EIA: US biofuel capacity down in May, feedstock use up

By Erin Voegele | August 03, 2022

U.S. operatable biofuels production capacity was down slightly in May, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on July 29. Feedstock consumption, however, was up when compared to both the prior month and May 2021.

Total U.S. biofuels production capacity was at 21.455 billion gallons per year in May, down 24 MMgy when compared to the 21.479 billion gallons of capacity in place in April. When compared to the 20.795 billion gallons of capacity reported for May 2021, capacity was up 660 MMgy.

U.S. ethanol capacity was at 17.318 billion gallons in May, down 22 MMgy when compared to the 17.34 billion gallons of capacity reported for the previous month and down 78 MMgy when compared to the same month of last year.

U.S. biodiesel capacity was at 2.215 billion gallons in May, down 2 MMgy when compared to the 2.217 billion gallons of capacity reported for April and down 213 MMgy when compared to the 2.428 billion gallons of capacity reported for May 2021.

Capacity for renewable diesel and other biofuels, defined to include renewable heating oil, renewable jet fuel, renewable naphtha, renewable gasoline and other biofuels and biointermediates, was at 1.922 billion gallons in May, flat with April but up 951 MMgy when compared to May 2021.

Total biofuel feedstock consumption for May was at approximately 27.228 billion pounds, up from both 25.273 billion pounds in April and 26.72 billion pounds in May 2021.

According to the EIA, 25.01 billion pounds of corn went to U.S. biofuels production in May, up from 23.294 billion pounds in April, but down from 25.088 billion pounds in May 2021. Sorghum consumption reached 232 million pounds, up from both 164 million pounds the previous month and 12 million pounds in May of last year.

Approximately 856 million pounds of soybean oil was used to produce biofuels in May, up from both 839 million pounds in April and 788 million pounds in May 2021. Corn oil consumption reached 246 million pounds, up from 211 million pounds in April and, but down from 257 million pounds in May 2021. Canola oil consumption reached 121 million pounds, up from 101 million pounds the previous month. The EIA withheld data on canola oil feedstock consumption for May 2021 to avoid disclosure of individual company data.

Biofuel producers also consumed 467 million pounds of yellow grease, 162 million pounds of beef tallow, 63 million pounds of white grease and 9 million pounds of poultry fat in May, compared to 402 million pounds, 130 million pounds, 57 million pounds and 13 million pounds, respectively in April. Biofuel producers consumed 270 million pounds of yellow grease, 119 million pounds of beef tallow, 59 million pounds of white grease and 32 million pounds of poultry fat in May 2021. The EIA withheld the volume of other waste oils, fats and greases used for biofuel production in both May and April 2022 in order to avoid disclosure of individual company data but reported that 6 million pounds of those feedstocks went to biofuel production in May 2021.

The EIA also indicated that 62 million pounds of feedstock categorized as “other” was used to produce biofuels in May, flat with the previous month, but down from 70 million pounds in May 2021.

Additional data is available on the EIA website