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CARB Re-Adopts Low Carbon Fuel Standard

September 29, 2015 in Biodiesel, Regulations by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

National Biodiesel Board Is Quick to Claim LCFS Leadership

The California Air Resources Board last week formally re-adopted its LCFS, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard requiring a 10% reduction by 2020 in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in the state.

CARB's Mary Nichols

CARB’s Mary Nichols

“The LCFS, a pillar supporting the state’s efforts to fight climate change, delivers more clean fuels for Californians, and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants,” states a release.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was quick to state that its fuel has “the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.”

‘A Key Element of California’s Plans’

The agency action “builds on years of successful implementation and will continue reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector,” CARB chair Mary Nichols said in a release.

“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the state,” Nichols said. “This program is a key element of California’s plans to enact Governor Brown’s Executive Order mandating a 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030.”

Carbon Intensity

The LCFS program requires that transportation fuels used in California meet a baseline target for carbon intensity. That target is reduced each year. If a product is above the annual carbon intensity target, the fuel incurs deficits. If a product is below that target, the fuel generates credits which may be used later for compliance, or sold to other producers who have deficits.

“So far,” CARB says, “fuel producers are over-complying with the regulation.”

NBB's Don Scott

NBB’s Don Scott

CARB determines carbon intensity via a life cycle analysis measuring the amount of carbon generated during the extraction, production, transportation, and combustion of a fuel. The agency notes that the LCFS program does not require use of any specific fuel, “only that regulated parties find a blend of fuels and credits that will meet the declining target each year.”

It Depends on the Source

According to NBB, the new standard affirms that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 81% versus petroleum, giving it the best carbon score among all liquid fuels. (emphasis added: natural gas has a higher carbon intensity than the various biodiesel types, but the scores for renewable natural gas from landfills and feedlots are far lower.)

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” NBB sustainability director Don Scott said in his organization’s release. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources. This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

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Source: CARB and NBB with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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