According to EPA’s most recent data from the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) used to establish a transparent market for RINs, biofuel producers produced 57,860 gallons of cellulosic biofuels during the first quarter of 2014—the vast majority of that being D3 cellulosic biofuel (57,388 gallons), the remainder (472 gallons) being D7 cellulosic diesel.
|EMTS gallons for 1Q 2014. Data: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
The Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) incorporates the concept of the Renewable Identification Number (RIN); establishes a RIN market; expands the RIN market over a period of years; and maintains a consistent Renewable Volume Obligation and reporting requirements for production, blending, refining, and use activity on a quarterly and annual basis.
The EMTS data flow supports the reporting of all RIN transactions including the generation, separation, purchase and sale, and retirement of RINs.
RINs are numerical codes created with every gallon of biofuel domestically produced or imported into the US. RINs play the dual role of a renewable fuel credit to incentivize renewable fuel use, and a tracking mechanism to monitor the production, movement and blending of biofuels. The D-code (D#) of a RIN identifies the renewable fuel standard category for a particular fuel based on its projected greenhouse gas reduction requirement.
EPA currently has five RIN D-codes (D3, D4, D5, D6 and D7). D3 and D7 are for cellulosic biofuels with a GHG reduction requirement of 60%; D6 is for corn ethanol (GHG reduction 20%); D4 is for biomass-based diesel (50% GHG reduction); and D5 is for advanced biofuels, including sugarcane ethanol and biogas (50% GHG reduction).
RINS are not generated on a 1:1 basis with the actual volume of the biofuel; the RIN-gallon total equals the product of the liquid volume of renewable fuel times its energy equivalence value (EV) relative to a gallon of ethanol. For example, biodiesel has an EV of 1.5; non-ester renewable diesel can have EVs ranging from 1.5 to 1.7.
Nonetheless, along with its reporting of RINs generated, EPA also reports the volumes of liquid fuels used to generate those RINS. As an example, in March, 134.8 million gallons of biomass-based diesel (D4) generated 208.4 million RINs.
For the first quarter of 2014, EMTS reported a total of 3.8 billion gallons of renewable fuel, 90.6% of it (3.36 billion gallons) corn ethanol (D6); biomass-based diesel (D4) accounted for 8.82% (327 million gallons); advanced biofuels (D5) for 0.62% (22.9 million gallons); cellulosic biofuels for 0.0015% (57,388 gallons); and cellulosic diesel 0.000013% (472 gallons).
For comparison, during the first quarter of 2013, EMTS reported a total of 3.4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, 87.6% (3 billion gallons) of it ethanol (D6); 8.5% (290 million gallons) biomass-based diesel (D4); 3.9% (133 million gallons) advanced biofuels (D5); 0% for cellulosic biofuels (D3); and 0.0003% (9,802 gallons) cellulosic diesel (D7).