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February 5, 2020 11:30 AM, EST

EPA Sets Final Rule for 2021 Biomass-Based Diesel Requirement

A driver unloads corn at a refining facility in Jewell, Iowa. The 2020 volume requirement for biomass-based diesel was about 170 million gallons higher than in 2019. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg News)

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced the final rule that sets the biomass-based diesel statutory minimum requirement at 2.43 billion gallons for 2021, the same level as the 2020 requirement.

“Given current and recent market conditions, the advanced biofuel requirement is driving the production and use of biodiesel and renewable diesel volumes over and above volumes required through the separate biomass-based diesel standard, and we expect this to continue,” EPA said in a Feb. 5 announcement. “While EPA continues to believe it is appropriate to maintain the opportunity for other advanced biofuels to compete for market share, the vast majority of the advanced biofuel obligations in recent years have been satisfied with biomass-based diesel.”

EPA said that relative to the levels finalized for 2019, the 2020 volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel would be higher by approximately 170 million gallons. “This entire increase for each category is attributable to the increased projection of cellulosic biofuel production in 2020,” the agency’s final rule said.

Renewable Fuel Standards for 2020 and 2021 by Transport Topics on Scribd

“Entities potentially affected by this final rule are those involved with the production, distribution and sale of transportation fuels, including gasoline and diesel fuel or renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and biogas,” EPA said.

The agency said that in previous years, significant volumes of foreign-produced advanced biodiesel and renewable diesel have been supplied to markets in the U.S.

Bio-diesel pump

Micah Walter/Bloomberg News

“These significant imports were likely the result of a strong U.S. demand for advanced biodiesel and renewable diesel, supported by renewable fuel standards, the low-carbon fuel standard in California, the biodiesel blenders tax credit, and the opportunity for imported biodiesel and renewable diesel to realize these incentives,” the EPA rule said.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual renewable fuel percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel that apply to gasoline and diesel transportation fuel produced. The applicable volume of biomass-based diesel is set a year ahead of the other fuels.

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