FACTBOX - Biofuels Take Off in Some Countries
Biofuels include ethanol and biodiesel derived from organic matter such as sugar cane, vegetable or corn oils. Not all ethanol is suitable to be used as a motor fuel blend.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts ethanol alone has the potential to make up 10 percent of world gasoline use by 2025 and 30 percent in 2050, up from around 2 percent.
The following is a list of major biofuel-producing countries or regions:
Brazil is the world's largest producer of sugar-based ethanol, producing about 16 billion litres (3.52 billion gallons) a year and using 14.5 billion litres at home, where cars run on a 25 percent ethanol gasoline blend.
It accounts for around half of the world's total output.
State oil giant Petrobras plans to boost ethanol exports to 9.4 billion litres in 2010 from 2 billion in 2005.
THE UNITED STATES
The United States, the world's biggest oil user, is the second-largest biofuel producer after Brazil.
The Senate Energy Committee voted in April to require US output of ethanol, distilled from corn and woody biomass materials, to reach at least 8 billion gallons a year by 2012, doubling the current output of the gasoline additive.
About 12 percent of the US corn crop is projected to be used for ethanol in the coming year.
The Senate Energy Committee's bill would set production milestones for ethanol as follows: 4 billion gallons in 2006, 4.7 billion in 2007, 5.4 billion in 2008, 6.1 billion in 2009, 6.8 billion in 2010, 7.4 billion in 2011, and 8 billion in 2012.
THE EUROPEAN UNION
The European Union, in an attempt to reduce greenhouses gases in line with its Kyoto Protocol obligations, set a non-binding target last year that fuels should contain 2 percent of biofuels in 2005 and 5.75 percent in 2010.
EU's biodiesel production capacity may exceed 4 million tonnes by mid-2006, up from an estimated output of 1.85 million tonnes in 2004 for the EU's 15 members before enlargement.
Some 80 percent of EU's biodiesel came from rapeseed oil, with soybean oil and a marginal quantity of palm oil making up the rest.
Asian palm oil exporters such as Malaysia and Indonesia could supply up to 20 percent of the EU's biodiesel needs by 2010.
By 2006, Germany would have an annual biodiesel production capacity of 1.9-2.1 million tonnes, France 600,000-800,000 tonnes, Italy 500,000-550,000, U.K. 250,000 tonnes, Austria 150,000 tonnes and Poland 100,000-120,000 tonnes.
Japan may need up to 1.8 billion litres of fuel ethanol a year if it made an optional 3 percent ethanol content in national fuel supplies mandatory. A blending ratio of 10 percent would boost demand to around 6 billion litres per year.
Japan, the world's second-largest consumer of gasoline, imported 149 million litres from Brazil in 2004.
The world's biggest sugar-ethanol cooperative, Brazil's Copersucar, has signed a deal to sell 15 million litres of ethanol to Japan's independent fuel distributor, Kotobuky Nenryo Co.
Canada's annual ethanol production is about 300 million litres per year, an IEA report published in 2004 showed. The North American country hopes to see an increase in ethanol production by 750 million litres a year.
A number of major initiatives are underway to boost production significantly, possibly blending 35 percent of all gasoline supplies with 10 percent ethanol by 2010.
Thailand, the world's second-biggest sugar exporter after Brazil, plans to replace regular gasoline with a mix that includes 10 percent ethanol in 2007.
The Industry Ministry said in September that Thailand's ethanol production capacity would rise 33 times to 1.5 billion litres a year in 2006 when all 24 ethanol plants are running. But other officials have said they were targetting output of just 1 billion litres a year by 2010.
India, the world's biggest