The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) announced yesterday that Iowa biodiesel production was up 25% in 2013, setting a new record with production topping 230 million gallons of biodiesel. The previous production record was 184 million gallons in 2012. Iowa, the leading producer of biodiesel, is expected to account for 13.5 percent of U.S. biodiesel production in 2013.
Though a new record was set in 2013, uncertainty hangs over the biodiesel industry in 2014 as Congress allowed the federal biodiesel blenders tax credit to expire and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“Iowa continues to lead in the production of biodiesel,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “However, many plants across the nation, including some in Iowa, are shut down today as the market waits to see what happens with the RFS. That means good paying jobs are at risk. The EPA needs to uphold Congressional intent and maintain a robust RFS for biodiesel of at least 1.7 billion gallons for 2014.”
Soybean oil remained the leading biodiesel feedstock in Iowa, accounting for 68 percent of production. However, the use of lower carbon intensity feedstocks doubled over the previous year. Animal fats accounted for 27 percent of biodiesel feedstocks, while used cooking oil, inedible corn oil and canola oil accounted for the remaining five percent.
“How does it make sense for the EPA to gut the advanced biofuels portion of the RFS when the impact will likely be a reduction in the use of lower carbon intensity feedstocks like animal fats and used cooking oil? That runs counter to the intent of the law,” added Shaw.
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.8 billion gallons annually, with three cellulosic ethanol projects currently under construction.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.