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Texas Extends Alternative Emissions Plans for 12 Months; Allows for Further Consideration of Use of Biodiesel in TxLED Program

110 Texas counties affected by TxLED

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is extending the expiration date of Alternative Emissions Reduction Plans (AERPs) in the Texas Low Emissions Diesel (TxLED) Program for one year, from 31 December 2006 to 31 December 2007.

The extension will allow for further consideration of evidence on the potential impact of the use of biodiesel blends in the TxLED program. (Earlier post.) TCEQ has in the past proposed bans on biodiesel blends due to concerns over an increase in NOx emissions it associates with biodiesel use.

The TCEQ determined it would accept the use of biodiesel on a case-by-case basis if the blend can demonstrate that is has been verified by EPA or CARB to reduce NOx emissions by a percentage that is equivalent to or greater than the NOx reduction of at least 5.7 percent attributed to TxLED when blended with regular EPA diesel; or it has been approved by the executive director as an TxLED alternative diesel formulation.

Texas set out its position in the document “Alternative Emission Reduction Plan for Producers of Biodiesel Blends”:

It is the finding of the Executive Director that biodiesel blends do have a higher NOx emission than TxLED. It is presumed that pure biodiesel (B100) has NOx emissions that are 10% higher than TxLED and that emissions from blends will be relative to that number. For example, it is presumed that a B20 blend (20% biodiesel, 80% TxLED) will have a 2% increase in NOx over TxLED. However, biodiesel has significant reductions in emissions of other pollutants, including fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and toxics. Additionally, biodiesel plays an important role in achieving compliance with federal mandates and goals for the increase use of renewable fuels such as those in the Energy Policy Act.

The Executive Director is aware of numerous additives that are in various stages of testing and that may eventually be commercially available to biodiesel blend producers. The Executive Director stresses that the testing must continue in order to find a permanent fuel strategy for biodiesel blends.

The expiration of the plan could have opened the path to a ban on the use of biodiesel in the TxLED counties in Texas.

TCEQ is basing its stance on a 2002 EPA report showing a two-percent increase in NOx emissions for B20. However, a recent study by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concluded that vehicles using a B20 biodiesel blend (20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel) do not produce an increase in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. (Earlier post.)



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