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Oregon Senate Passes Broad Biofuels Bill

The Oregon Senate today approved an amended version of House Bill 3481 that supports a growing biofuels industry in Oregon through the use of tax credits.

The bill uses a broad definition of biofuel: “liquid or gaseous fuel produced from a biological source, including but not limited to waste and residue from agriculture, forestry or related industries or other industrial or municipal waste.”

While that definition clearly includes what is broadly termed “biodiesel” (fuel comprising mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 675) and ethanol, it also could include synthetic fuels made from biomass (such as a Fischer-Tropsch process using biomass as a feedstock to produce a synthetic diesel).

It also specifically broadens the definition of ethanol (from earlier versions of the bill) to include cellulosic ethanol.

The credits to producers will amount to:

  • $0.05 per gallon of biodiesel produced in Oregon from plant or animal matter produced in the state;

  • $0.04 per gallon of ethanol produced in Oregon from plant or animal matter produced in the state;

  • $10.00 per green ton of forest or rangeland vegetative biomass that is delivered to a purchaser to produce, or is used to produce, electric energy, direct application heat, transportation fuel or a substitute for a petroleum-based product.

Although the Senate did not replace a Renewable Fuels Standard in the bill removed during the House debate, the bill does specify that:

To the maximum extent economically possible, state-owned motor vehicles, whether the motor vehicles are for on-road, off-road or construction applications, shall use alternative fuel for operation.

The Senate bill next needs to be reconciled with the House version in committee.

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