A renewal of federal tax credit and renewable energy mandates are bringing back to life more than 52 idle Biodiesel plants in the United States. That represents over a quarter of the plants in the industry.
Biofuels boomed in 2005 when it was blended at 5% with diesel fuel sold at pumps in 20 states. "U.S. output expanded eightfold from 2004 to 2008, peaking at 691 million gallons annually," according to LA Times. State incentives, including tax credits, served as a catalyst for the industry.
Biodiesel output fell 54% after incentive programs, and production was scaled back. But production quickly turned back around after Congress restored tax credits in December for one year, and the EPA established higher biodiesel blending mandates.
"The industry's trade group, the National Biodiesel Board, last month reported that U.S. production was headed toward a record year after three consecutive months of record output." About half of the U.S. biodiesel production is still derived from soy oil.
Yet the future of biodiesel remains uncertain. Many still-idle factories are now for sale, opening the industry's floodgates for opportunities in new management, partnerships, and company takeovers. Challenging questions also remain about the industry's sustainability without federal and state tax incentives. Without them, the cost of biodiesel will likely surge.
For now, however, business appears to be booming.
So, which biofuel stocks are expected to see the biggest upside? To investigate, we collected data on institutional money flows and identified a list of biofuel stocks that have seen significant institutional buying during the current quarter.
Big money managers seem to think the industry's rebound presents an attractive buying opportunity in the stocks mentioned below -- do you agree?
List sorted alphabetically. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)
1. Amyris Biotechnologies
2. Atlantic Power
5. Green Plains Renewable Energy
7. Synthesis Energy Systems
Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
Kapitall's Becca Lipman and Eben Esterhuizen do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Fidelity.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Solazyme and Amyris. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.