Houston, 13 September (Argus) — Even the rosiest expectations for US cellulosic ethanol production cannot meet volumes set in federal mandates, according to a study by policy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, which is a partner of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may shift advanced biofuel production requirements to consider biomass-based aviation and renewable diesel fuels to meet an estimated 3.6bn USG advanced fuel volume mandate in 2015, according to the Environmental Entrepreneurs study. An EPA waiver to count as advanced biofuel grain sorghum-based ethanol – which uses a non-corn feedstock – could also help meet the requirements, according to the study.
The group estimated cellulosic ethanol production will reach 337.2mn USG in 2015, based on an expectation of 16 new or retrofitted commercial facilities to produce the advanced fuel. That level is far short of the EPA mandate. Projections made by advanced biofuel companies themselves put the volume at more than 512.2mn USG, according to the study.
But uncertainty over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2), the federal biofuel mandate, has complicated financing for facilities and will continue to affect the development of advanced ethanol facilities, the report said.
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