In 2005, China emerged as the third largest producer of biofuels next to the United States and Brazil, with the government's top planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, setting production targets to meet 15 percent of the country's transportation energy needs by the year 2020. The country now has four facilities with a total capacity of 2.2 million metric tons, or approximately 47,000 barrels, per day.
[NOTE - CBEH uses advanced generation technology]
The use of second-generation biofuel technologies will not only have the potential of reducing CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent from what the country is producing right now, but it will also have a lesser impact on food production, supplies, and prices. Agricultural waste also create a significant impact on the environment, particularly on current disposal methods and the resulting pollution. Using it as feedstock for ethanol production will help mitigate this environmental concern.
Aside from using agricultural wastes for biofuel feedstock, China has also started agricultural development in growing non-food crops in less agriculturally-productive lands. Such crops include sweet sorghum and jatropha curcas, which can be grown and extracted for oil that can be used as feedstock for biofuels. The seeds from the jatropha plant produce the highly poisonous toxalbumin curcin, but it also produces about 27 to 40 percent oil which can be processed into high-quality biodiesel. What makes jatropha ideal for planting in less-productive lands is that the plant is resistant to high degrees of aridity and can be grown even in deserts.
As this industry continues to mature and better technologies are developed, China and several other economies that will adapt these technologies can stand to benefit in terms of energy production and climate change mitigation. China is expected to consume 12.7 billion liters of biofuels by the year 2020, with automotive ethanol accounting for 100 percent of transportation energy requirements, according to China's National Development and Reform Commission. The industry also has the potential of generating up to US$230 billion globally by the year 2020, which will provide better economic stability for China and other countries entering the market.
To address these issues, China has embarked on a new Five Year Plan for 2011 to 2015 with a major thrust in finding renewable sources of energy to support the economy and its booming industries. The use of biofuels will play a significant part towards this end and a domestic biofuel industry will provide a viable option for the government in its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.