New US biofuel standards slash 2011 cellulosic blending target

29 November 2010 21:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again lowered its 2011 blending target for cellulosic-based ethanol as production has lagged earlier estimates, the agency said on Monday.

The EPA said a lack of expected availability forced it to reduce its cellulosic biofuel requirement to 6.6m gal (25m litres) in 2011, down from the original target of 250m gal set in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and down from a July projection of 17.1m gal.

“Based on an analysis of expected market availability, EPA is finalising a lower 2011 cellulosic volume than the statutory target,” the EPA said. “Overall, EPA remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead.”

The US Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said the EPA’s analysis reflected difficulties that cellulosic producers have encountered in obtaining revenues to fully commercialise their product.

“However, being aware of this fact, EPA should have been and must be careful to keep cellulosic biofuel targets ambitious so as to stimulate the kind of investment these technologies need to finish commercialisation,” said RFA chief executive Bob Dinneen.

The EPA maintained its original 2011 EISA target blending levels for biodiesel and advanced biofuels at 800m gal and 1.35bn gal, respectively.

Overall, renewable fuels should total 13.95bn gal in 2011, of which 12.6bn gal will be starch-based ethanol. The stated goal of the EISA is to reach 36bn gal/year of renewable fuels by 2022.

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By: Ben DuBose
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