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Bolivia announces new biodiesel production plan

The government began mandatory use of B30 biodiesel – made up of 30 percent palm oil-based biofuel – in December 2019. (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

LA PAZ, Jan 25, 2021, MercoPress. Bolivia will build ecological diesel and biodiesel plants to reduce imports of liquid fuels, Hydrocarbon and Energy Minister Franklin Molina announced over this past weekend, MercoPress reported.

The official underlined that the goal was to further the industrialization process in order to, in turn, cut down both foreign trade expenditures and state subsidies. It is estimated Bolivia will spend between 1,000 and 1,200 million US dollars importing diesel in 2021 for domestic supply.

The ultimate target is to make way for the yielding of second-generation biofuels out of both urban waste and produce, added Molina, who also released details that indicated the biodiesel plant would start operations sometime in 2024 and its construction will cost around 279 million US dollars.

Molina added that the plant was expected to put out 12,000 barrels of diesel per day. “This is part of the government’s plan and we are in the final configuration of the technical specifications,” Molina told journalists, adding details that were to be finalized by as late as March this year.

Of the total 279 million dollars, 18 million are to be disbursed for the pre-investment phase the execution stage of the project would require the additional 261 million, according to Molina and the state-owned Yacimientos Petrolifos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB).

The minister insisted both parts are to be bundled into a single project. “The objective is to achieve the substitution of diesel imports through alternative processes for the production of first-generation biodiesel, ecological diesel and even maximize other contiguous processes such as the use of LNG that will allow the replacement of 2,800 barrels of diesel per day in the thermoelectric sector plant and other activities,” he said.

Replacing fuel imports will also keep large sums of money within the country, the minister also explained.

The biodiesel plant will also boost agricultural activities because it will demand soybeans and other alternative crops.

“Bolivia needs this type of project because it helps the energy matrix become cleaner and it will benefit countless micro-enterprises that will start a process of collecting animal fat and edible oil which is presently disposed of thus becoming an environmental liability,” Molina stressed as he praised former President Evo Morales’ initiative in these matters.

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