France is the world’s 4th most attractive market for investment in biofuels, according to Ernst & Young’s Biofuels Country Attractiveness Indices 2007. France also takes top ranks for competitiveness in individual markets, placing the country 2nd for biodiesel and 4th for ethanol.
“There is immense potential for innovative biofuel projects in France: we are the second-largest biofuel consuming country in the EU, and consumption is up by nearly 63%,” says Philippe Favre, President of the Invest in France Agency.
Growth in this sector is being driven by special initiatives, such as the Grenelle de l’environment scheme launched by the French government, which is aimed at driving clean energy and reducing CO2 emissions. Transportation is also pushing the market forward, with the French National Road Freight Federation (FNTR) planning to increase biofuel use for freight vehicles, and major automobile manufacturers producing more and more clean vehicles that run on biofuels.
For many international biofuel companies, France is already the place to be – British chemicals manufacturer INEOS Enterprises, along with farming group SICLAÉ and oil-seed group C.Thywissen, is currently investing nearly €70 million to more than double output at its biodiesel plant in Baleycourt (in eastern France) by 2008. Cargill of the US intends to invest over €50 million at its site in Montoir (in western France) to better support biodiesel production.
Foreign investors in France can take part in leading-edge research projects dedicated to biofuels through partnerships within the nation’s officially labelled competitive clusters, including the Industries & Agro-Resources global cluster and the Capenergy national cluster.