Lincoln, Nebraska – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the final set rule of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The rule sets renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for the next three calendar years. The total renewable fuel RVOs in the final rule are 20.94 billion gallons for 2023, 21.54 billion gallons for 2024, and 22.33 billion gallons for 2025. The conventional renewable fuel RVO, which includes corn ethanol, is set at 15 billion gallons for 2023, 2024, and 2025 each year. Overall, the RVOs in the final rule include lower volumes for advanced, cellulosic, and conventional biofuels and higher volumes for biomass-based diesel than the originally proposed rule published Dec. 30, 2022.
“While we are encouraged that EPA continues to call for higher volumes of renewable fuels year over year, we are disappointed that the final RVOs are significantly lower than originally proposed for conventional and cellulosic biofuels,” said Reid Wagner, executive director of the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB). “Our current ethanol infrastructure has the capacity today to easily meet the originally-proposed 15.25 billion gallon conventional biofuel requirement, and a growing number of ethanol producers are deploying technologies for processing corn kernel fiber into ethanol, which will contribute significant volumes of cellulosic biofuel soon. Ensuring adequate RVOs aids in market development as the ethanol industry works to expand access to its products. By sidelining these low-carbon biofuels options, EPA is effectively leaving tools in the box that could be used to accomplish their decarbonization goals.”
The final rule also includes a cumulative 550-million-gallon increase in the biomass-based diesel RVO, from the originally proposed rule. “In sectors that are more difficult to electrify, namely heavy-duty transport, renewable diesel and biodiesel will continue to play a key role in decarbonization efforts,” Wagner said. “The final biomass-based diesel RVO is certainly trending in the right direction, but still may not be sufficient to capture the rapid growth in capacity of renewable diesel and biodiesel production.”
The final set rule also did not include provisions related to RINs generated from renewable electricity (eRINs), as it did when it was first proposed.
The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.