Diesel group praises renewable volume proposal

Why don't gas engine and equipment makers support ethanol like the Diesel Technology Forum supports renewable diesel and biodiesel?
By Ron Kotrba | June 23, 2011

The EPA just released its proposed renewable fuel volume requirements for 2012 under the renewable fuel standard (RFS2). The EPA has set the biomass-based diesel requirement for 2012 at 1 billion gallons, as expected, and for 2013 the agency raised that to 1.28 billion gallons. The cellulosic biofuel requirement has been drastically lowered for 2012 from EISA's expected 500 million gallons down to 13 million gallons. However, the entire advanced biofuel pool is still set at 2 billion gallons, leaving a lot of room for advanced biofuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel to fill the void.

Just after the announcement, the Diesel Technology Forum praised the proposal and highlighted the importance of renewable diesel fuel as an integral part of the more comprehensive clean diesel future. “The growing use of advanced biofuels and renewable diesel fuel underscores the expanding role clean diesel technology will continue to play as we move to a more sustainable energy future,” says DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer. “The proposed increase to 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel and two billion gallons of advanced biofuels will play a significant role in reducing emissions and our dependence on foreign oil production.”

 Schaeffer went on to say that “today’s diesel engine and equipment makers are increasingly welcoming high-quality, biobased fuels into most diesel engines in blends of 5 to 20 percent. The innovation and growth in biofuel technology is happening at a rapid pace.”

He then gives Honeywell’s UOP and Amyris special mention. “Thanks to advanced refining and fuel processing technologies from companies such as UOP and Amyris,” Schaeffer says, “the next generation of renewable diesel fuels produced with these technologies further enhances the benefits of clean diesel technology. EPA’s proposal supports the growing use of lower carbon fuels and will help clean diesel technology to power the U.S. economy in an increasingly sustainable manner.”

The DTF consists of engine and equipment makers, key component manufacturers, fuel producers and emissions control technology manufacturers, and it’s important for the renewable diesel industries—including methyl ester makers and hydroprocessed and FT diesel producers—to know that diesel OEMs and equipment manufacturers support their efforts in expanding renewable fuel markets.

I think also think it’s unique and shows a willingness to work together, not against each other, toward the common goal of energy independence, cleaner air, environmental responsibility and resource efficiency.

I don’t recall any nonrenewable fuel associations praising the increase in ethanol blending when E15 was approved, or when the EPA releases its yearly volume requirement proposals.

In fact, Ethanol Producer Magazine Associate Editor Holly Jessen tells me when EPA was working to approve E15 more than a year and a half ago, associations such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute and National Association of Convenience Stores, “fought it kicking and screaming the whole way.”

Maybe it shows that renewable diesels are perceived as more meaningful to the diesel industry, or are perceived as such, than ethanol is for gasoline. What do you think?