The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program

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1 The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program Presentation for The Nexus of Biofuels Energy, Climate Change, and Health Workshop (Institute of Medicine) January 25, 2013 Karl Simon, Director Transportation and Climate Division, US EPA 1

2 Topics Background RFS Lifecycle Emissions Analysis RFS Air Quality Analysis 2

3 RFS Basics RFS was established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and is implemented by EPA The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 required changes to the RFS program (RFS2) Graduated Volume Increase Mandates incorporation of 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuel into U.S. transportation fuels supply by Lifecycle GHG reduction requirements Separation of the volume requirements into four separate categories of renewable fuel: cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, total renewable fuel A minimum lifecycle GHG reduction threshold is associated with each category and grandfathering of volume from certain facilities EISA provision mandates that GHG lifecycle analysis include direct emissions and significant indirect emissions such as significant emissions from land use changes. Restrictions on the types of feedstocks that can be used to make renewable fuel, and the types of land that can be used to grow and harvest feedstocks 3

4 RFS Fuel Standards Four Separate Standards Biomass-Based Diesel: 1 Bgalby 2012 and beyond Includes biodiesel, renewable diesel if fats and oils not co-processed with petroleum, etc. Must meet a 50% lifecycle GHG threshold EPA may increase the volume above 1 Bgal for Cellulosic Biofuel: 16 Bgalby 2022, but subject to annual assessments Renewable fuel produced from cellulose, hemicellulose or lignin Includes cellulosic ethanol, BTL diesel, green gasoline, etc. Must meet a 60% lifecycle GHG threshold Advanced Biofuel: Total of 21 Bgalby 2022 (Minimum 4 Bgaladditional) Can be essentially anything except corn starch ethanol Includes cellulosic biofuels and biomass-based diesel Must meet a 50% lifecycle GHG threshold Renewable Biofuel: Total of 36 Bgalby 2022 (Minimum of 15 Bgaladditional) Ethanol derived from corn starch or any other qualifying renewable fuel Must meet 20% lifecycle GHG threshold Only applies to fuel produced in new facilities NOTE: Biofuel facilities in existence prior to December 19, 2007 (domestic and foreign) are not required to meet GHG threshold for general renewable fuel category such facilities are Grandfathered. 4

5 Overview of Impacts of the RFS-2 Program Petroleum Consumption, Energy Security and Fuel Costs: We estimate this program will replace about 7 percent of expected annual gasoline and diesel consumption in 2022 Decrease oil imports by $41.5 billion Result in additional energy security benefits of $2.6 billion. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When fully implemented in 2022, renewable fuels are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 138 million metric tons -- equivalent to the annual emissions of 27 million passenger vehicles. Agriculture Sector and Related Impacts: In 2022, the increased use of renewable fuels is expected to expand the market for agricultural products such as corn and soybeans and open new markets for advanced biofuels increasing net farm income by an estimated $13 billion dollars in Emissions and Air Quality: Increased use of renewable fuels will also impact emissions. Some emissions such as NOx, acetaldehyde, and ethanol are expected to increase and others such as benzene and carbon monoxide are expected to decrease. The impacts of these emissions on criteria air pollutants will vary from area to area. EISA directs the agency to further evaluate these potential impacts and to mitigate, to the extent possible, any adverse impacts. 5

6 Lifecycle Modeling Approach For the RFS, EPA developed a lifecycle GHG methodology that is consistent with the EISA statute Methodology includes a suite of models that analyze all of the key pieces of the lifecycle of a particular renewable fuel, including indirect land use emissions Methodology includes: U.S. Agricultural Sector Modeling Includes interactions between cropland, pasture, and forest as well as impacts on GHG emissions from crops and livestock production Measures changes in full agricultural sector emissions due to biofuels expansion International Agricultural Sector Modeling Includes detailed regional breakouts of agriculture & pasture land, including pasture/cropland interactions in Brazil Calculates the impacts on world markets based on changes in use of feedstocks for biofuels Biofuel Processing in Both Domestic & International Agricultural Sector Modeling Co-products are treated through an expansion of system boundaries to include co-product markets and replacement rates in the agricultural sector (e.g., distillers grains from corn ethanol used as animal feed) Includes the latest data on process energy use and projections for future efficiency gains Land Use Change Modeling Long-term satellite data ( ) used to determine what types of land are impacted by international crop expansions Data includes 9 land categories in over 750 distinct regions across 160 countries 6

