EPA Article Underlines New Targets and Implications for Renewable Fuel Standards
With policy initiatives demanding greater procurement of renewable fuels, it is technologies, industries, and common practices that play major roles in shaping future progress.
An increasing number of stakeholders are recognizing the relevance and benefits of biofuels. In the United States, a largely untapped collection of biomass can be utilized for creating biofuels, all while incorporating more holistic models for sustainable business operations, communities, and new resource potential. Examples of this include farming operations with a significant presence of Fats, Oils, and Greases (FOGs) that can turn their waste into usable products like synthetic oils, Diesel, and more. Aiding in this pursuit are goals to reach certain amounts of biofuel production by specific dates, as described by the EPA:
The renewable fuels standards (RFS) program, established by Congress in 2007, aims to increase the volumes of renewable biofuels that are used in our transportation system, helping the United States move away from fossil fuels to less carbon-intensive fuels. The program seeks to reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change and improve energy security. When Congress passed the RFS, it set annual targets for biofuel use that increase every year through 2022. Congress also gave EPA the authority to adjust those target volumes downward in certain situations.
Because of the limitations that exist today, we are using the authority Congress gave the agency to adjust the volumes below the annual targets set in the original 2007 legislation. These proposed volumes are achievable in the timeframes under consideration. At the same time, the volumes steadily increase every year, reflecting Congress’s clear intent to drive up the nation’s use of renewable fuel.
Limitations come in the form of different variables, including insufficient and/or improper technology applications, lack of investments in upgrades and new projects, infrastructure restrictions, and more. While new biofuel targets may be set to lower levels than originally planned, new projects will still be relevant in meeting targets. And there is no shortage of resources to do so, even when just considering farming operations. According to an NREL publication on the topic of biomass-based fuels:
The United States produced about 18 million tons of FOG in 2010, which could theoretically be converted to over 5 billion gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel. The 1.1 billion gallon biodiesel production in 2011 consumed over 4 million tons of FOG, which is a significant increase from the 1.1 million tons consumed in 2010.
What’s more, demand for and consumption of Diesel and other fuels are anticipated to grow over the coming years in various industries, highlighting the economic and environmental opportunities that exist in generating those fuels from biomass and other renewable sources.
In anticipation of these opportunities, and building solutions, Team Gemini works with team members like enCO2, 2G ENERGY, A3-USA, Gulf Process Gases, KAHL, and others to provide a comprehensive set of options for different industries like farming, food production, manufacturing, and more. These solutions encompass the need to generate or conserve one’s own operating resources (like electricity, heat, and water) while also providing infrastructure to create fuel and other resources for future growth (like pelletized compost, concentrated fertilizer, Diesel, synthetic oils, and more). This model empowers the approach of minimizing costs while maximizing resources, and doing so in sustainable ways that incorporate features like waste processing.
To learn more about Team Gemini’s diverse technology solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/technologies/.
For the original article on the EPA blog, you can check out http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2015/05/driving-responsible-growth-in-biofuels/.