Malaysia Aims To Be Top Biodiesel Producer Globally

Malaysia said Jan. 26 it aims to become the world's top producer of biodiesel amid an aggressive expansion in its palm oil production as demand soars for the alternative fuel.

"Malaysia is the biggest producer of crude palm oil, and logically we can become the biggest producer of biodiesel," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a biodiesel plant in the northern state of Perak. Malaysia's palmoil output soared to nearly 14 million tons in 2004, half the world's production.

"We are confident that demand for biodiesel will surge globally due to skyrocketing prices of petroleum," he said. Additionally he attributed demand for biodiesel to an increasingly widespread commitment to environmentally friendly fuel.

The Lereno biodiesel plant, to cost 90 million ringgit (US$24 million), will produce 60,000 tons of biodiesel annually beginning 2007. .

Strong demand for biodiesel from Europe as well as Colombia, India, South Korea and Turkey is fuelling the growth of the industry in Malaysia

The government, keen to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, is building three biodiesel plants. It has also begun preparations to change from diesel to bio-fuels by 2008, including drafting legislation that will make the switch mandatory.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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