Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 4/07

Biofuels – experiences and perspectives in industrialized and developing countries

Oliver Henniges and Jürgen Zeddies
University of Hohenheim, Germany


In many countries biofuels are substantially subsidized through different political tools. In this paper the development of the biofuel production in the most important countries USA, Brazil, and Europe are described. The production costs in these countries are calculated based upon empiric surveys and compared with each other. Costs for investment, personnel and feedstock as well as quantities of byproducts are given in detail. In an international comparison Thailand, Australia, and China are included, too. The conclusions result in the finding that under present price-cost-relations only in Brazil bioethanol is competitive more or less without state subsidies. The future profitability depends on the further development of technologic innovations and of the prices for fossil energy as well as of agricultural feedstuff, in particular maize, wheat, and sugar.

Keywords: biofuels, political support, international competitiveness

JEL: Q 410

Vol. 46 (2007), No. 4: 349-371