EPA Sets Low Bar for Cellulosic Biofuel Production in 2012

Each year, the EPA sets the standards for how much of each category of biofuel required by the Renewable Fuel Standard must be blended into the nation’s liquid fuel supply. Congress set the blending goals in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, but the EPA is authorized to amend those based upon its assessment of the industry’s capacity. For 2012, the EPA has once again found that the development of commercial scale cellulosic biofuel production is lagging far behind the goal set by Congress.

On December 27, the EPA released the Renewable Fuel Standards for 2012. The volumes and standards are as follows:

  • 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

The percentage standards represent the ratio of renewable fuel volume to non-renewable gasoline and diesel volume. Corn-based ethanol continues to comprise, by far, the largest and remaining portion of the renewable fuel supply for 2012 – about 12 billion gallons. The goal Congress set in 2007 for cellulosic biofuels in 2012 was 500 million gallons.

For more information on biofuel production trends, see EESI’s SBFF post December 9.