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Would bioethanol be “third pillar” of Hungary's crop-farming sector

Bioethanol should become the third pillar of Hungary's crop farming sector after food and animal feed, Minister of Agriculture József Gráf told a conference on biofuels in Hódmezővásárhely on Friday.

Hungary could use an annual 2 million - 2.5 million tons of its maize harvest for bioethanol production, Graf said. This is enough to supply the three larger bioethanol plants, of an annual capacity of 200,000-500,000, as well as the several smaller plants planned to operate in the country by the year 2010, he said. Hungary's grain harvests average 12 million tons a year, but many harvests have reached 15 million - 18 million tons in recent years.

Hungary's domestic demand is only about 8.3 million tons, which leaves the country with a sizable surplus. Graf noted that still too few crops are grown to meet the EU's target for biodiesel production. He said the area on which rapeseed is grown in Hungary has increased 50% to 300,000 hectares, but the area on which sunflowers are grown must still be increased significantly.

Hungarian economy newswire, Econews reported earlier that the state has granted Ft 500 million to a project involving Hungarian oil and gas company Mol, Veszprem's Pannon University and oil seed grower and distributor KITE which aims to develop a new form of biodiesel made from rapeseed and sunflower seed. The fuel is expected to burn cleaner than current types of biodiesel, and researchers expect mixtures of more than the present 5% can be achieved without requiring any technical modifications to engines. (Bg, Gazdasági Rádió)