As we reported earlier this week, the latest USDA 2013 Prospective Plantings report says corn acreage will be at its highest level ever, but soybeans are expected to be lower. You would think that could be bad news for biodiesel makers, who make the green fuel primarily from soybeans. But Biodiesel Magazine points out that biodiesel refineries are already clamoring for ethanol plants’ corn oil, and the expected increase in corn at ethanol plants could increase the amount of corn oil being made into biodiesel:
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, corn oil use for biodiesel production almost doubled in the U.S. from 2011 to 2012, jumping from 304 million pounds to 571 million pounds, despite nearly the same volume of biodiesel produced both years. U.S. biodiesel producers used more corn oil last year than tallow, poultry fat or white grease, nearly matching yellow grease. In December alone, corn oil for biodiesel production was surpassed only by soybean oil.
Now soybean oil is still king in the biodiesel feedstock world, so we’ll have to keep an eye if the uptick in corn acres (and the oil it produces) will be able to pick up any slack from the downtick in soybean acres.