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EPA finalizes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards; cellulosic biofuels category comes in at 0.006%

27 December 2011

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). (Earlier post.) The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

  • Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%)
  • Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%)
  • Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006%)
  • Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.2%)

In the proposed rulemaking released earlier this year for 2012, EPA had proposed a cellulosic biofuels volume ranging from 3.45–12.9 million gallons (0.002–0.010%). To arrive at this final volume, EPA considered additional factors such as the current and expected state of funding, the status of the technology, progress towards construction and production goals, and other significant factors that could potentially impact fuel production or the ability of the produced fuel to generate cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). It also considered projections of cellulosic biofuel provided by the EIA.

Of the domestic sources, EPA estimated that six facilities can make volumes of cellulosic biofuel available for transportation use in the US in 2012:

Volumes are ethanol-equivalent gallons. Click to enlarge.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year.

Determining the applicable standards under RFS requires EPA to conduct an evaluation of the volume of qualifying cellulosic biofuel that can be made available the following year. If the projected available volume of cellulosic biofuel is less than the required volume specified in the statute, EPA must lower the required volume used to set the annual cellulosic biofuel percentage standard to the projected available volume.

EPA must also determine whether the advanced biofuel and/or total renewable fuel volumes should be reduced by the same or a lesser amount. The final rule provides EPA’s determination of the projected production of cellulosic biofuel for 2012, and the final percentage standards for compliance year 2012.

Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel. For 2012, the program is implementing EISA’s requirement to blend more than 1.25 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2011.

Last spring EPA had proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for that category for 2013 and beyond, but enables EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of a variety of environmental, market, and energy-related factors. EPA is continuing to evaluate the many comments from stakeholders on the proposed biomass-based diesel volume for 2013 and will take final action next year.

December 27, 2011 in Bio-hydrocarbons, Biodiesel, Biomass, Cellulosic ethanol, Fuels, Policy | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)


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At over 9%, non-fossil liquid fuels will play an increasing important role in 2012. Coupled with more and more efficient ICEVs, HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs, fossil liquid fuel consumption and crude imports should start to decrease.

Hybrids and synthetics fuels will be an important part of reducing oil imports. We are more than 30 years late doing this, but better late than never.

Oooohhh! Lookie! More mandates!

30 years without.! More! More! More!

In your case...yes. is surprising to reckon that a very high percentage of the current population needs guidance to survive. Look at what happened to 40+% with easy access to junk food. They become great balls of fat on two feet and still want to eat more of it. The same probably applies to the type of vehicles we use. Improved guidance could help many to make a wiser choice.

HD, you have a fat head, what is your excuse?

HarveyD - that's part of the reason I'm not sure America will exist in 50 years. We have too many people that have it too easy - obese, collecting benefits from the government, and reproducing like rabbits. On top of that, our rapidly expanding low-wage service job economy is becoming the core of our economy, dependent on the never ending paving over of creation (for strip malls, parking lots and more chain restaurants) and fueled by a growing supply uneducated / barely educated workers. Our society has no real desire to fix the fundamental structural flaws and live responsibly in established areas...just keep reproducing (because making babies makes all your problems go away!) & dumbing down & building & paving over what's left to be paved over... are wrong again. My weight and height are normal and my head at 6 7/8 is also what it should be.

eff...many good observations. Is USA caving in from within? All the junk food, sweet drinks, polluted air, water shale gas mixture we drink etc will produce future unlikely creatures.

God save America if nobody else does.

WOW! More claptrap gloom from the peanut galleries. ejj is right about over regulation. It comes at the cost of innovation. And Harvey is correct about the obesity issues fed by the constant drum of fast-food economy. But there are many healthy signs emerging: vibrant farmers markets, restaurants selling locally produced foods, awareness amongst educated of need for selected foods etc.

Most promising is a move away from centralized culture. Diversity in media and information access i.e. alternatives, blogs, social networking, etc. broadens knowledge and counters institutional messaging. Huge economic change will arrive with distributed energy freeing billions from central power or no power structures.

Low wage service industry remains an albatross. With millions more going to college we expect a re-emergence of original manufacturing and entrepreneurial ventures. And making babies is the costliest thing you can do today!

But it finally comes down to how WE choose to live. Drive a fun but energy smart car, eat healthfully, exercise, read stuff, support THE ARTS, give back, have FUN! These actions will change our world. Not bad...

Reel$$...good wishes for 2012+++. However, obesity (and related side effects) are growing in number and percentage every year. No real changes on the horizon in USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China, India etc.

Yes, printed information will be progressively replaced with widespread access digital data on low cost tablets. Most ICEVs will also be progressively replaced by much lighter more efficient electrified vehicles. LED and OLED lights will gain market share.

Not so sure about distributed energy, at least not for the current decade. Efficient, low cost heat machine and heat to electricity converters are not here yet. Much higher efficiency, lower cost, solar cells and storage batteries may be around sooner.

Wish you a Happy New Year!

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