September 2007

Refining Developments

Biodiesel: A feedstock quandary

Life cycle costs will affect feedstock selection for renewable fuels

Saraf, S., Thomas, B., Exponent, Inc.

The current annual US diesel demand is 49 billion gallons. In 2006, biodiesel production was 250 million gallons or 0.5% of the total diesel demand—insignificant in comparison with the domestic petroleum-diesel demand. In the near future, US biodiesel production will rise due to many reasons. The 2005 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) puts additional emphasis on renewable energy sources and mandates doubling renewable fuels usage by 2012. Furthermore, with increasing impetus on engine efficiencies as set by the recent Energy Act, there will be a greater push to promote diesel-run vehicles over gasoline-powered engines. In addition, the US government is offering economic incentives to bio

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