comparing original RFS volumes with revised volumes (some perspective)

Today the EPA released revised mandated amounts of biofuel to be blended under the RFS legislation.

To put these numbers in perspective I have taken the original requirements for cellulosic in the 2007 law and compared to the revised amounts for each year (as a % of the original).

RFS mandated volumes of biofuel (in millions of gallons)
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
original
conventional 12,000 12,600 13,200 13,800
advanced  600  950  1,350  2,000  2,750
cellulosic  100  250  500  1,000
biodiesel  500  650  800  1,000
advanced other  200  300  500
revised
conventional 12,000 12,600 13,200 13,800
advanced  600  950  1,350  2,000  2,750
cellulosic  6.50  6.60  8.65  14
biodiesel  *  1150*  800  1,000  1,280
advanced other  543  991  1,456
cellulosic % of original requirement 7% 3% 2% 1%
actual volumes (not ethanol equivalent)
* This was a combined requirement for 2009 and 2010
empty cells did not have a requirement defined
Recall that cellulosic and biodiesel are nested within “Advanced”.

As you can see, we are not “catching up” to our original targets, but as a %, the mandates are revised further and further downward each year.  Furthermore, we aren’t even producing enough to fulfill the revised mandates.  While the 2012 mandate was 8,650,000 gallons, 12,069 gallons were produced (thats 0.1%).  As I’ve discussed before, there are plenty of excess RINs so these are being used to fulfill the mandate instead of cellulosic fuel – this was part of the flexibility built into the law.  While there are excess RINs now, there will not be in future years as predicted by CARD here.  I believe this will all come to a big battle in court, which has already started here.  My point is not to knock on the mandate, the EPA, or anyone else, but to emphasize that we were too optimistic in the original bill, and we probably won’t achieve the targets set for 2022, since they more than double year over year between now and 2022:

Year Cellulosic cellulosic % increase over previous year
2011 250 250%
2012 500 200%
2013 1000 200%
2014 1750 175%
2015 3000 171%
2016 4250 142%
2017 5500 129%
2018 7000 127%
2019 8500 121%
2020 10500 124%
2021 13500 129%
2022 16000 119%

Of course there may be a technological breakthrough (which is why we do what we do everyday), and financing and construction may ramp up now that the recession is ending.. but I think it would be highly unlikely, especially since natural gas is now competing with bioenergy.

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6 Responses to comparing original RFS volumes with revised volumes (some perspective)

  1. Pingback: The RFS- basket case, or just a few years ahead of it’s time? | Energy and the Future

  2. Pingback: The blend wall and what we will do will all the cellulosic ethanol | Energy and the Future

  3. Pingback: The blend wall and what we will do with all the cellulosic ethanol | Energy and the Future

  4. Pingback: post about RINs, ethanol, etc | Energy and the Future

  5. Paul says:

    Here is an approach on how the RFS could be feasible (with alot of assumptions):

    http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/04/04/7-steps-to-meeting-us-renewable-fuels-targets/

    “Renewable diesel tends to be be built in the 100-240 Mgy range, cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel generally fall in the 20-60 range. Assuming 100 million gallons in average capacity — this represents around 83 projects, in 9 years starting in 2014, or roughly 9 per year.”

  6. Pingback: Newest cellulosic biofuel facilities | Energy and the Future

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