The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for years 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as the volumes for the biomass-based diesel category for 2014-2017 that includes biodiesel volumes. The volumes were raised since the proposal in May 2015 and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the improved #RFS rules; yet stressed that the EPA still needs to improve the amount of renewable fuels such as #biodiesel in years to come. Biodiesel is designated as an Advanced Biofuel under the RFS.
“This decision means we will displace billions of gallons of petroleum diesel in the coming years with clean-burning biodiesel. That means less pollution, more American jobs, and more competition that is sorely lacking in the fuels market,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “It is a good rule. It may not be all we had hoped for but it will go a long way toward getting the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and reducing our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”
According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 57 percent to 86 percent as compared with petroleum diesel depending on the fuel’s production pathway. Under the now final RFS rule, Biomass-based Diesel volumes would grow to 1.9 billion gallons in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-based Diesel category also includes renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.
Jobe says the new standards reflect modest but meaningful growth over recent years when the U.S. market has hovered around 1.8 billion gallons annually. “We certainly think the biodiesel and overall Advanced Biofuel standards could and should have been higher,” he added. “The production capacity is there, and we have surplus fats and oils that can be put to good use.”
American Soybean Association (ASA) President Wade Cowan seconded NBB’s promise that the biodiesel industry can do much more. “As an industry we have always advocated for RFS volumes that are modest and achievable and the biodiesel industry has met or exceeded the targets each and every year that the program has been in place,” said Cowan. “The Administration wants to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiesel can contribute more to that effort.”
Accounting for approximately half of the feedstock used, soybean oil remains the largest source of oil for biodiesel production.