Prague – Gross consumption of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), which are used as part of bio-diesel, grew by more than 60 percent year-on-year to nearly 141,262 tonnes last year, the Industry and Trade Ministry has said at its website.

Domestic production more than doubled to 154.923 tonnes, the ministry said.

The increased FAME consumption is related with raising of the obligatory amount of biofuel to diesel-oil from 2 to 4.5 percent last year.

Czech deputies have recently decided to raise the share of FAME in petrol to 4.1 percent and in diesel-oil to 6 percent as of June. The Senate and President Vaclav Klaus are yet to approve this proposal.

The Czech Republic has pledged to introduce into the market at least 5.75 percent of biofuels from all fuel used for transportation in 2010.

According to the EU regulation, biofuel has been obligatorily added to diesel-oil since September 2007 and to petrol since 2008.

While domestic production of FAME did not suffice to cover domestic consumption in 2008, production exceeded consumption by nearly 14,000 tonnes last year.

Agricultural companies are attracted to producing biofuels by state subsidies. For instance, the firm Preol of the Agrofert Holding group opened a Kc1.6bn plant for rape-seed processing and rapeseed oil methyl ester production in Lovosice, northern Bohemia, last year.

Exports of FAME dropped notably last year. While 50 percent of domestic production was exported in 2008, last year it was only less than a sixth.

Chemofarma in Usti nad Labem, northern Bohemia, was the first Czech biofuel producing unit which was put into operation in 1991.

The biggest Czech biofuel producers include STZ and Preol.

FAME consumption, domestic production, imports and exports (in tonnes):

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Gross consumption 51,600 73,140 70,060 35,850 3169 20,229 36,946 88,121 141,262
Domestic production 71,100 104,400 113,500 85,144 126,894 110,152 81,806 76,672 154,923
Imports 2900 40 60 3120 7811 22,973 8339 43,657 10,866
Exports 22,400 31,300 43,500 51,414 131,536 110,926 53,572 34,352 24,221

Source: the Industry and Trade Ministry