Australia Taxes Imports; EU Expands Tariffs

By Tina Caparella

After nearly a year-long investigation, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has concluded that subsidized biodiesel exported from the United States to Australia has caused material injury to the country’s biodiesel industry leading the Australian Minister of Home Affairs to place duties on imported U.S. biodiesel, which receives a one dollar per gallon tax subsidy from the U.S. government. The Australian biodiesel industry claims the imports killed local production as it couldn’t compete fairly with the heavily subsidized U.S. alternative fuel. The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed last year by Biodiesel Producers, Ltd., an Australian biodiesel manufacturer.

In its findings, the customs and border service found that U.S. biodiesel was “dumped with margins of 40 percent; and subsidized with margins of 55 percent.” The duties will apply to biodiesel exported to Australia after publication of the minister’s notice, which was April 18, 2011. The amount of the duties wasn’t specified but will be determined to level the playing field for Australian producers.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) adopted regulations in early May to extend the antidumping and countervailing duties that currently apply to imports of biodiesel from the United States to imports of biodiesel from Canada that originate in the United States. The action followed a complaint filed last year by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) that U.S. biodiesel was circumventing the tariffs by first being imported into Canada prior to its arrival in Europe. The accusation came after Canadian biodiesel exports to Europe increased after the U.S. duties were imposed in March 2009. The EU investigation concluded that U.S. biodiesel did flow through Canada to Europe, effectively avoiding the required duties. A similar investigation launched against Singapore was found not to be true and was terminated.

Canadian biodiesel producers Rothsay Biodiesel and Biox Corporation received exemptions from the EU tariffs, which can be as high as 198 euro for antidumping duties, and from 211 to 237 euro for countervailing duties.

According to the EBB, the measures adopted by the EU Council are retroactive to August 13, 2010, for antidumping and countervailing duties to biodiesel imports from Canada with the maximum combined duty calculated during the investigation to apply (409 euro per ton). In addition, the duties are retroactive to August 13, 2010, for all imports of U.S. biodiesel blends below the 20 percent threshold. For U.S. companies already investigated in 2009, the combined per company duties will apply (213 to 409 euro per ton) while other U.S. companies will be subject to the highest combined duty (409 euro per ton) in proportion to the biodiesel content in the blend.

“The anticircumvention measures adopted by the council represent a decisive move to ensure that the remedial effect of the EU duties on U.S. biodiesel is fully maintained over time,” said EBB Secretary General Raffaello Garofalo. “Operators should be aware than any future attempt to circumvent the existing duties can be investigated and remedied in the same way, with retroactive financial implications for the companies involved.”

BDI Changes Up Management Board

The founders of BDI – BioEnergy International AG, Wilhelm Hammer, chief executive officer, and Helmut Gossler, chief technical officer, are leaving the company’s management board for personal reasons when their contracts end on June 30, 2011. Hammer and Gossler are taking this step after making appropriate preparations for their successors and in full agreement with the supervisory board of the company. They will continue to be associated with BDI as shareholders and consultants. BDI is an Austrian market and technology leader in the construction of customized multi-feedstock biodiesel plants.

Markus Dielacher and Dr. Edgar Ahn have been appointed to the BDI management board. Both have been with the company for many years and have in-depth sales and technical experience. Dagmar Heiden-Gasteiner will remain in charge of the commercial operations as chief financial officer.

Dielacher, who has been chief operations officer since 2008, and his team will be responsible for the engineering and project management operations. A plant manufacturing specialist with a doctorate in process engineering, Ahn, who has been with BDI since 1997, and his team will be responsible for the sales and marketing and research and development operations.

“Since BDI was established 15 years ago, my partner Helmut Gossler and I have worked with our colleagues to develop the company from small beginnings to the world market leader for multi-feedstock biodiesel plants,” said Hammer. “In spite of the severe financial and economic crisis in recent years, BDI is well equipped for the future today as demonstrated by the positive development of the business in 2010.”

Technical Publication Released

A new compilation, STP 1477, Biofuels, is now available from ASTM International and features 33 peer-reviewed papers that provide a comprehensive overview of biofuels. Topics in the selected technical paper, or STP, are widely varied and include analysis and evaluation of properties, biodiesel fuels and base oils, related topics, and new advancements.

STP 1477, Biofuels, is 633 pages and available to purchase in hard copy or as an e-book at

Renderer to Build Biogas Plant

Saria-Rethmann Group, one of Europe’s largest animal products waste disposal companies, has commissioned Enbasys GmbH, a subsidiary of BDI – BioEnergy International AG, to build a biogas plant. The project, worth more than 4 million euro, will be built at Saria’s location in Marl, Germany, to be operational by the end of 2011. It will produce a total of 6.3 million normal cubic meters of biogas per year from approximately 87,000 metric tons of industrial waste products such as biowaste and sewage and grease trap sludge. That’s enough power to supply 6,000 European households.

Saria has been taking advantage of BDI know-how for some time. The German company already has several multi-feedstock biodiesel plants built by BDI.

