14 July 2010

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2011 percentage standards for the four fuels categories under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program, known as RFS2.

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

The proposed 2011 overall volumes and standards are:

  • Biomass-based diesel: 0.80 billion gallons; 0.68%
  • Advanced biofuels: 1.35 billion gallons; 0.77%
  • Cellulosic biofuels: 5 – 17.1 million gallons; 0.004 – 0.015%
  • Total renewable fuels: 13.95 billion gallons; 7.95%

The proposed 2011 cellulosic biofuels volume is lower than the EISA target. EPA lowered the target based on the analysis of market availability of cellulosic biofuels.

Compared to 2010 targets, renewable fuels market share will decrease in 2011 due to the projected increased fuel sales. In 2010, total renewable fuels are expected to account for 8.25% of fuel sales to meet the mandate of 12.95 billion gallons.

The EPA also proposed changes to the RFS2 regulations that would potentially apply to renewable fuel producers who use canola oil, grain sorghum, pulpwood, or palm oil as a feedstock. This program rule would allow the fuel produced by those feedstocks dating back to July 1, 2010 be used for compliance should EPA determine in a future rulemaking that such fuels meet certain greenhouse gas reduction thresholds. Another change would set criteria for foreign feedstocks to be treated like domestic feedstocks in terms of the documentation needed to prove that they can be used to make qualifying renewable fuel under the RFS2 program.

Public comments on the renewable fuel standards and the proposed changes to the RFS2 regulations will be accepted for 30 days following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

Source: US EPA