quarta-feira, janeiro 27th, 2010 | Author: admin

A new, widely anticipated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) should be issued by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “very soon,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said Tuesday. “(EPA is) working very hard to finalize the [new rule] as soon as possible,” Jackson said. The rule is now at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an interagency review.
Biofuels makers have been waiting for the rules, which are designed to implement a 2007 law that mandated an ever-increasing amount of biofuels be added to transportation fuel. This year, 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be part of the supply, up almost 17% from last year. Of that total, almost one billion gallons must come from advanced biofuels.
The EPA has been working to determine what biofuels count as advanced. To qualify, each type of advanced biofuel must produce greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 50% lower than the emissions associated with ordinary gasoline. The question is how to measure emissions, since the EPA must look across the entire life cycle from the time a seed is planted to the time a fuel is burned.  As part of that, the EPA must account for the potential impact of clearing land that absorbs greenhouse gases to make room for crops that absorb less of the gases.
The agency’s ultimate decision will also determine what types of new biofuel plants may break ground.
By law, new biofuel plants must produce fuels with greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 20% lower that emissions associated with traditional gasoline.
Another question involves the future of corn-based ethanol. When the EPA proposed rules in May 2009, the agency outlined two different scenarios. One scenario largely favored the ethanol industry, and another would prohibit all but one corn-ethanol-production process. At issue is whether the EPA determines that ethanol producers are able to find ways to operate more efficiently–such as through the use of enzymes or other processes.
Oil companies have their own concerns. ConocoPhillips (COP) told the White House recently that the system for ensuring that marketers comply with the standards wasn’t workable. The company also opposed an EPA proposal that would allow biodiesel to qualify. The biodiesel industry is fighting back. The National Biodiesel Board has complained that companies aren’t buying biodiesel in mandated volumes because of the EPA’s delay in issuing rules.

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Category: NEWS
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