US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) recently introduced legislation calling for a “Renewable Diesel Standard” (RDS) that would mandate 2 billion gallons of bio- and synthetic diesel in the national supply by the year 2015.
The bill, S. 1920, or the Renewable Diesel Standard Act of 2005, specifies annual increases in the bio- or synthetic-diesel component in the national diesel supply beginning in 2008 with 250 million gallons.
Obama’s legislation is modeled after the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), a bipartisan initiative that passed this summer requiring that the national gasoline supply consist of at least 7.5 billion gallons of homegrown ethanol by the year 2012 (earlier post). The RFS also commits the country to the greater use of biodiesel in our fuel supply. Obama’s renewable Diesel Standard takes that farther, however.
Current dedicated biodiesel production capacity in the US is an estimated 180 million gallons per year, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Fifty-four companies have reported their plans to construct dedicated biodiesel plants in the near future, but those plans are dependent upon regional and national demand prospects. Obama sees the Renewable Diesel Standard as a way to stabilize demand and encourage alternative domestic diesel production.
According to the statue, “renewable” diesel includes fuel produced from:
Recycled yellow grease
Fischer-Tropsch processes for Coal-to-Liquids (and presumably other GTL or BTL production)
(The inclusion of CTL makes sense from the perspective of alternative sources of fuel, although it does confound the “renewable” label on the bill. )
The bill has been referred to the senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
S. 1920, the Renewable Diesel Standard Act of 2005