Biodiesel Making Significant Contributions to RFS

John Davis

globaldataA new report shows that biodiesel is leading the advanced biofuels pack when it comes to contributions to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). GlobalData says U.S. biodiesel production is on target to produce more than the 1.28 billion gallons set under the RFS for this year, making it the first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated advanced biofuel, and outpacing other advanced biofuels.

Jeffrey C. Kerr, GlobalData’s Managing Analyst for Downstream Oil & Gas, says: “The RFS aims to reduce oil imports and cut back auto emissions with cleaner-burning fuels such as cellulosic ethanol, biomass-based diesel, and sugar-cane-based ethanol. However, cellulosic ethanol has yet to achieve a production level significant enough to seriously contribute to an RFS-mandated 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuel. That’s where biodiesel makes a significant contribution.”

This year, the EPA set a cellulosic requirement of just 6 million gallons, a mere fraction of the 1 billion gallons originally agreed for 2013. However, it is forecast that cellulosic producers will not even meet the smaller volume requirement, since few commercial scale production plants have been built.

Still, some cities in the US have been making strides to institutionalize the use of biodiesel. In September, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg signed a law that requires all city diesel vehicles to use a fuel blend of 5% biodiesel (B5) by 2014, and of 20% (B20) by 2016 during the warm weather months. The law also calls for the city to conduct a pilot program that studies the feasibility of using B20 throughout the whole year.

If New York adopted B20, that would add 2 million gallons of biodiesel use per year.

The report adds biodiesel’s growth has been helped by the $1-per-gallon production tax credit.