The world of renewable diesel feedstocks is key to the emerging markets for hydrotreated oil and fats. The world runs on about 240 million mt per year (tpy) of fats and oils. There is some 10% or double counting as virgin oils and fats that are used in cooking often return to the world market as used cooking oils. Of the 240 million tpy used, about 11% is from animals (bovine, porcine, ovine, avian, and aquatic), and over 70% of all fats and oils are used for human food. Palm oil production passed soybean oil nearly 20 years ago, and over 50% of the world’s food products have palm oil. This replaced hydrogenated oils due to health concerns related to trans fatty acids. Where will the 45 million tpy come from for renewable diesel and jet fuels? This is the expected level of market penetration into heavy-duty markets and aviation by 2030. That is nearly 20% of the annual 240 million tpy. Indeed, the excess soybean and palm oil production offer supply (soybean oil in the Americas and palm oil in Asia and Africa). However, the question must be asked, and the UN FAO asked it recently, about diverting lower value fats and oils to the fuel markets. We know excess soybean, rapeseed, canola, and palm oils are used in renewable diesel feedstocks. However, in the developing world lower quality fats and oils are used for animal feeds, heating, and caloric supplies in some human diets deficient in caloric content.
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