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EPA Proposes Renewable Fuel Standard Modifications

The EPA has proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard program that include new renewable fuel pathways aimed at enhancing the ability of the biofuels industry to supply advanced biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels, to the market.

The EPA has proposed that renewable diesel, renewable naphtha, and renewable electricity — used in electric vehicles — produced from landfill biogas be allowed to generate cellulosic or advanced biofuel Renewable Identification Numbers. RINs are serial numbers used to track the production use and trading of a batch of renewable energy. Under the proposals, renewable compressed natural gas/lique­fied natural gas produced from landfill biogas would also be allowed to generate cellulosic RINs. 

The agency has also proposed a rule to allow butanol that meets the 50 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction threshold to qualify as advanced biofuel.

Other clarifications proposed by the EPA would change the definition of crop residue to include corn kernel fiber and the approach to determining the volume of cellulosic RINs produced from various cellulosic feedstocks.

Various changes to the E15 misfueling mitigation regulations at 40 CFR Part 80, Subpart N are also included in the proposal. Among the E15 changes proposed are technical corrections and amendments to sections dealing with labeling, E15 surveys, product transfer documents, and prohibited acts. The Agency says it’s proposing to amend the definitions to address a concern about the rounding of test results for ethanol content violations.

Finally, the EPA’s proposed changes also would affect the survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel program. These changes to the ULSD survey aim to reduce the burden on industry in terms of number of samples they must collect.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization says it welcomes the opportunity for public comment on the proposals. The organization says companies are currently preparing to make additional investments with assurance that US policy is committed to energy security and production of biofuels.

According to US Energy Information Administration projections released in February, cellulosic biofuels will likely remain well below targets set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That law set a target level of 500 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels for 2012 and 1 billion gallons for 2013, growing to 16 billion gallons by 2022. The US only produced .004 percent of the 2012 target amount last year.

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