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EPA releases final RFS requirements

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the final volume requirements for bioethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016.

In addition, the final volume requirements for biodiesel for 2014 and 2017.

The EPA has increased the required levels from its earlier suggestion in June, and hopes that the rule will boost renewable fuel production and provide for growth of the biofuels industry.

The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35%, higher than the actual 2014 volumes, while the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of over 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, or 11% higher than 2014 actual volumes.

Cellulosic biofuel, often considered the lowest carbon biofuels, received a standard increase to over 200 million gallons, a seven-fold rise from the 2014 levels.

Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

‘The biofuel industry is an incredible American success story, and the RFS programme has been an important driver of that success, cutting carbon pollution, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and sparking rural economic development,’ says Janet McCabe, the acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

‘With today’s final rule, and as Congress intended, EPA is establishing volumes that go beyond historic levels and grow the amount of biofuel in the market over time. Our standards provide for ambitious, achievable growth,’ she continues.

While it seems that all volume requirements have been increased all over the board, growth can partly be explained by EPA correcting an accounting error in their earlier proposals and by the growing general demand for fuel, requiring more biofuels.

However, the new rule puts a tiny dent into the so called ‘blend wall’, or the amount of bioethanol blended into petrol, which has traditionally been stuck at 10% under claims that car motors would not be able to handle higher ethanol content.

The initial reaction to the ruling within the biofuels industry has been mixed, with some calling it a step in the right direction while others slam it for hindering biofuels that are not corn ethanol.

Final renewable fuel volumes

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons)

33

123

230

n/a

Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons)

1.63

1.73

1.90

2.00

Advanced biofuel (billion gallons)

2.67

2.88

3.61

n/a

Renewable fuel (billion gallons)

16.28

16.93

18.11

n/a

 

Final percentage standards

 

2014

2015

2016

Cellulosic biofuel

0.019%

0.069%

0.128%

Biomass-based diesel

1.41%

1.49%

1.59%

Advanced biofuel

1.51%

1.62%

2.01%

Renewable fuel

9.19%

9.52%

10.10%