By Lynn L. Bergeson
On March 13, 2019, the European Commission (EC) published a fact sheet on the sustainability for biofuels specified. EC adopted a delegated act that sets out the criteria for determining high low indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk feedstock for biofuels and the criteria for certifying ILUC-risk biofuels, bioliquids, and biomass fuels. ILUC-risk fuels consist of fuels produced from food and feed crops that significantly expand globally into land with high carbon stock (high ILUC-risk fuels). The consequences of creating high ILUC-risk fuels relate to the release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which negates the emissions savings from the use of biofuels rather than fossil fuels. ILUC is addressed in the delegated act through two measures: one measure sets national limits for the total contribution towards the renewable energy targets for biofuels, bioliquids, and biomass fuels from food or feed crops; and the other measure sets national limits as Member States’ 2019 level for the period 2021-2023.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On February 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the development of spatial models, from a BETO-funded project, to determine how forest management can produce biofuels, restore at-risk salmonids, and reduce the risk of wildfires. Conducted by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the study assessed the impacts of thinning forests on habitats, which include benefits to the environment and the economy. While PNNL researchers are focused on using a model to relate forest treatments to streamflow and temperature and ORNL researchers are focused on models linking streamflow and temperature, USFS is using a model to evaluate synergies among thinning effects, which includes biofuel feedstock production. For further details on how the study supports the biomass industry, click here.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On January 17, 2018, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), which includes draft measures to raise the share of renewable energy to 35 percent by 2030. Additionally, the lawmakers voted to exclude biofuels produced from palm oil from consideration of European Union (EU) Renewable Energy targets and to cap other crop-based fuels at their current levels. The exclusion of palm oil-derived biofuels would not ban or limit the production of such biofuels in the EU. The EP vote does not represent a final decision, but rather sets the EP position for negotiations with the Council of Ministers and the European Commission (EC).
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On May 29, 2017, UPM Biofuels announced that its BioVerno renewable diesel and BioVerno sidestream products, including naptha, turpentine, and pitch, received certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). BioVerno renewable diesel is manufactured from crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production. The RSB Certification evaluates the sustainability of biobased products against 12 principles that have been approved by non-governmental organizations (NGO), United Nations (UN) agencies, and other stakeholders and demonstrates compliance with the European Union Renewable Energy Directive’s sustainability criteria.
By Kathleen M. Roberts
On April 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service published in the Federal Register a notice that it is requesting approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a revision to a currently approved information collection for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which provides funding to eligible advanced biofuel producers to support the production of biofuel products. The Rural Business-Cooperative Service is specifically seeking comments on the following topics:
- Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
- The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
- Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
- Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
Comments on this notice, which are due by June 26, 2017, will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval.