Biodiesel production to double over next seven years — trade group

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The National Biodiesel Board is one of the few biofuel trade groups to express satisfaction following the release of U.S. EPA’s targets for the renewable fuel standard yesterday.

Under the final rule, EPA will require that diesel blenders mix in 2 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel — mostly biodiesel made from oils and fats, but also renewable diesel — by 2017. That’s double the minimum anticipated by Congress when the RFS was passed in 2007.

“Our industry goal is to double that again in the next five-year time period, from 2017 to 2022,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. By 2022 — the RFS’s last year — the nation is expected to produce 36 billion gallons of total biofuels a year, according to statute.

“We believe that that is a very achievable, sustainable goal that our industry will continue to invest in and work to achieve,” said Jobe on a call with reporters.

Biodiesel is considered an “advanced” biofuel under the RFS, meaning it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared with fossil fuels. The growth in the sector is important, given the slow pace of other advanced biofuels to reach commercialization.

Yesterday’s RFS announcement “shows commitment on the part of EPA and the administration to use existing law, this program, as the primary tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the sector,” Jobe added.

The final RFS rule increases year-on-year targets for renewable fuels in 2014, 2015 and 2016, including corn ethanol, biodiesel and other advanced fuels from feedstocks like algae, cornstalks and municipal waste. However, the volume requirements are below the schedule that President George W. Bush signed into law eight years ago, igniting the ire of some biofuel organizations (E&ENews PM, Nov. 30).

EPA also announced an additional biodiesel target for 2017.