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Biofuels Bulletin By Tina Caparella EPA Finalizes RFS Volumes, Industry Hits Record In late November 2016, the United States (US) Environmental ProtecƟon Agency (EPA) finalized increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2017 and for biomass-based diesel for 2018. This is posiƟve news for the rendering industry as more than 30 percent of US biodiesel and renewable diesel is produced using rendered animal fats and used cooking oils. Under the new RFS final rule, biomass-based diesel requirements would increase to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018, up from 2.0 billion gallons in 2017 and 1.9 million gallons in 2016. Biomass-based diesel – a diesel subset of the overall advanced biofuel category – is made up of biodiesel and renewable diesel. AddiƟonally, the new RFS rule increases advanced biofuels to 4.28 billion gallons in 2017, up from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016 with biomass-based diesel conƟnuing to fill a large porƟon of the advanced program. EPA final RFS volume requirements 2017 2018 Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons) 311 n/a Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons) 2.01 2.1 Advanced biofuel (billion gallons) 4.28 n/a Renewable fuel (billion gallons) 19.28 n/a 1. The 2017 biomass-based diesel volume requirement was established in the 2014-2016 final rule December 14, 2015. However, as of press Ɵme, EPA has delayed the effecƟve date of the final rule to March 21, 2017, to allow officials Ɵme to further review new regulaƟons per a memorandum issued by the assistant and chief of staff to President Donald Trump. This regulaƟon was one of 30 published by EPA since October 28, 2016, delayed by the agency. The NaƟonal Renderers AssociaƟon (NRA) submiƩed regulatory comments to EPA last summer supporƟng increases in the RFS with guidance from its Biofuels CommiƩee and in coordinaƟon with the NaƟonal Biodiesel Board (NBB). Per NBB, any future increases in the RFS will likely be in alternaƟve biofuels (not ethanol) since EPA set the ethanol RFS at its maximum legal limit. However, sƟll unknown is the posiƟon of President Donald Trump’s new administraƟon on alternaƟve fuels coupled with serious interest to overturn the RFS in the new Congress. The RFS levels finalized might have been higher if EPA had not been concerned about feedstock availability in 2017-2018. However, based on regulatory comments from NRA, NBB, and others, EPA was persuaded that there would be sufficient supply available to increase the RFS from its proposed level last May. NRA and NBB had advocated even higher RFS levels. The RFS – a biparƟsan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the US fuel stream. The law is divided into two broad categories: convenƟonal biofuels that must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent, and advanced biofuels, which must have a 50 percent reducƟon. Biodiesel is the first advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale producƟon naƟonwide and has made up the vast majority of advanced biofuel producƟon under the RFS to date. In late January, EPA announced that nearly 2.9 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel were consumed in 2016, an increase of 800 million gallons from 2015 and all- Ɵme high. At the same Ɵme, domesƟc producƟon rose from around 1.4 billion gallons in 2015 to more than 1.8 billion gallons last year, albeit well below available capacity. Imports of biodiesel and renewable diesel also increased in 2016 to over 1.0 billion gallons, up substanƟally from the esƟmated 670 million gallons imported the previous year. The biomass-based diesel category under the RFS alone saw a record 2.6-billion-gallon market last year, allowing the advanced biofuel program to reach over 4.0 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons. These numbers exceeded EPA’s esƟmates for 2016 and track the NaƟonal Biodiesel Board’s projecƟons, showing the industry can deliver on the goals set by Congress. EPA esƟmates total biodiesel and renewable diesel use to again be about 2.9 billion gallons in 2017 with about onethird of that volume coming from imports. French Companies turn to UCO Suez and Total are joining forces to collect and recycle used cooking oil (UCO) into biofuel in France. As part of their 10- year partnership, Suez will supply 20,000 metric tons of UCO a year to Total, who will process it into biofuel at its La Mede biorefinery, France’s first and one of the largest in Europe. Currently, 45,000 metric tons of UCO is collected annually in France out of an esƟmated 100,000 metric tons countrywide. The partnership between Suez and Total will increase the amount of UCO collected by more than 20 percent and improve its conversion through a short-energy producƟon loop beneficial to the environment. Iowa Biodiesel Sets Record Iowa’s biodiesel producƟon last year reached a recordingbreaking 297 million gallons, surpassing the 242 million gallons produced in 2015 by 55 million gallons. The 23 percent increase is largely aƩributed to policy certainty at the federal level during 2016, including the biodiesel tax incenƟve and Renewable Fuel Standard. State-level policies targeƟng higher biodiesel blends, such as Iowa’s excise tax differenƟal on 11 percent biodiesel blends with petroleum diesel, also helped drive demand. 16 February 2017 Render www.rendermagazine.com


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