Paving the Road to New Pathways

EPA continues work on palm oil-based biodiesel
By Erin Voegele | November 17, 2010
The U.S. EPA has been working to approve new fuel pathways for biodiesel in the past year. While a pathway for canola oil was approved in mid-2010, the industry is still awaiting the approval of one for palm oil. According to EPA Spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn, the agency is actively working on the palm oil pathway as part of a supplemental analysis to the final rule for RFS2. The next step in that process, she says, is issuing a notice of data availability when the agency has preliminary results. However, Mibourn was unable to offer an estimated timeframe for this action. Surprisingly, Milbourn confirms that EPA has not yet received an official petition for a pathway review and determination for jatropha.

While pathways for palm oil have yet to be approved, that does not necessary negate the possibility of producing renewable identification numbers (RINs) for palm oil-based biodiesel. In July, the EPA proposed a provision that would allow for "delayed RINs." The measure would allow certain producers of renewable fuels, including those using palm oil as a feedstock, to generate RINs for fuel produced in 2010 as long as the agency determines the fuel pathways of these feedstocks meet the required greenhouse gas reduction thresholds. The proposal was also set to apply for the canola oil pathway, which was approved earlier this year.
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