 50 tons of Jatropha seeds were processed. PetroChina is looking for new high-yielding Jatropha varieties and has invested in demonstration farms. If successful, PetroChina will increase Jatropha production in coming years. Sweet Sorghum: Industries view sweet sorghum as a non grain feed stock, suitable for production on marginal land, which does not compete with crop for human production. Some provincial governments have been lobbying the central government to approve sweet sorghum as feedstock for new ethanol plants. Researchers are improving the yield and fermentation procedures, while provincial governments are funding small scale demonstration projects. Due to its high biomass output, sweet sorghum is also considered a potentially ideal crop for cellulosic ethanol production. Agricultural residues such as crop straw/stalk and forestry residues are the two main feed stocks for cellulosic ethanol. In June 2011, National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) released Guidance Catalogue for Industry Structural Adjustment. This new catalogue replaces the 2005 catalogue and functions as a guide to investment management. It is used as an important reference in implementing financial, tax and trade policies. According to this catalogue, the government encourages technology development and application for biomass cellulosic ethanol and bio diesel from non-grain feedstock. In July 2010, the government granted 22 national energy research centers to promote renovation in energy sector and integrated efforts between research and industry. Among them, the government granted National Energy R&D Center for Liquid Biofuel. In 2011, the government plans to grant another national research center on bio fuels based non- grain feed stocks. The establishment of these centers highlights government commitment for breakthrough in technology in sustainable biomass energy. Following a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding between U.S. and China to establish a partnership on bio-fuel research and development, government officials, researchers, and private companies from both sides have been working together to discuss technology and research on shared interests and challenges. In 2011, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy and China?s National Energy Administration (NEA) agreed to conduct technical exchanges and site visits focusing on establishing an efficient, coordinated and sustainable supply system of non-food biomass feedstock. The two sides are planning to focus on the progress of feedstock research and development for the second generation liquid biofuel at the 2011 Sino-US Advanced Biofuels Forum. Topics discussed will include, but not limiting to, sustainable development of feed stocks for crop and forest residues, herbaceous, woody non-food energy crops, and microalgae for biodiesel. Auto market and Fuel use in China: Auto sales in China in 2011 are estimated to grow over 15 percent. Due to rising fuel prices, car manufactures and consumers are turning to more energy efficient car, as the same time, government encourages renovation in electricity cars. FAS/Beijing estimates that transport fuel (diesel and gasoline) demand will grow 5 percent in 2011. Diesel is the primary fuel consumed in China with close to 156,768 million liters (or 138 MMT) consumed in 2009. Gasoline consumption was approximately 78,200 million liters (61 MMT in 2009). Both diesel and gasoline consumption in China have increased substantially as China?s economy expands. China Ethanol Exports in 2005-2011 in 1,000 LTR HTS# Description 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total 1,017,7 129,97 108,11 107,89 156,02 19,16 Ethanol 162,204 79 3 0 5 0 9 22071 Undenature 110,71 100,06 143,74 16,60 0 d 158,654 970,721 8 4 91,787 0 7 22072 0 Denatured 3,550 47,058 19,256 8,047 16,108 12,280 2,562 China Ethanol Imports 2005-2011 in 1,000 LTR Descriptio HTS# n 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total 19,59 Ethanol 0 7,972 678 402 159 3,611 3,850 22071 Undenatur 15,93 0 ed 6 5,930 154 293 28 392 68 22072 0 Denatured 3,654 2,042 524 109 130 3,220 3,783 Data for 2011: Jan-May 2011 Source: World Trade Atlas China 220710, Undenatured in 1000 LTR 220720 Denatured in 1,000 LTR Exports Partner Quantity Partner Quantity Country 2008 2009 2010 Country 2008 2009 2010 World 100,064 91,787 143,740 World 8,047 16,108 12,280 Korea Korea South 32,599 50,336 80,636 South 2,334 8,199 4,825 Philippines 4,297 2,464 19,064 Taiwan 4,449 3,478 3,890 Korea Taiwan 10,106 10,230 17,422 North 238 10 3,207 Japan 12,560 11,174 14,743 Macau 327 176 196 Korea North 8,230 3,272 4,340 Singapore 625 0 56 United Arab Australia 17,685 3,705 3,699 Emirates 0 97 49 China 220720, Denatured in 1,000 220710, Undenatured in 1,000 LTR Imports LTR Partner Quantity Partner Country Quantity Country 2008 2009 2010 2008 2009 2010 World 293 28 392 World 109 130 3,220 United Kingdom 0 0 160 Indonesia 0 0 3,004 Myanmar 0 0 146 Japan 81 99 140 Netherlands 0 0 46 United States 11 23 32 Japan 49 10 13 Brazil 0 0 24 Germany 18 9 12 Netherlands 7 6 9 United States 2 1 12 United Kingdom 1 2 6 Source: World Trade Atlas
Posted: 29 July 2011, last updated 29 July 2011

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