On 23 November, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published mandatory renewable fuel volumes for 2017 and blend requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2018.

The total renewable fuel volume (RVO) for 2017 is 19.28bn gallons, of which 4.28bn gallons is advanced biofuel and 311M gallons is cellulosic biofuel, leaving 15bn gallons of renewable or conventional biofuels such as corn ethanol.

The 15bn gallons is higher than the 14.8bn gallons proposed by the EPA in May 2016 (see Biofuel News, OFI June 2016).

“The final volumes represent continued growth over historic levels,” the EPA said.

“Total renewable fuel volumes grow by 1.2bn gallons from 2016 to 2017, a 6% increase.

“Advanced renewable fuel – which requires 50% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions – grow by roughly 700M gallons between 2016 and 2017. Non-advanced or ‘conventional’ renewable fuel increases in 2017 meet the 15bn gallon congressional target for conventional fuels.

“The standard for biomass-based biodiesel – which must achieve at least 50% lifecycle greenhouse gas emission reductions compared to petroleum-based diesel – grows by 100M gallons, twice as high as the minimum congressional target.

“Cellulosic biofuel – which must achieve at least 60% lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions – grows by 35% over the 2016 standard.”

“The advanced biofuel standard – which is comprised of biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, and other biofuel that achieves at least 50% lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions – increases by 19% over the 2016 standard.”

The EPA is responsible for setting the volumes of renewable fuels which are blended under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) programme, which was created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded in 2007 and requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil or jet fuel.

“We can all be thankful the EPA has raised the conventional biofuel requirement to the 15bn gallon level required by statute,” Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen said. “The move will send a positive signal to investors, rippling throughout or economy and environment.”