Addressing the Climate Crisis

Transportation is the largest source of U.S. carbon emissions and it is the economic sector most reliant on petroleum. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are drop-in replacements for petroleum diesel. They are readily available today to reduce carbon intensity in transportation.

Congress is debating several pieces of legislation that will invest public resources in infrastructure improvements for transportation and water. Several proposals include billions of dollars for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure. At the same time, there is bipartisan legislation that would provide a comparatively modest amount of money ($1 billion) to continue a successful biodiesel infrastructure grant program that has already increased consumer access to better, cleaner fuel by 140 million gallons.

Please contact your Representative and Senators through this form to thank those who have sponsored the legislation (S 227/HR 1542) and encourage additional legislators to co-sponsor.

As our members and industry supporters communicate with Washington policy makers, the media, and the public, NBB provides the resources to the right and works with them to amplify these points:

  • Over the first decade of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Program, biodiesel and renewable diesel have generated more cumulative carbon credits than any other low-carbon fuel option.
  • For each of the last three years, biodiesel and renewable diesel accounted for 45 percent of California’s transportation sector carbon reductions.
  • In 2019, Oregon achieved 46 percent of its transportation carbon reductions by using 76.8 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel.
  • Nationwide biofuel use under the Renewable Fuel Standard cut carbon emissions by as much as 579 million metric tons over the first decade of the program. That success far exceeds the 422 million metric ton estimate from EPA at the start of the program.

Focus on Climate News

Purdue Study Confirms Benefits of US Biodiesel, Addresses Concerns over Deforestation

Jan 21, 2020, 2:37 PM
Biofuel policies not a significant factor in international land decisions


Contact: Samantha Turner
(660) 329-0974 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – The impacts of US biofuel policy on deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia are found to be insignificant, according to the latest research from leading economic modeling experts from Purdue University. The study looked at concerns from renewable fuel opponents claiming that biofuels are to blame for increased agricultural activity in southeast Asia.

“Our analysis shows that less than one percent of the land cleared in Indonesia and Malaysia can be tied to U.S. biofuel production,” said Farzad Taheripour, a research associate professor in Purdue agricultural economics. “The amount is not significant.”

Previous analysis published by USEPA, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Argonne National Laboratory have quantified the benefits of using biodiesel in place of fossil fuel because of its significant reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). With a quantified reduction in carbon dioxide emissions between 50 and 86 percent lower than petroleum, biodiesel and renewable diesel are experiencing increased use under federal and state policies.

This new research also confirms there is no shortage of fats and oils used to make biodiesel. Nor is there a shortage of land in the US for producing farm commodities.

“In the U.S, we have lots of unused land available to farmers who can convert it to corn or soybeans. There has been no need to cut forests here,” Taheripour said. “In addition, crop productivity has increased significantly over time, providing more yield on the same amount of land. Because of those, the expected deforestation or conversion of natural land has not had to largely happen to account for U.S. biofuel production.”

Taheripour and the late Wally Tyner, who also contributed to this study have been modeling environmental impacts of energy policy for over a decade. Together, with various collaborators and researchers, they developed the GTAP-BIO model for CARB to quantify the market-mediated impacts of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the national Renewable Fuel Standard. Those polices hold biofuels accountable for increased agricultural production predicted to occur all around the world.

“It doesn’t matter that this increased agricultural production is for producing food and not for producing biofuels,” said Don Scott, director of sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. “Biofuels are held responsible for the positive economic signals created by these policies. Biodiesel is the leading edge of the bioeconomy, and even renewable industries are held accountable for changes in net carbon emissions. Even with these penalties conservatively applied, biodiesel is still resoundingly better than petroleum from an environmental standpoint.”

The report titled, US Biofuel Production and Policy Implications for Land Use Changes in Malaysia and Indonesia was just published in the journal of Biotechnology for Biofuels. 

The National Biodiesel Foundation holds a biennial workshop inviting experts and academic leaders to prioritize research that quantifies the sustainability impacts of biofuels. Through those forums, the foundation supported a portion of this work by Purdue University. Significant funding for this research also came from the Federal Aviation Administration, because the international airline industry is eager to identify fuels that have total carbon benefits, after including indirect impacts on global forests and land use change.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation's first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel.


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