RFS volume requirements released by EPA

By Holly Jessen | December 28, 2011

A month after the Nov. 30 deadline, the U.S. EPA has finalized the biofuels volume requirements for the 2012 renewable fuel standard (RFS).

The list, released Dec. 27, looked virtually the same as what was proposed in June. Cellulosic biofuels, however, went from a proposed range of 3.45-12.9 million gallons to a final volume of 8.65 million gallons.

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

    Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91 percent)

    Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21 percent)

    Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006 percent)

    Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23 percent)

As has been the case previously, the EPA’s final volumes are much lower than the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 targets. For 2012, the EISA target for cellulosic biofuel was 500 million gallons. The 2012 number was cut to only 8.65 million gallons based on analysis of market availability, the agency said.

The total renewable fuels blending requirement for 2012 is 1.25 million gallons more than the amount mandated for 2011, the EPA pointed out. “Overall, EPA’s RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels,” the agency said in a press release.

The volume requirement for biomass-based diesel may go over the EISA target in 2013. Although EISA calls for a 1 billion gallon minimum volume requirement for biomass-based diesel for 2013 and beyond, EPA has proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons. EISA authorizes the EPA to increase the volume requirement after considering environmental, market and energy factors. “EPA is continuing to evaluate the many comments from stakeholders on the proposed biomass-based diesel volume for 2013 and will take final action next year,” the EPA said.

The EPA has more information on the standards and regulations and renewable fuels at its website.