Renewables in 2015 & 2016

Posted by Ed Burke on Mar 11, 2016 1:30:00 PM

shutterstock_150169862.jpg

2015 was a banner year for Renewables. The EPA finally finalized RFS volumes for 2014-2016 in November. In December, Congress passed the tax extenders package which included both the $1 per gallon biodiesel blender credit and cellulosic blending credit of $1.01 per gallon, retroactively.

We also saw the Paris Climate Change Summit in November (Here's a quick recap of where we were then in terms of Climate Change regulations). The Summit saw 190 countries agree to Climate Change resolutions and almost univerally agreeing that each country would lower its carbon emissions.

2015 saw increases in renewable fuels use essentially across the board, and 2016 projections are optimistic on growth. I wrote an article for Oil & Energy's March issue that goes into depth on current levels, projections, and how the renewables mix looks like it will shake out through 2016. You can read that article here: Oil & Energy: "Renewables are Changing the Energy Mix"

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Topics: Biodiesel, EPA, renewable energy

ASTM Spec for Higher Bio Blends Moves Heat Towards Lower Carbon Future

Posted by Ed Burke on May 26, 2015 1:48:24 PM

Chalkboard image with Biofule in focus

ASTM International released its new spec for 6-20% bio blended heating oil (BioHeat) this past March. The prior spec only covered blends of up to 5% - like those you can pull from many racks now. 

This change comes as the rolling sulfur reductions in many New England and Northeast states is beginning. Most of these states are dropping sulfur to 15ppm by 2018, with some already at that level for heating oil (ie New York).

These changes in tandem are a huge push forward for the industry on both reducing emissions, and moving to a more environmentally friendly, domestically produced, bio blended product.

The hope is having an official ASTM spec for higher blends of Bio will encourage use of those blends to grow, because it will eliminate the uncertainty of product quality for consumers, dealers, and marketers. Additionally, the spec will allow manufacturers and OEMs to determine what blend their equipment can support, and they will be able to make adjustments to adapt to higher blends in an educated and informed manner.

There is less concern environmentally with moving to higher bio blends than we see with ethanol blends, because biodiesel can be produced from recycled grease, animal fats - essentially waste stock versus being 100% derived from virgin food crops (ie soybeans), whereas that is not the case for ethanol, which has been haunted by food vs fuel impacts. 

I wrote an article for the May issue of Oil & Energy Magazine on the topic of the new Bio spec and the move to cleaner heating oil, which you can read in full by clicking here:  "Transforming Heating Oil for a Low-Carbon Future"

 

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Topics: Oil & Energy Magazine, Bioheat, Biodiesel, astm

How Will the EPA Address the RFS for 2014 & 2015?

Posted by Ed Burke on Jan 21, 2015 10:43:17 AM

Chalkboard image with the focus on Biofuel

In November the EPA announed it would not be able to finalize on the RFS volumes for biofuels until 2015. The 2014 and 2015 volumes will be set soon,, in theory. But there has been a lot of stress out there in the industry over the fact that the delay will essentially mean refiners and producers need to be retroactively compliant with the volumes the EPA sets.

The biofuels industry is pushing for an increase in biofuel requirements, to 18.15 billion gallons. This is probably not happening, but the uncertainty overall has had a serious impact on bio producers, many of whom have scaled operations way back over 2014 as compared to 2013.

On the other hand most refiners argue that the EPA should lower the standard by 16% given the drop in demand year on year since the RFS' inception in 2007. Additionally the cellulosic ethanol standard should be scrapped, its argued, since its not available for use and its therefore impossible to comply with that portion of the mandate.  

The implication the EPA gave was that it was looking at reducing volumes, and would almost certainly not be increasing the ethanol mandate over the 10% current level - ie that it wouldnt break the so called "blend wall". We will have to see how it plays out over the next month or so. 

I wrote a more in depth piece on the RFS for January's Oil & Energy Magazine, if you want to dive into the topic a little deeper, you can read that article here: "Rethinking the Renewable Fuel Standard"

 

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Topics: Biodiesel, RFS 2, EPA Mandate, EPA

AltWheels - Past, Present and Future

Posted by Ed Burke on Jan 7, 2015 12:32:35 PM

The most recent AltWheels Fleet Day in Norwood was once again a great success. We've been part of AltWheels from the beginning, back when biodiesel was a niche product and who had ever even heard of ethanol gasoline?

There have been a lot of advances and changes in the landscape of alternative fuels and vehicles. I wrote an article for Oil & Energy Magazine in December chronicling some of the major evolutions we've seen across the field of alternative energy. You can read that article here: "Fleets of the Present and Future: Ed Burke Reports on Alt Wheels Fleet Day"

And below, just for fun here's some awesome shots of the great times we've had at AltWheels past. Enjoy!

AltWheels recognizes green pioneers

E85 pickup truck

Two men standing in front of a flex fuel Chevy AvalancheMan in a suit standing at a podium giving a speech

Chevy VoltHonda Civic - Natural Gas

Police officers riding on horses pose infront of the Dennis K. Burke kiosk

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Topics: natural gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, environment, altwheels,, electric vehicles

RIN Fraud - What does it mean for Biodiesel Producers?

Posted by Ed Burke on May 1, 2012 3:32:00 PM

I wrote an article in March's issue of Oil & Energy Magazine adressing the issue of RIN Fraud and the impact the EPA crackdown on the fraud is having in the biodiesel world.

Ironically, 2011 was a pretty great year in a lot of ways for biodiesel and biodiesel producers - production was up, green jobs were being created, we were making progress. RIN Fraud hitting the news late in the year really shook things up however, understandably, considering the fines and penalties at play and the difficulty facing smaller firms currently who have legitimate RIN credits to trade and are facing a marketplace full of cautious (at best) buyers.

Long story short, there have certainly been ripples throughout the industry over the fraud, with more to come likely. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

 You can read the full article in pdf format by clicking here 

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Topics: Oil & Energy Magazine, Biodiesel Massachusetts, Biodiesel, RINs

Let’s Get Blogging

Posted by Ed Burke on Jan 2, 2011 6:38:00 AM

As we start 2011, God Bless America!

Here are a few 2010 issues I’d like to discuss and get some industry input.

The Massachusetts Biodiesel Mandate, will we see any progress this year?

The Biodiesel Tax Credit is back and RINS values are soaring, does this play a role for Massachusetts?

Moving toward reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, will solar power and electric cars become more accessible?

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Topics: Biodiesel Massachusetts, massachusetts biodiesel mandate, Biodiesel Tax Credit, Biodiesel, Solar Power, RIN values

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