Biofuel, Government, Trade

EPA sets 1.28bn gal biodiesel for 2013

Glycerine consumers will probably like hearing this news as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets its biodiesel requirement in 2013 at 1.28bn gallons under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) which established the second phase of the Renewable Fuel Standards program.

EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for the biomass-based diesel category for 2012 and beyond. Under the EPA’s definition, biodiesel products are “advanced biofuels that are derived from sources that include vegetable oils and wastes oils from renewable sources.”

Traditional biodiesel production has glycerine as co-product while new technologies that produces “green diesel” such as from Finland-based Neste Oil and US-based Dynamic Fuels (a joint venture between food company Tyson Foods and process technology company Syntroleum), do not produce glycerin.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US biodiesel production from January to June 2012 was 523m gallons, up from 365m gallons during the first 6 months in 201. EIA’s latest monthly biodiesel report stated June biodiesel production saw soybean oil as the largest biodiesel feedstock for that month with consumption of 369m pounds.

The next three largest biodiesel feedstocks during the period were canola oil (103m lbs), yellow grease (57m lbs) and corn oil (46m lbs).

Oil trade group the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) released a statement last week stating that the EPA’s decision to increase the biomass diesel volumes “is wholly discretionary and irresponsible.”

“It only serves to increase our nation’s fuel bill. Given the exorbitant cost of biodiesel, its poor performance qualities, significant fraud in the biodiesel industry, and the drought facing our nation’s farmers and ranchers, this is a bad decision at the wrong time.” – AFPM

According to AFPM, the EPA’s decision will force consumers to pay almost $500m more next year for diesel fuel.

According to the National Biodiesel Board, the US has produced 4.6bn gallons of biodiesel since 2005. The industry argues that the biodiesel industry has supported more than 39,000 jobs and contributed $3.8bn in gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

Photo from Nebraska Soybean Board

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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