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Isn't that a lot of biodiesel?

EPA’s recently released proposal for 2014-2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes includes a substantial amount of growth for biomass-based diesel (BBD). The proposal is for 1.7, 1.8, and 1.9...A new study assesses biodiesel feedstock availability in the U.S. and finds that annual domestic supply growth is modest. We comment on these findings in light of EPA's proposal to increase biomass-...
Published 2015.08.17: Blog Post

Comments on RFS 2014-2016 RVO

ICCT comments to the U.S. EPA on proposed volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard program for 2014–2016 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2017. Download PDF. View on Scribd. More documents by the...
Published 2015.08.10: News

Wearing the cap: A place for food-based ethanol in the RED?

In Europe, a long-running process of revising the EU’s biofuel policy is, after several years of discussion, analysis and negotiation, gradually drawing to a close. It is widely expected that within...The EU will probably soon reach agreement on amendments to the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives (RED and FQD) that will recognize concerns raised about indirect land use change and...
Published 2015.03.14: Blog Post

A reality check on biomass ambitions

To combat climate change and reduce petroleum imports, some countries have started to adopt strong targets for renewable energy. For example, European Union law requires 20% of energy to be from...Generating energy from some types of biomass can deliver high GHG emission reductions, but could there be enough of these resources to go around if the entire world looked to deliver 20% of its...
Published 2014.11.12: Blog Post

A Guide for the Perplexed to the Indirect Effects of Biofuels Production

Over the past decade, the concept of indirect land use change (ILUC) has come from obscurity to become a primary concern for biofuels policy. In the U.S., the Renewable Fuel Standard and California's...
Published 2014.09.04: Publication

Is the Renewable Fuel Standard inadvertently driving up U.S. palm oil imports?

If you’re reading this on your lunch break, take a look at the ingredients label on your cookies. Chances are you’ll see one or a combination of soybean oil, palm oil, and canola oil, perhaps...About a third of all U.S. soybean oil goes into biodiesel that the RFS requires to be blended into diesel fuel. That's soybean oil that's no longer available to use in food products, leading to...
Published 2014.09.02: Blog Post

Solar farms, energy yields and indirect land use change

In the past month, there has been a ripple of interest through the UK media about the loss of agricultural land to solar farms (large installations of photovoltaic cells), for instance this article ...Some commentators in the UK have expressed concern about agricultural land being lost to solar panels - but is solar iLUC really worth worrying about?
Published 2014.08.08: Blog Post

Does biodiesel really need a tax credit?

Prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs)—essentially tradable credits used for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—have hovered around 50 cents since early this year for all...The behavior of RIN prices is starting to make it look as if the biodiesel tax credit is not only redundant but may actually be creating windfall profits for the industry.
Published 2014.07.31: Blog Post

EU Energy Council draft directive on indirect land use change

On June 13, the European Union’s Council of Energy Ministers agreed to a common position on the draft “ILUC proposal.” The Ministers’ June proposal would amend the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality...
Published 2014.07.30: Publication

Let’s update US fuel policy to promote electric vehicles (Part II)

We’ve argued elsewhere (see here and here) that the U.S. should take steps to include renewable electricity for electric vehicles under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Last week, EPA took a small...Last week EPA finalized a new pathway for biogas electricity used in electric vehicles, a step that could potentially open up new avenues to incentivizing more types of low carbon fuels in...
Published 2014.07.08: Blog Post

Biofuel co-product credits? The answer is blowing in the wind

The success of biofuel policies depends on delivering GHG reductions. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is the primary tool used in biofuel policies to estimate well-to-wheel GHG emissions and ensure that...Substituting dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in animal feed seems to hold out great promise for reducing methane emissions. How real is that promise? Is there any possibility of GHG...
Published 2014.06.17: Blog Post

Demystifying the carbon neutrality of biomass

The recent reports by the IPCC [.pdf] and the U.S. National Climate Assessment paint a bleak picture for Planet Earth: a two to five degree rise in temperature by the end of century, which would...The use of biomass for energy, including forest biomass, is often presented as a cost-effective way to combat climate change. The concept of carbon neutrality is the bassis for that hopeful idea—and...
Published 2014.06.13: Blog Post

A conversational guide to Renewable Identification Numbers in the RFS2

The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) promotes the use of biofuels in road transportation fuel through volume mandates, which increase each year under the regulation. The Environmental Protection...
Published 2014.05.08: Publication

[Press release] New ICCT study: Reassessing global potential for energy from biomass

For immediate release: 25 March 2014 Many climate change mitigation strategies rely on projections of strong growth in biomass energy. But a new study by the International Council on Clean...
Published 2014.03.25: News

[Press release] Study shines new light on estimated yields for cellulosic bioenergy crops

For immediate release: 28 February 2014 Assumptions concerning potential energy crop yields in some research studies may overstate those yields by as much as 100%. One key factor in developing a...
Published 2014.02.28: News

The high importance of low(er) expectations, energy crop yields edition

Commercial-scale cellulosic biofuels are a kind of holy grail for energy policy: a way to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon, low-impact renewable energy while avoiding problems inherent in the...Energy crops probably don’t grow as fast as much of the current research on them assumes that they will.
Published 2014.02.28: Blog Post

Wasted: Europe's untapped resource

Key findings: If all the wastes and residues that are sustainably available in the European Union were converted only to biofuels, this could supply 16 per cent of road transport fuel in 2030. (...
Published 2014.02.26: Publication

Comments, UK Department for Transport, Advanced Biofuel Call for Evidence

These comments are in response to the UK Department for Transport's December 2013 call for evidence on advanced fuels. The background section provides high-level comments on the prospects for...
Published 2014.02.24: News

It's a jungle out there: iLUC, the Amazon and how to read a map

A recent ‘Biofuels Digest’ article presented a new deforestation monitoring tool from Global Forest Watch. The tool, which “unites satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to guarantee...The Biofuel Digest has decided that iLUC doesn't exist. Is the iLUC debate over, or is there a different way to understand the data they've been looking at?
Published 2014.02.24: Blog Post

Comprehensive carbon accounting for identification of sustainable biomass feedstocks

The study estimates carbon impacts of bioenergy from ten biomass feedstock harvesting pathways feeding into three different production pathways. The harvesting pathways include forestry, agricultural...
Published 2014.02.12: Publication