White House highlights plan to approve canola for renewable diesel under RFS

The plan to recognize renewable diesel and jet fuel made from canola oil as “advanced biofuels” under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was highlighted as part of an April 12 biofuel announcement by President Joe Biden.

Biden visited POET Bioprocessing in Menlo, Iowa to announce a plan to allow E15 — gasoline with a 15 per cent ethanol blend —  to be sold through the summer, from June 1 to Sept. 15 in a move aimed at reducing fuel costs and reliance on foreign energy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also considering action to allow year-round E15.

As part of the announcement, the U.S. administration also highlighted the EPA’s plan to approve canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel, jet fuel, and other fuels under the RFS, expanding on the current approval for biodiesel.

The EPA published its proposed rule regarding canola oil in January. The final rule is expected in July 2022.

On Tuesday, the EPA issued a “Canola Oil Pathways Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” for public comment. Based on its lifecycle evaluation, the EPA found that renewable diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, liquified petroleum gas and heating oil produced from canola oil reduces emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum.

“This action demonstrates EPA’s commitment to approving new petitions for renewable fuels that can provide greenhouse gas benefits as well as reduce reliance on petroleum fuels,” said a White House briefing note.

Canola industry associations, including the Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Oilseed Processors Association (COPA) and U.S. Canola Association, as well as processing companies such as Bunge, ADM, Richardson, and Viterra, have been urging the EPA to approve canola as a feedstock for renewable diesel for several years.

“The EPA’s rulemaking would level the playing field between canola and other oilseed crops in the biofuel market,” noted Andrew Moore, president of the U.S. Canola Association. “New canola channels would also help farmers diversify and expand their markets.”

COPA has estimated 6.5 million tonnes of U.S. and Canadian canola could go toward North American biodiesel and renewable diesel production by 2030, compared to 1.8 million tonnes today.

Related: Canola industry pushes for renewable fuel credits