The National Biodiesel Board voiced measured support on May 29 for the EPA’s proposal to increase volumes for biodiesel and other Advanced Biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard while calling for improvements in the final rule.
“This proposal is a significant step in the right direction,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “It is not perfect, but it will get the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and put people back to work. I want to thank Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Vilsack for restoring growth to the program and for their commitment to renewable fuels.”
“Biodiesel has proven that Advanced Biofuels can do just what we said they would, which is create jobs and strengthen our energy security while significantly cutting harmful pollution from petroleum,” Jobe said. “Biodiesel has displaced more than 8 billion gallons of petroleum diesel in the U.S. over the last decade. That is an incredible achievement, and we will build on that success under the proposal the EPA released today. However, more can be done, and we particularly look forward to working with the administration on strengthening biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 during the comment period in the coming weeks.”
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel – meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel.
Biodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal, which is slated to be finalized in November, would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. Because of biodiesel’s higher energy content, this would count as 2.95 billion ethanol equivalent gallons under the RFS. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion ethanol equivalent gallons in 2016. NBB had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.
In its initial proposal in November 2013, the EPA called for holding the biodiesel standard flat at 1.28 billion gallons through 2015—an effective cut from actual annual production in 2013 and 2014 of about 1.8 billion gallons.