26 Jun 2013, 5.28 pm GMT

Sao Paulo, 26 June (Argus) — Brazilian biodiesel producer BSBIOS – based in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul – exported a shipment of biodiesel to Europe on 25 June, marking the first export of the biofuel from Brazil.

The country has emerged as one of the world’s top biodiesel producers and consumers after mandating the fuel’s use five years ago.

The 22t shipment to Rotterdam was a big step for the biodiesel sector, BSBIOS chief Erasmo Battistella said, adding he hopes to expand exports. He did not specify the buyer of the unusually small shipment.

Brazil’s tax structure, which favors the export of raw materials such as soybeans over semi-manufactured goods such as biodiesel, has impeded the advance of Brazil in this international market. The country is the world’s second largest soybean producer and is close to overtaking the US. Roughly 70pc of Brazil’s biodiesel comes from soybean oil.

Brazil began its mandatory biodiesel program in 2008 at a 2pc blend in diesel. This blend rose to 5pc in January 2010, where it remains today.

The industry has the capacity to produce twice the present national consumption and is lobbying the government to raise the blend to 10pc generally and to as high as 20pc for specific markets, such as city bus fleets, large urban centers and railway locomotives.

The government is currently renewing the country’s biodiesel legislation, which could result in an increase in the blend.

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