British Company Uses Food Waste as Feedstock

Greenergy, a privately owned company that supplies one-fifth of Britain’s road fuel, has begun producing biodiesel from high fat solid food waste. In a unique partnership with Brocklesby, Ltd., a specialist in recycling edible oils, unsalable food products such as crisps, sausage rolls, and pies, which would previously have gone to landfill or compost, are now being converted for biofuel and energy production.

Greenergy has invested 50 million British pounds in its biodiesel production facility in Immingham on the east coast of England in order to efficiently process used cooking oils. The company already uses significant quantities (more than 20 million liters, or 5.2 million gallons, per month) of biodiesel from used cooking oil supplied from a range of food producers. The food waste products typically contain between 25 and 30 percent oil and fat, which is extracted through a novel process developed by Brocklesby and then further purified by Greenergy. Only then are the oils and fats suitable for conversion to biodiesel. Any food solids that remain after processing are currently dried and then either composted or used to produce energy through anaerobic digestion.

Iowa Awards Grants, Passes Biodiesel Legislation

Under the Iowa State Energy Program and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, three grants totaling $933,000 have been awarded for renewable fuels education, marketing, and outreach efforts to help boost increased use of both biodiesel and ethanol blended gasoline.

The Magellan Pipeline Company, LP, will receive $500,000 in grant assistance to install new equipment that will allow for the unloading, storage, and blending of biodiesel at its Des Moines, IA, terminal.

The Iowa Biodiesel Board was granted $33,000 to educate Iowa diesel technicians on the benefits of biodiesel through its Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians Program. A $400,000 grant was awarded for ethanol blender pumps.

In separate news, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill in late May that will give the state one of the most comprehensive biodiesel fuel policies in the United States. The legislation creates a system that incentivizes local production, encourages availability of biodiesel at the pump, and invests in infrastructure needed for wide distribution, according to the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

The renewable energy bill, Senate File 531, will:

• extend the Iowa biodiesel retailer credit, at two cents per gallon for blends of two percent biodiesel and 4.5 cents per gallon for five percent biodiesel (B5), in 2012, followed by 4.5 cents per gallon for B5 through 2017;

• make it easier for petroleum marketers to achieve the credit; and

• add a biodiesel production incentive of three cents per gallon in 2012, 2.5 cents per gallon in 2013, and two cents per gallon in 2014 (for first 25 million gallons per producer).

RTI Acquired by European Equity Company

EQT Infrastructure, a leading private equity group in Northern Europe, signed a definitive agreement in late April to acquire all the outstanding stock in Restaurant Technologies, Inc., (RTI), the U.S. foodservice industry’s leading provider of cooking oil management services, from Parthenon Capital Partners and ABS Capital Partners. This is EQT’s second investment in the United States. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in the second quarter. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Through operations in 36 depots across the United States, RTI distributes oil to more than 17,000 foodservice customers to be stored in and managed by a proprietary oil management system that is installed on-site at each customer location. Once the oil is used, the waste oil is collected by RTI for sale as feedstock to biodiesel fuel refiners. RTI generated revenues of approximately $250 million over the last year.

“We’re excited about this transaction as we believe it will allow us to provide even more services to our customers as we grow the business,” said Jeffrey Kiesel, chief executive officer of RTI. “We know that EQT Infrastructure will develop an experienced board of directors with industrial advisors who will provide us valued guidance.” Geoff Roberts, an industrial advisor to EQT, will take the position as chairman of the board of RTI.

University Receives Grant for Catalyst

Wake Forest University’s Terrafinity project in Winston-Salem, NC, has received a $145,665 one-year grant from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to help expand testing of a key catalyst in the biodiesel project.

Wake researchers have been working on developing an inexpensive method for converting high free fatty acid feedstocks, such as waste vegetable oil, animal fats, and oils extracted from municipal sewage and water treatment plants, into biodiesel with a yield greater than 98 percent in less than 15 minutes. According to reports, the catalyst can be produced for 11 cents per gram in the laboratory, although researchers said the per-gram cost will be significantly reduced in a commercial setting. The grant will help pay for the attempt at producing the catalyst in large quantities through a commercial-grade company.

U.S. Foodservice Buys Waste Oil Co.

U.S. Foodservice, one of America’s leading foodservice distributors, has purchased the assets of WVO Industries of Bluffton, SC. WVO collects and removes water, food particles, and other impurities from waste vegetable oil then ships the feedstock to a processing company that produces biodiesel that is blended with petroleum diesel to be used to fuel hundreds of food delivery trucks at the U.S. Foodservice-Columbia Division in Lexington, SC.

U.S. Foodservice has been the exclusive collection agent for WVO since 2008, providing it with waste cooking oil from restaurant deep fryers.

The WVO assets will be relocated to a new tipping station at the U.S. Foodservice Lexington distribution center to store waste oil for processing and blending into biodiesel. The station will be operational by late 2011, and be able to convert five million pounds of waste cooking oil into 400,000 gallons of biodiesel feedstock each year. The division plans to use about 200,000 gallons of the converted waste vegetable oil for biodiesel annually, with the remaining gallons to be made available to other divisions or companies.

Biofuels Bulletin – June 2011 RENDER | back