Realistic RFS Attainable

October 30, 2013 03:24 AM
 
cellulosic ethanol

If the Environmental Protection Agency reduces its biofuels requirement by 2.3 billion gallons, the U.S. can likely meet 2014 mandated production levels, says one energy policy analyst.

Refiners could reasonably produce 15.85 billion gallons of biofuels, which is less than the 18.15 billion that EPA requires in its Renewable Fuels Standard for 2014, projects Wally Tyner of Purdue University.

"It’s clear that if EPA does what is implied … the RFS moves from being unworkable to quite manageable," Tyner says. EPA has been forced to reduce its cellulosic mandate every year because not enough of that biofuel has been available to meet the targets; yet the EPA has maintained its overall biofuels production requirement.

To do this, EPA needs to reduce its volume targets for corn ethanol to better align with the blend wall. Tyner says it should also lower production requirements for cellulosic biofuels such as from corn stover, straw and Miscanthus grass to what the EPA might deem to be available.

RFS blend requirements could be met in 2015 and 2016 with similar reductions. With no changes, Tyner says the energy industry would have to blend 20.5 billion gallons of biofuels into gasoline in 2015.

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