The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) plans to issue monthly reports that expand upon biofuels data.
EIA’s first edition of Monthly Biofuels Capacity and Feedstocks Update was published Wednesday (March 31) with January data.
“We developed the Monthly Biofuels Capacity and Feedstocks Update because of the significant growth in U.S. production of renewable fuels,” said Acting EIA Administrator Stephen Nalley.
“The new data will help our data users better track production capacities and feedstock consumption for biofuels, which will increase understanding of the effects of biofuels on the energy industry and our economy.”
Biofuels are produced by converting biomass, or organic materials like crop waste, food waste and algae, along with other waste resources, into a liquid fuel. The fuel then may be used as a low-carbon option compared to fossil fuels.
Renewable natural gas (RNG), an advanced biofuel, is on the rise among some supermajors. BP plc recently announced it is planning to develop more RNG projects in the United States. BP is working with Aria Energy to create RNG for transportation using captured methane from waste at three dairy farms in California. Nearly 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be from the agricultural sector.
Royal Dutch Shell plc has also hinted that it wants to increase the amount of low-carbon transport fuels like hydrogen and biofuels. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said during a presentation in early February that the company may increase the amount of those fuels “from 3% to about 10%.”
ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has also previously said that through 2025, the company expects to invest “more than $3 billion in lower emissions initiatives, which include energy efficient process technology, advanced biofuels, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage,” which Woods said is crucial for achieving goals in the Paris Agreement.
Data in the new report indicates that in January, the U.S. produced 2,301 million gallons of operable biodiesel. Otherwise, 791 million gallons of operable biofuels were produced in January, in addition to 17,339 million gallons of fuel alcohol, according to EIA.
The monthly biofuels data and petroleum and biofuel volumetric balances would affect the EIA’s Monthly Biofuels Capacity and Feedstocks Update, which is to replace the Monthly Biodiesel Production Report.
However, the biodiesel report would remain the source for historical monthly data prior to January.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is putting $61.4 million toward research and development (R&D) in technologies that produce biofuels to assist in the Biden administration’s goal toward net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Biofuels are one of our most promising paths to zero-carbon aviation and shipping, so it’s time to double down on R&D and begin to deploy these technologies at scale,” said DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm.
Research by the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has already led to a decline of about 45% in cost reductions in converting biomass to biofuel, according to DOE. Now, BETO plans to commercialize through partnerships on the industrial scale to demonstrate the technologies at large.
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