APEC - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Photos of, from left to right, a tractor operator grinding cornstalks in a field, a man inspecting switchgrass, a handful of wood chips, and a filling station providing E85. APEC Biofuels Home

Summary of APEC Biofuels Activities

The biofuels industry in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region consists of two distinct sectors, ethanol and biodiesel. Fuel ethanol production within the region in 2007 was estimated at approximately 27,600 million liters, mainly produced in the United States; China; Canada; Australia; and Thailand. Biodiesel production in 2007 was approximately 4,400 million liters with the majority of the production coming from the United States; Indonesia; Malaysia; China; Australia; and Canada.

Biofuels in the APEC region are produced from a variety of first-generation feedstock using well-established conversion technologies. For ethanol production, these include: starches from grains (cereals, feed, and grains), tubers (cassava and sweet potatoes), sugars from crops (sugar beets, sugarcane, and sweet sorghum), and food-processing byproducts (molasses, cheese whey, and beverage waste). First-generation biodiesel feedstocks used in the APEC economies include vegetable oil (mainly soybean, rapeseed, and palm oil), used cooking oil, and animal fat (tallow and cat fish oil). Second-generation feedstocks for ethanol production include lignocellulosic material, such as crop and forest residues. Economies with large-scale agriculture and forestry operations such as Canada; the United States; and China have set up demonstration projects using lignocellulosic biomass for ethanol production. An advanced biodiesel feedstock includes microalgae, and few companies in the United States and New Zealand have started pilot projects to grow algae (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Ethanol Feedstock in APEC Economies

A map showing the types of ethanol feedstock available in 17 APEC economies.

Figure 2. Biodiesel Feedstock in APEC Economies

A map showing the types of biodiesel feedstock available in 20 APEC economies.

Ethanol and biodiesel in the APEC region are used in various blends with gasoline and petro-diesel (Table 1). Low-level blends (below E10 – 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline – and B5 – 5% biodiesel and 95% diesel) don't require modifications to the existing vehicle engines and refueling infrastructure, so they are most commonly used. The United States and Australia have been testing the use of E20 (20% ethanol and 80% gasoline) in regular vehicles. In January 2008, Thailand began sales of E20 for use in E20-compatible vehicles.

Higher-level blends (such as E85 and B100) are used in special vehicles (flexible fuel vehicles or dedicated biofuels vehicles), so their market is relatively small. In the APEC region, E85 is offered nationwide only in the United States and in limited volume in Canada.Thailand and Australia plan to introduce E85 in the next few years. B100 is offered in the United States and Australia to serve professional fleets.

Table 1. Biofuels Currently Used in the APEC Region
Economy Ethanol Biodiesel
Australia E10Different blend levels from B2 to B100
Brunei Darussalam 00
Canada E5 (Ontario),
E7.5 (Saskatchewan),
and E8.5 (Manitoba);
limited offer of E85
B2, B5, B20
Chile 00
China E10 is used in 5 provinces and 27 citiesN/A
Hong Kong, China N/AN/A
Indonesia E5B2.5, B5
Japan E3N/A
Korea N/AB5, B20
Malaysia N/AEnvo Diesel - 95% petroleum diesel and 5% processed palm oil (RBD palm olein); B5
Mexico 00
New Zealand E10 at three sites in AucklandN/A
Papua New Guinea N/ASVO at different blend levels
Peru 00
The Philippines E10B1
Russia 00
Singapore N/AN/A
Chinese Taipei E3B1 to B20
Thailand E10, E20B2, B5
United States E10, E85B2, B5, B20, B100
Viet Nam 00

Information current as of April 2008; N/A - Information not available

Although biofuels trade is relatively minor within the APEC region, some member economies see substantial opportunities for export. These include Malaysia; Thailand; Indonesia; and the Philippines, which would greatly benefit from their proximity to China; Korea; and Japan – the latter economies are projected to be significant importers if the biofuels industry develops in the region.

There are various levels of government involvement and support for biofuels development in the APEC region. While governments in some economies such as Indonesia; Mexico; Russia; and Viet Nam have expressed interest and support for the biofuels industry, there are no policies in place. On the other hand, the governments of Australia; Canada; China; Thailand; and the United States have adopted a range of policy instruments that affect the production and consumption of biofuels. The most common policy supporting biofuels in the APEC region is the mandate for compulsory blending with fossil fuels to a certain percentage (Table 2). Other policy instruments applied in the region include fuel tax exemptions, loan guarantees, reduced enterprise taxes and subsidies (direct and indirect) for biofuels production, and R&D investments.

Table 2. Biofuel Mandates and Targets in APEC Economies
Economy Ethanol
Mandates and Targets
Mandates and Targets
Australia A biofuels target of at least 350 million litres by 2010 A biofuels target of at least 350 million litres by 2010
Brunei Darussalam X X
Canada E5 by 2010 B2 by 2012
Chile Plans to introduce voluntary E5 in 2008 Plans to introduce voluntary B5 in 2008
China Increase production to 3 million tonnes/year by 2010 and to 10 million tonnes/year by 2020 Increase production to 300,000 tonnes/year in 2010 and 2 million tonnes/year in 2020
Hong Kong, China X X
Indonesia 2% biofuels in the energy mix by 2010; 3% by 2015; 5% by 2025 2% biofuels in the energy mix by 2010; 3% by 2015; 5% by 2025
Japan 500 million liters by 2010 X
Korea X B0.5; B3 by 2012
Malaysia X B5 was planned to be mandated in 2008. Government suspended implementation due to the palm oil supply and price considerations
Mexico X X
New Zealand Biofuels to account for 0.53% of total fuels sold in New Zealand in 2008 and increase to 3.4% by 2012 Biofuels to account for 0.53% of total fuels sold in New Zealand in 2008 and increase to 3.4% by 2012
Papua New Guinea X X
Peru E7.8 in 2010 B2 in 2009; B5 in 2011
The Philippines E5 by 2009; E10 by 2011 B1 since May 2007; possibly B2 in 2009
Russia X X
Singapore X X
Chinese Taipei E3 in 2011 X
Thailand X B2 since February 2008; B5 in 2011; B10 in 2012
United States 7.5 billion gallons of biofuel by 2012 7.5 billion gallons of biofuel by 2012
Viet Nam 500 million liters by 2020 50 million liters by 2020

For more information on biofuels development in the APEC region, please refer to the project's final report "The Future of Liquid Biofuels in APEC Economies" (PDF 2.9 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

Information on individual economies can be found in the section on APEC Biofuels Activities by Member Economy.