7 Broad Public Engagement and Review on Lifecycle Work Coordination and Technical Exchange RFS lifecycle analyses were conducted in close coordination with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Department of Energy (DOE) EPA works with stakeholders and experts to determine the most up-to-date data for use in modeling. EPA also conducts regular technical exchange with organizations pursuing similar analyses Public Review 120-day public comment period on the proposed rule in which methodology was proposed. (analyzed thousands of comments, including recommended methodologies, data inputs, and studies) Two-day workshop for stakeholders to detail the methodology of the proposed lifecycle analysis Independent Peer Review Agency initiated an independent peer review of components of the lifecycle analysis in order to respond to stakeholder concerns and to ensure that the Agency makes decisions based on the best science available The review covered four areas of the lifecycle analysis that charted new ground: 1. Land use modeling (use of satellite data/land conversion GHG factors) 2. Methods to account for the variable timing of GHG emissions 3. GHG emissions from foreign crop production (modeling and data used) 4. How the models EPA relied upon are used together to provide overall lifecycle estimates 7

8 Qualifying Biofuel Pathways Ethanol produced from corn starch at a new natural gas, biomass, or biogas fired facility using advanced efficient technologies meets 20% threshold (coal fired not eligible). Butanol from corn starch meets 20% threshold. Biodiesel (soy, canola, wastes, algae) meets 50% threshold. Sugarcane ethanol (multiple pathways) meets 50% threshold. Cellulosic ethanol and diesel fuel (thermal and biochemical from stover, switchgrass, miscanthus, eligible forest thinnings, cellulosic component of wastes) meets 60% threshold. Various renewable fuels produced from the non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste meets the 50% threshold Biogas from landfills, sewage waste treatment plants, manure digesters meets the 50% threshold Recently added ethanol from sorghum (20% threshold, though with advanced technologies can meet 50%) 8

9 Ongoing Lifecycle Analysis The RFS program provides a petition process through which parties can request that EPA analyze new fuel pathways and provide a compliance determination. Currently analyzing multiple new biofuel pathways: Biodiesel from camelina, palm oil Cellulosic ethanol from trees Biobutanol(a fuel distinct from ethanol or biodiesel) Various other facility-specific pathways that utilize more efficient production technologies or processes 9

10 EPA Air Quality Analysis of EISA Impacts for the March 2010 RFS Final Rule Modeled air quality impacts of EISA (36 billion gallons of renewable fuels) in 2022 relative to RFS1 requirements (7.5 billion gallons of ethanol) 34 of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels was assumed to be ethanol Assumed EISA mandate would be met with mix of E10 and E85 20 of the 34 billion gallons of ethanol was assumed to be E85 Analysis published in Cook et al., 2011, Atmospheric Environment, 45:

11 Methods Accounted for EISA impacts on emissions from vehicles and engines, production of feedstock, and fuel production and distribution Modeled 48 contiguous states using CMAQ 4.7 photochemical model. Analysis included operational model performance evaluation for Results indicated modeling platform provides scientifically credible approach for assessing future emission changes. 11

12 Emissions and Air Quality Impacts Increased emissions of some air contaminants, but decreased emissions of others. Contaminants expected to increase include hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), acetaldehyde, and ethanol. Decreases in carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, and 1,3- butadiene. Air quality impacts are expected to vary widely across regions, but on net, modeling predicts increases in populationweighted annual average ambient PM and ozone concentrations could lead to up to 245 cases of adult premature mortality. 12

13 Increases in populationweighted annual average ozone concentrations. Many areas of the country will experience increases in ozone and a few areas will see decreases in ozone. Ozone impacts are highly variable from region to region. Ozone Impacts 13

14 Air Toxics Some localized impacts Air Toxics Impacts Little impact on national average ambient concentrations for toxics, except for EtOH Substantial increases in concentrations of ethanol in the ambient air Small change in ambient acetaldehyde Significant increases in concentrations offset by reductions in secondary formation due to lower precursor emissions 14

15 Additional Work Underway Emissions modeling reflecting effects of fuel properties Extensive vehicle emission test program supported by EPA, DOE and Coordinating Research Council Large dataset of high quality fuel effects data for statistical modeling of gaseous and PM emissions Results being analyzed and incorporated into EPA s motor vehicle emissions model Anti-backsliding study Clean Air Act requirement to determine whether the renewable fuel volumes required by EISA will adversely impact air quality Will use the new emissions data in photochemical air quality modeling 15

16 Questions? For more information, please visit the RFS website at: 16

17 Appendix 17

18 U.S. Policy Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector 2007, Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) enacted with the stated goals: To move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, [ ] and for other purposes. EISA laid the foundation for achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of renewable fuels and for reducing imported petroleum. EPA addressing GHG emissions through both fuels and vehicles programs 2010 US GHG Emissions Transportation, 27% Electricity, 35% Commercial and Residential, 11% Industry, 20% Agriculture, 7% Source: 2011 US GHG Inventory Report 18

19 RFS2 Renewable Transportation Fuel Volumes Advanced Biofuel: Unspecified Advanced Biofuel: Biomass-Based Diesel Advanced Biofuel: Cellulosic Biofuel Conventional Biofuel 30 Billion Gallons Year