California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff has posted five new and one revised Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) fuel pathway applications to the LCFS public comment website. The new pathways include two renewable diesel pathways; two biodiesel pathways, and one corn ethanol pathway. The revised package is for corn oil biodiesel.
The renewable diesel proposals both come from Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) in Louisiana, using used cooking oil (UCO) as a feedstock; the proposals differ in the mode of shipment to California: one by rail, one by ship.
DGD began producing renewable diesel at its plant in St. Charles, Louisiana in June 2013. The plant has a capacity of 420,000 gallons of RD per day. In September 2012, DGD had applied for 12 prospective RD LCFS pathways, each differing by feedstock (soy oil, corn oil, used cooking oil, and animal fat), rendering energy, and transport modes and distances. All 12 pathways were modified versions of existing LCFS RD or biodiesel pathways. ARB certified DGD’s pathways on 3 December 2012.
The new UCO pathways are based operational data covering the last six months of 2013. These data indicate that energy consumption at the DGD plant has been lower than the estimates on which the carbon intensities (CIs) in the original 12 pathway were based. Offsetting this, however, is an increase in transport emissions; rather than the 50-mile transport distance on which the original CI estimates were based, DGD’s operational data show that this feedstock is actually transported 488 miles by heavy-duty diesel truck.
As with the original 12 pathways, DGD’s two new pathways are modeled as UOP Econofining processes and utilize the default RD process energy consumption values found in CA-GREET 1.8b.
DGD’s proposed carbon intensities (CI) for the two new pathways are 21.10 gCO2e/MJ (including indirect effects) for UCO RD via rail, and 20.89 for transport by ship. In the approved 2012 pathways, the CI for UCO RD via rail was 18.4, and for ship, 18.18. The baseline CI value for petroleum diesel fuel is 94.71 g CO2e/MJ. ARB staff recommends approval.
Biodiesel. Champway Technology Ltd., which operates a biodiesel plant in Tuen Mun N.T., Hong Kong, worked with ARB staff to develop a LCFS pathway covering the production of biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO) in Hong Kong.
The feedstock is assumed to be rendered using the low energy “non-cooking” process. Fuel production and rendering are accomplished using only electricity. No natural gas is used in these processes at the Champway facility. The biodiesel fuel is produced using the standard fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) transesterification process.
The CI of the resulting biodiesel, including shipment to California, is 34.82 gCO2e/MJ.
Taiwan NJC Corporation (Taiwan NJC), which operates a biodiesel plant in Chiayi County 621, Taiwan, also worked with ARB staff to develop a LCFS pathway covering the production of biodiesel from UCO in Taiwan. This pathway was developed using standard LCFS UCO biodiesel production inputs, along with specific inputs for electrical energy generation, UCO processing energy, biodiesel production energy, and transportation distances applicable to Taiwan. The biodiesel fuel is produced using the standard fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) transesterification process. Natural gas, residual oil, and electricity are used in the processing of UCO.
The proposed carbon intensity of the biodiesel is 25.62 gCO2e/MJ.
Methes Energies Canada Inc. produces biodiesel from used cooking oil and corn oil in a biodiesel plant in Sombra, Ontario, Canada. The company has applied for a LCFS pathway for the fuel produced in this plant. The plant uses a standard fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) transesterification process to produce biodiesel and has a production capacity of 13.5 million gallons per year.
In March of 2014, the corn oil biodiesel pathway was certified with a CI of 9.78 gCO2e/MJ. During the certification process, staff identified a calculation error in the feedstock transportation CI. The applicant calculated the feedstock transportation CI using the biodiesel module in CA-GREET. The applicant has confirmed the error and has recalculated the pathway CI using the correct methodology. The recalculated corn oil biodiesel pathway CI is 16.62 gCO2e/MJ.
Ethanol. Granite Falls Energy, LLC produces ethanol from corn at a dry mill plant located in Granite Falls, Minnesota. Production capacity of the Granite Falls plant is 70 million gallons per year of denatured ethanol. The plant currently produces about 63 million gallons per year of denatured ethanol. The plant produces both modified distiller’s grains with solubles (MDGS) and dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDGS).
For about the last two-and-a-half years, the Granite Falls plant produced about 97% DDGS and about 3% MDGS on a dry matter basis. Granite Falls also produced a small amount of corn oil from the plant. The MDGS contains approximately 55% moisture by weight, and the DDGS contains approximately 10% moisture by weight.
Granite Falls is applying for one pathway CI value of 85.08 gCO2e/MJ. The baseline CI value for gasoline is 95.86 g CO2e/MJ.