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Trade group seeks 7-billion-gallon advanced biofuel mandate

The EPA should increase the advanced biofuels share of the fuel market by 1 billion gallons a year to reflect the land rush into renewable diesel production, said the trade group Clean Fuels America Alliance on Monday. The recommendation would raise the federal mandate for second-generation biofuels to 7.63 billion gallons in 2024, a 36% increase from this year.

“We’re seeing the production of renewable diesel coming on line. The capacity is there,” said Donnell Rehagen, the group’s chief executive, during a news conference. “We believe that EPA should increase the biomass-based diesel volume by 500 million gallons and the advanced biofuel by 1 billion gallons for each of the next two years.”

Under an agreement with the biofuel industry, the EPA has a Nov. 30 deadline to announce the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023 and possibly for additional years. Biofuel groups believe the RFS will be set for at least two years, 2023 and 2024.

“Commercial production is growing quickly,” said Mike Rath, interim chairman of Clean Fuels, referring to renewable diesel. Plants with 2 billion gallons of production capacity are expected to go into operation in the next two or three years. Meanwhile, soybean crushing capacity is rising and a USDA grant program aids retailers to install dispensing pumps and storage tanks for higher blends of biofuels. “The volumes we recommended to EPA are clearly achievable based on these factors,” said Rath.

Soybean oil is a leading feedstock for biomass-based diesel. The USDA estimates 45% of U.S. soy oil produced in the marketing year that began on Oct. 1 will be used in making biofuels, compared to 40% in the 2021/22 marketing year and 36% in 2020/21. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are produced through different methods.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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