Pennsylvania biodiesel mandate to take effect

By Erin Voegele | January 15, 2009
Web exclusive posted Jan. 21, 2009, at 10:50 a.m. CST

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell announced Jan. 15 that the state has met the first in-state biodiesel production threshold of 40 MMgy. As a result, within one year every gallon of on-road diesel sold in Pennsylvania must contain a minimum of 2 percent biodiesel.

Pennsylvania House Bill 1202, which was signed into law July 2008, established a state renewable fuels standard, which requires biofuels percentage increases to occur as in-state production for biodiesel and ethanol reach certain levels.

Under the legislation, all retail diesel fuel sold must contain:
  • 2 percent biodiesel once in-state production reaches 40 MMgy

  • 5 percent biodiesel once in-state production reaches 100 MMgy

  • 10 percent biodiesel once in-state production reaches 200 MMgy

  • 20 percent biodiesel once in-state production reaches 400 MMgy

"The 2 percent biodiesel mandate will now become a reality because our state's biofuel producers have reached the first critical threshold established by the alternative energy law I signed last summer," Rendell said in a statement announcing that the threshold has been reached. "Pennsylvania's producers can now manufacture 40 million gallons of biodiesel a year right here at home."

Erie, Pa.-based Lake Erie Biofuels LLC said the company is "ready, willing and obviously able" to fulfill the state's B2 mandate. The biodiesel producer has a production capacity of 45 MMgy, and was critical in reaching the threshold production level.

According to Biodiesel Magazine's plant list, in addition to Lake Erie Biofuels, there are five other Pennsylvania-based biodiesel producers. These producers include: United Biofuels Inc., Keystone Biofuels Inc., Biodiesel of Pennsylvania Inc., Agra Biofuels Inc., and United Oil Co. The combined production capacity of these six biodiesel refineries is 77.5 MMgy.

The 40 MMgy threshold was reached in September, triggering the mandate. The production levels must be sustained and verified over a three-month period by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The production volumes reported to the department were 3.9 million gallons in June, 2.9 million gallons in July and nearly 3.2 million gallons in August. The calculation used to determine the mandate trigger is the total gallons produced over a three-month period and then multiplied by four.

At least six months prior to the effective date of the mandated requirements, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will jointly make a certification as to whether there is sufficient infrastructure in Pennsylvania to meet the requirements. The agencies will conduct at lease three public hearings across the state for each report required under the legislation.

To view a copy of House Bill 1202, visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly Web site.
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