EPA issues proposed 2012 RFS2 volume requirements
The U.S. EPA has issued proposed 2012 volume requirements for all four categories of the RFS2 program, as well as 2013 volume requirements for biomass-based diesel. According to information released by the agency, the proposed volume requirements for 2012 are:
- -1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel (0.91 percent)
- -2 billion gallons of advanced biofuels (1.21 percent)
- -3.45-12.9 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels (0.002-0.01 percent)
- -15.2 billion gallons of total renewable fuels (9.21 percent).
The EPA said that based on its analysis of market availability for cellulosic biofuels the agency is proposing volumes that are lower than the 500 million gallon target set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. “EPA will continue to evaluate the market as it works to finalize the cellulosic standard in coming months,” said the agency in a press release. “The agency remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead.”
If implemented as proposed, the 2012 volume requirements would increase the amount of renewable fuel that is required to be blended into U.S. fuel by 1.25 billion gallons over the amount mandated for 2011.
In addition, the proposed 2013 volume requirement for biomass-based diesel has been set at 1.28 billion. While EISA sets a 1 billion gallon minimum volume requirement for biomass-based diesel in 2013 and beyond, the EPA is allowed to increase the actual volume requirement after considering environmental, market, and energy-related factors.
The National Biodiesel Board has spoken out in support of the proposed volume requirements. “This proposal represents a careful and responsible approach to growth that is consistent with the resources that we know are available for sustainably producing biodiesel,” NBB CEO Joe Jobe said. “As America’s first advanced biofuel being produced on a commercial scale nationwide, we have done extensive research to assess the various feedstocks that are used to make biodiesel, including agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil, animal fats, algae and camelina. We are confident we can meet these targets and we anticipate that we will likely exceed them. In doing so, we will continue to improve the environment, create jobs, and reduce the nation’s dangerous reliance on foreign oil.”
According to information released by the Advanced Ethanol Council, the EPA’s proposed reduction for the 2012 cellulosic ethanol volume requirement was expected. However, AEC Executive Director Brooke Coleman stresses that the creation of tax incentives could help expedite the development of commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries. “America’s advanced and cellulosic ethanol industry is rapidly progressing with many technologies proven and biorefinery projects shovel-ready,” he said. “Yet, advanced biofuel producers continue to sail into a head wind created by tax policy favoring oil and gas. There is no question that the RFS is a forward-looking policy that will drive significant usage of cellulosic biofuels once the industry hits the requisite production levels. America needs the same kind of forward-looking tax policy to ensure these technologies can commercialize and compete in marketplace where oil production is still subsidized.”
The EPA will be accepting public comments on the proposed volumes through August 2011. Final volume requirements for 2012 are scheduled to be issued in November 2011.