February 6, 2013

Biofuel battle heats up (more)

So I was watching the Superbowl game on Sunday (ok I admit I am more into commercials than the game itself since my Giants team was not involved), when I saw the Dodge Ram truck commercial "God Made a Farmer" and I thought about the recent 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards proposal by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Yes, my brain is weird, I know.

The farm crop and biofuel industries are probably thanking God last week when the EPA announced its proposed 2013 volume and percentage standards for biomass-based diesel (1.28bn gal, 1.12%), advanced biofuel (2.75bn gal, 1.60%), and cellulosic biofuels (14m gal, 0.008% in ethanol equivalent volumes). Total renewable fuels volume requirements proposed for 2013 is at 16.55bn gallons or 10% of all gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2013 using projections and assessments from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

                                                   2013                           2012
Cellulosic biofuel                        14m gal                    8.65m gal
Biomass-based diesel                   1.28bn gal                 1bn gal
Advanced biofuel                        2.75bn gal                 2bn gal
Renewable fuel                           16.55bn gal               15.2bn gal
*All volumes are ethanol equivalent except for biomass-based diesel

The volumes are the minimum that would need to be consumed in the US. The proposal will be open for a 45-day public comment period and EPA will consider feedback from a range of stakeholders before the proposal is finalized.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36bn gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

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