Brazil Biodiesel Expansion

New Brazil Biodiesel Mandate Will Consume More Soybeans Domestically

Lin Tan
By  Lin Tan , DTN China Correspondent
Brazil is starting to implement an 11% biodiesel blend nationally, including at this fuel station in Mato Grosso, to help boost domestic crushing of soybeans. (DTN photo by Lin Tan)

SAO PAULO, Brazil (DTN) -- After March 2019, Brazilian truck drivers will start to fill their tanks with 11% diesel blends (B11) at fuel stations throughout the country thanks to a new mandatory policy to increase domestic biodiesel blending in Brazil.

"Brazil will start a new mandatory biodiesel blending policy from next year to increase biodiesel blending each year by 1% higher from B11 until we reach B15. That means 15% of biodiesel blending at the pump," said Andre Nassar, chief executive of the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oils Industries (ABIOVE). "This new policy will bring a demand of 600,000 metric tons (188 million gallons) more biodiesel production next year."

ABIOVE represents the vegetable oil industries working with the Brazilian government on policies related to this sector, as well as promoting those Brazilian products.

Brazil produces 4 million metric tons of biodiesel (1.5 billion gallons) a year with around 40 biodiesel processors. The addition of 600,000 tons of soybean oil demand will need 3.3 mmt (121 million bushels) of soybean crushing. When B15 becomes mandatory before 2023, there will be increased demand of more than 17 mmt of soybean (625 mb) for biodiesel production.

"Besides the mandatory biodiesel blending, the country also approved a voluntary program for B100 for special fleets, such as buses in the city," Nassar said. "This pure biodiesel will be delivered to the users directly, not sold through gas stations, but will need to be reported to Brazil Oil and Petrol National Agency for regulation."

The country is doing testing of both the quality of B100 and special engines that can use pure biodiesel, Nassar added.

Brazil's crushing industry still has room to expend crushing volume, according to ABIOVE. Brazil has a soybean crushing capacity of 55 mmt, (around 2 billion bushels), but the industry only crushed 39 mmt last year (1.4 billion bushels) and will crush 45 mmt (1.65 bb) this year, as the market demand increased after Argentina's crop failure.

According to USDA's latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Brazil is projected to product 120.5 mmt (4.43 bb) of soybeans. If crush capacity reaches 45 mmt, that would put domestic crush at about 37% of production. USDA currently pegs Brazil's projected domestic crush at closer to 42.7 mmt.

The increase in biodiesel demand will use more of the soybean oil supply in Brazil, causing potentially lower exports if no new crushing plants are built. However, more soybean oil demand is expected to stimulate the crushing industry and also bring more soybean meal to the market, which will be competing with U.S. and Argentinian soy meal in Europe and other markets. But Nassar believes that the internal market will also consume more soy meal in the coming years as well.

"Livestock companies were not doing good in the past year, but with the economic recovery, as well as new development in the industry, we'll need more soybean meal in the domestic market. This change will help the industry to keep a healthy condition," Nassar said.