The National Biodiesel Board applauded the Obama administration for reducing America’s dependence on high-carbon fossil fuels by raising biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (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.”
“I want to thank President Obama, Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Vilsack for supporting growth in the program and for their commitment to biodiesel,” Jobe added. “We have seen three years of damaging delays, but the Administration took a strong step forward today that should put biodiesel and the RFS on a more stable course in the years to come.”
Made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement used in existing diesel engines. According to the EPA, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57% to 86% compared with petroleum diesel, qualifying it as an Advanced Biofuel under the RFS.
Under the new 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–a diesel subset of the overall Advanced Biofuel category – is made up mostly of biodiesel but also includes renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.
The new standards reflect modest but meaningful growth over recent years when the U.S. market has hovered around 1.8 billion gallons annually.
The RFS – a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel stream. The law is divided into two broad categories: Conventional Biofuels, which must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%, and Advanced Biofuels, which must have a 50% reduction. Biodiesel is the first and only Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide and has made up the vast majority of Advanced Biofuel production under the RFS to date.
NBB, a U.S. trade association representing both biodiesel and renewable diesel, initially requested more aggressive growth to a Biomass-based Diesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.
“We will continue working with the Administration toward stronger standards moving forward that drive innovation and productivity,” Jobe said. “We certainly think the biodiesel and overall Advanced Biofuel standards could and should have been higher. The production capacity is there, and we have surplus fats and oils that can be put to good use.”