The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) kicked off the year with a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the 2012 cellulosic biofuel mandate. The organization says the biofuel industry has repeatedly failed to produce the cellulosic biofuel needed to meet the government mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
On January 9, 2012, EPA announced the applicable volumetric requirements for various renewable fuels under the RFS and established the 2012 regulatory requirement for cellulosic biofuel at 10.45 million ethanol-equivalent gallons. According AFPM, they relied upon EPA’s most recent data reported through October 2012 as the basis for their position. AFPM said available information indicated just 20,069 gallons of cellulosic biofuel actually produced, all of which was exported generating no Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS), or credits for refiners to use to comply with the federal biofuel mandate. Citing the lack of domestic supply, AFPM President Charles T. Drevna called EPA’s timeline for introducing cellulosic biofuel into the fuel supply market as “ambitious” and “unrealistic.”
EPA has since updated its data and announced that in November 2012 cellulosic production was an additional 1,741 ethanol equivalent gallons of cellulosic diesel fuel. In response, Drevna said, “I stand corrected. November’s data reporting that the biofuel industry produced 1,741 ethanol equivalent gallons of cellulosic diesel shows excellent progress toward complying with the EPA’s 2012 mandate of 10.45 million ethanol equivalent gallons of cellulosic biofuel. Six thousand additional months at this production level and the country will finally achieve EPA’s 2012 mandated volumes.”
Several cellulosic production facility went online during 2012 with several more expected to begin production during 2013. In addition, Project Liberty and DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol biorefineries, which will both use corn stover and cobs as feedstock, are expected to be in production by mid-2014.