The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program in the United States that mandates a minimum amount of renewable fuels to be included in transportation fuel sold across the country. This program aims to increase the use of renewable energy sources and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
The RFS program sets specific yearly targets for the volume of renewable fuel that must be blended into transportation fuel. These targets have been established since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and have been expanded and extended through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for administering the RFS program. They determine the volume requirements for each renewable fuel category based on the volumes specified in the EISA legislation and the availability of fuels in the market. The EPA monitors compliance through the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system, which assigns a unique identifier to each gallon of renewable fuel.
Renewable Fuels Categories
The RFS program defines different categories of renewable fuels that need to be sold each year. These categories include:
1. Conventional Biofuel
Fuels derived from starch feedstocks like corn and grain sorghum. Conventional biofuels produced in plants built after 2007 must demonstrate a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional gasoline and diesel.
2. Advanced Biofuel
Fuels derived from cellulosic or advanced feedstocks, such as sugarcane, sugar beets, vegetable oil, or waste grease. This category also includes renewable diesel made in combination with petroleum. Advanced biofuels must show a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Biomass-Based Diesel: Substitute diesel fuel made from renewable feedstocks like biodiesel. Fuels in this category should demonstrate a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Cellulosic Biofuel: Fuels derived from non-food-based renewable feedstocks like cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin. Cellulosic biofuels must exhibit a minimum 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuels.
To conclude, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program that mandates the use of renewable fuels in transportation fuel sold in the United States. The program sets volume requirements for different categories of renewable fuels each year, encouraging the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the adoption of cleaner energy sources.
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