On top of certifying plug-in vehicles with mpg and mpge ratings (Chevy Volt, 93 mpge; Nissan Leaf, 99) and delaying E15 decisions, the EPA is also tasked with figuring out the 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards. Today, the agency finalized the 2011 percentage standards for the four categories of fuel – cellulosic biofuel, biomass-dericed diesel, advanced biofuel and renewable fuel – that make up the agency's renewable fuel standard program, known as RFS2.
Here are the final 2011 overall volume and standards:
  • Cellulosic biofuel - 6.6 million gallons; 0.003 percent
  • Biomass-based diesel - 800 million gallons; 0.69 percent
  • Advanced biofuel - 1.35 billion gallons; 0.78 percent
  • Renewable fuel - 13.95 billion gallons; 8.01 percent
So, what do all these numbers mean? The numbers for cellulosic biofuel have been lowered by 97 percent from the EPA's original goal of 250 million gallons, but the overall amount for all renewable fuels has been maintained, showing an optimism that, "the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow," the EPA said in its press release.

Wes Bolsen, the chief marketing officer and vice president of government affairs for cellulosic ethanol company Coskata, told AutoblogGreen that the new numbers represent a "major commitment" from the EPA and that they are, "a sign to obligated parties that they need to start building plants now if they want to even come close to meeting the 2015 mandate of 5.5 billion gallons of total advanced, and 21 billion gallons in 2022." He added:
It is important to note that the EPA did not waive the total volume of advanced biofuels that need to be blended in 2011. The 240 million gallon shortfall of cellulosic biofuels was simply added onto the 1.15 billion gallons of advanced biofuels in 2011 to keep the total at 1.35 billion gallons.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said these final rules, "provide certainty for biofuel producers and obligated parties." On the other hand, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Jeremy Martin said that the revised numbers are, "a clear sign that current federal policies don't work, and won't deliver the environmental, economic and energy security benefits cellulosic biofuels could provide. If we're ever going to get the cellulosic biofuel industry off the ground, we're going to have to reform biofuel policies."

[Source: EPA, Coskata, BIO | Image: ALAIN JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images]

PRESS RELEASES

EPA Finalizes 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2011 percentage standards for the four categories of fuel under the agency's renewable fuel standard program, known as RFS2.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) amended the Clean Air Act to greatly increase the total required volume of renewable fuels each year, reaching a level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates percentage-based standards for the following year. Based on the standards, each producer and importer of gasoline and diesel determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The final 2011 overall volume and standards are:

Cellulosic biofuel - 6.6 million gallons; 0.003 percent
Biomass-based diesel - 800 million gallons; 0.69 percent
Advanced biofuel - 1.35 billion gallons; 0.78 percent
Renewable fuel - 13.95 billion gallons; 8.01 percent

Based on an analysis of expected market availability, EPA is finalizing a lower 2011 cellulosic volume than the statutory target. Overall, EPA remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm


Renewable Fuel Standard Rules Demonstrate Need for Continued Commitment to Growth of Domestic Advanced Biofuels

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 29, 2010) – Rules for the 2011 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) maintain the overall market for advanced biofuels, even while lowering the cellulosic biofuel portion, revealing the ongoing need to increase investment in domestic production. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing final rules for the 2011 Renewable Fuel Standard that provides certainty for biofuel producers and obligated parties.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO's Industrial & Environmental Section, released the following statement:

"The EPA's final rules for the Renewable Fuel Standard express optimism for the continued growth of the advanced biofuels industry, including cellulosic biofuels. Although their estimate of cellulosic biofuel production remains virtually unchanged from 2010, EPA recognizes that advanced biofuels will meet the overall required volumes. Setting the cost of the cellulosic biofuel waiver credit at $1.13 ensures that obligated parties can easily comply with the standard and begin to provide consumers with access to cellulosic biofuels at the lowest possible cost.

"Advanced biofuel producers have faced enormous difficulties in raising the capital needed to build the biorefineries, due to the economic recession and tightening of credit markets. National policies to encourage the flow of capital have not worked as intended, but some minor adjustments to these policies could jumpstart the process. Congress should extend the cellulosic biofuel production tax credit now to provide the long-term stability that investors look for, it should make available to biofuel producers an optional investment tax credit similar to that available for other renewable energy producers, and it should make emerging advanced biofuels such as algae eligible for these credits.

"Further, Congress should clarify the rules for the DOE Loan Guarantee Program to help build the first cellulosic and advanced biofuel biorefineries. Demonstrated success with these first-of-a-kind biorefineries should provide confidence to institutional investors to back additional projects."

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About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIO produces BIOtech NOW, an online portal and monthly newsletter chronicling "innovations transforming our world." Subscribe to BIOtech NOW.

The Advanced Biofuels & Climate Change Information Center presents the latest commentary and data on the environmental and other impacts of biofuel production. Drop in and add your comments, at http://biofuelsandclimate.wordpress.com/
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