Imported Biodiesel Raises a Ruckus

ASA outraged that foreign conglomerate can claim U.S. tax credit for biodiesel. John Vogel

Published on: Nov 18, 2005

Shortly after a boatload of palm oil-based biodiesel docked in Tampa, American Soybean Association President Bob Metz expressed outrage. "Importing biodiesel will only subsidize foreign farmers and biodiesel producers with U.S. taxpayer dollars." He called on Congress and President Bush to close the new tax incentive loophole in the new law designed to decrease America’s dependence on foreign energy.

On Nov. 8, EarthFirst Americas docked a 268,000-gallon tanker full of biodiesel made in Ecuador in the Port of Tampa. The subsidiary of EarthFirst Technologies, Inc., a foreign owned conglomerate announced it would be the first of many regular biodiesel shipments made of palm oil.

EFA plans to import monthly shipments of up to 3-million gallons by the end of the first quarter of 2006. The fuel is biodegradable and registered with U.S. EPA. It meets the fuel specifications of reciprocating diesel engines and gas turbines.

As a renewable fuel in power generation applications, it qualifies for many renewable energy programs. This first shipment is being sold to diesel distributors and end users throughout Florida as "Solar Diesel." This particular load of biodiesel was made entirely from Ecuadorian palm oil utilizing existing refining technologies.

EFA's partner in the development of biodiesel is La Fabril of Manta, Ecuador, one of the region's largest manufacturers of oils from palm fruit and soy. However, the overall partnership between EFA and La Fabril includes the export of EFTI's Catalytic Activated Vacuum Distillation (CAVD) technology and equipment, which is expected to enhance the efficiency and lower the production costs of the biodiesel refining process, according to EFA spokesman Elio E. Muller Jr.

The Company's primary area of focus is in the deployment of various thermal distillation technologies, such as CAVD, for uses in Latin America. EFA employs the CAVD technology to lower the cost of producing biodiesel and other fuels from soy, rapeseed and palm fruit.

The Company expects to import up to 45 million gallons during 2006, more than half of which is expected to be brought into the Port of Tampa. The Company expects to import over 100 million gallons of biodiesel in 2007.