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Singapore Biofuels Activities

Outline map of Singapore.

Singapore places a great importance on the development of biofuels as part of its long term energy strategy. The nation is trying to position itself as a major processing and trading biofuels hub in Asia, as well as among the leaders in second-generation biofuels production. Singapore has a well-established trading market and infrastructure already in place — its shipping terminals would allow transportation of biofuels to many places around the world. It also has proximity to feedstock suppliers (such as Malaysia and Indonesia for palm oil) and emerging high-demand centers (India and China, for example).

In the past few years, Singapore has made considerable progress in this direction. About five biodiesel plants are operating on Jurong Island, Singapore's petrochemical hub, with a total capacity exceeding 700,000 tonnes per year. A few more plants are planned to begin operation in 2008. The Economic Development Board of Singapore expects the biodiesel production output to exceed 1 million tonnes per year by 2010, and reach 3 million tonnes by 2015. Most of the existing and planned facilities use palm oil, soya oil, and small amounts of used cooking oil. Jatropha is planned to be added when sufficient supplies are available.

Nine industry players, including DaimlerChrysler and Shell Eastern Petroleum, have already started a Singapore biodiesel testing project for the evaluation of biodiesel in modern diesel-powered cars. The project aims to improve the use of methyl esters from palm oil in motor fuels in Southeast Asian climates (IHT 2007).

Biodiesel-producing companies in Singapore plan to export initially to the United States and Europe while the Asian markets are developing and while mandatory blending regulations in the region take effect.

To remain competitive, the government in May committed to spending 350 million Singapore dollars, or U.S.$240 million, in the next five years to help make Singapore a world leader in clean energy production, including both solar power — the government's main focus — and biofuels. Singapore intends to market itself as a research and development center, a global testing ground, and a site for early adoption of clean energy solutions (IHT 2007).

Sources

  1. Speech given at the 23rd Asia-Pacific Petroleum Conference in Singapore, September 11, 2007, by S. Iswaran, Minister of State for Trade & Industry, summary provided by BiodieselNow
  2. International Herald Tribune (IHT), October 29, 2007