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California ARB releases draft Low Carbon Fuel Standard

14 October 2008

California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released a draft regulation of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which contains recommendations from stakeholder feedback on the LCFS Concept Outline of March 2008. The ARB is accepting stakeholders comments on the proposal.

The regulation sets maximum carbon intensity (CI) limits—in g of CO2 equivalent per MJ—applicable for all transportation fuels, including California reformulated gasoline (CARFG), California ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD); compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG); liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or “propane”); electricity, compressed or liquefied hydrogen; ethanol blends; biomass-based diesel blends; pure denatured ethanol (E100); pure biomass-based diesel (B100), and any other liquid or non-liquid fuel.

Biomass-based diesel fuel means a biodiesel (mono-alkyl ester) or a renewable diesel fuel that complies with ASTM D975, derived from nonpetroleum renewable resources (such as from co-processing biomass with a petroleum feedstock).

Starting from January 2010, producers and importers of gasoline and diesel fuels must meet the following carbon intensity limits.

LCFS Compliance Schedule
Carbon IntensityReductionCarbon IntensityReduction
g CO2e/MJ%g CO2e/MJ%

The 2010 baseline for gasoline is CARFG containing 10% (v/v) ethanol (E10) derived from corn. For diesel fuel, the 2010 baseline fuel is ULSD without biomass-based diesel fuel.

Carbon intensity of diesel and gasoline fuels is calculated from the GREET greenhouse gas model, depending on the type of crude oil used in the refinery. For non-conventional crude oil—from oil sands, tar sands, oil shale, or processes such as gas-to-liquid (GTL) and coal-to-liquid (CTL)—carbon intensity will be calculated using an ARB-specified method. The ARB also assumes that the CI value of non-conventional crude is more than 10% greater than the CI value of conventional crude.

The diesel CI standard also applies to biomass-based diesel fuels, while the gasoline CI standard applies to all other alternative fuels.

The standards for gasoline and diesel fuel will require further reductions beyond 2020, to reflect the need to achieve the AB32 GHG emissions reduction goals in 2050, said the ARB.

A workshop to discuss the draft LCFS will be held on October 16 in Sacramento, CA.

Source: California ARB (draft LCFS | LCFS page)