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Biodiesel is the ‘unsung hero’ of RFS, NBB tells US Congress

In the US, disputes over the current state and the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) continue as the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) VP of federal affairs Anne Steckel testified to the US Congress about the benefits of biodiesel.

Biodiesel is delivering the vast majority of advanced biofuel under the RFS and is poised for continued growth with strong policy, Steckel said in her prepared testimony, calling biodiesel and renewable diesel the programme’s “unsung heroes”.

“While there are certainly areas that could be improved, the RFS has made tremendous progress in developing advanced biofuels and delivering them to American consumers. Biodiesel and renewable diesel have made up the vast majority of Advanced Biofuels in the RFS, including filling more than 90% of the category in the last two years,” Steckel said.

The testimony was to be delivered to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power at a hearing titled The Renewable Fuel Standard – Implementation Issues.

Steckel planned to call for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen its recently announced RFS proposal, which includes a biodiesel volume of 2.1 billion gallons in 2018, just 100 million gallons higher than the 2017 volume finalised last year.

The industry already appears poised to exceed 2.1 billion gallons of RFS production this year, she noted.

“There remains significant untapped production capacity on the ground today, and biodiesel producers across the country will tell you they stand ready to invest and expand and hire with strong, stable policy,” the testimony reads. “However, we continue to believe the agency is underestimating the volume of biodiesel that can be delivered.”

Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide.

According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57% to 86% compared with petroleum diesel.

The RFS – a bipartisan policy passed in 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires increasing volumes of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels, in the US fuel stream.

Under the law, advanced biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to petroleum fuels

NBB is the US trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.