Latest US biodiesel numbers show sharp rise in production

By Ron Kotrba | June 02, 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest statistics today on total fats and oils consumed in methyl ester refining for April, and the numbers indicate U.S. biodiesel production is on a sharp rise.

The report shows 463.6 million pounds (about 60 million gallons) of fats and oils were consumed in April for biodiesel refining, up from March’s revised tally of nearly 392 million pounds (51 million gallons). The bureau underestimated its earlier March figures of 370.6 million pounds (roughly 48 million gallons), it noted in its latest report.

January and February numbers were markedly lower, at around 230 million pounds, approximately 30 million gallons each month.

The increase from February to March represents a 70 percent spike while the rise from March to April is a more modest 18 percent. Biodiesel production has more than doubled from February to April.

While 60 million gallons per month, annualized, comes to 720 MMgy—nearing the U.S. biodiesel industry’s all-time high production volume in a given year—RFS2 calls for a minimum of 800 million gallons of biomass-based diesel to be blended into the U.S. diesel fuel supply. But with the dollar credit and high RIN credit prices, biodiesel production has become profitable again as evidenced by the production increases, so May’s figures from the Census Bureau are expected to trend in the same upward direction. 


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