EPA Data on Canola Biodiesel Pathway Released

John Davis

Canola-based biodiesel is closer to becoming a fuel authorized for biomass-based diesel Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), now that the EPA has released a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) for its recent modeling of the canola oil biodiesel pathway.

Earlier this year, EPA announced the final rule for the new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), but the canola pathway was not yet looked at as biofuel feedstock able to meet required greenhouse gas reduction standards. Now, Biodiesel Magazine reports that the EPA says canola oil biodiesel could reduce GHGs by 50 percent compared to petroleum-based diesel:

“These results, if finalized, would justify authorizing the generation of biomass-based diesel RINs for fuel produced by the canola oil biodiesel pathway modeled, assuming that the fuel meets the other definitional criteria for renewable fuel (e.g., produced from renewable biomass, and used to reduce or replace transportation fuel) specified in EISA,” EPA said in the NODA memo.

EPA analyzed canola oil as a feedstock “assuming the same biodiesel production facility designs and conversion efficiencies as modeled for biodiesel produced from soybean oil.” To assess the impact of producing biodiesel from canola oil, the EPA also created a control case projection estimating 200 million gallons of canola-based biodiesel per year by 2022. “While we recognize that some canola oil has historically been used to make biodiesel for domestic use,” EPA said, “this range of production (zero to 200 million gallons) covers the range of production likely by 2022.” To create the projection, the EPA used a number of factors including historical volumes, potential feedstock availability and competitive uses, potential increases in crop acreage and potential increases in crop and conversion yields.

“As with other EPA analyses of fuel pathways with a significant land use impact, the proposed analysis for canola oil biodiesel includes a best estimate as well as a range of possible lifecycle greenhouse gas emission results based on formal uncertainty analysis conducted by the agency,” EPA also noted.

The EPA believes canola crop yields will increase in the long term.

Biodiesel, Government