Publication Detail

Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018

UCD-ITS-RR-18-01

Research Report

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Suggested Citation:
Witcover, Julie and Robert B. Williams (2018) Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-18-01

This Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018 report follows the discontinued annual Advanced Biofuel Market Report produced by E2. This new report updates information on transportation biofuel production capacity since E2’s final publication in 2015.

Like its predecessors, the criteria for this report are biofuels assessed by the California Air Resources Board with a carbon intensity rating at least 50% below that of petroleum-based reference fuels, and producers in the United States and Canada. Virgin oil biodiesel falls within the study criteria and is included in the report due to a carbon intensity rating revision due to changed modeling; it was out of scope in the earlier modeling and excluded from the E2 reports. The focus is liquid biofuels, including dimethyl ether (DME), a liquid at moderate pressure, and excludes biogas.

The report provides information on market plans for near-term production capacity through 2018. It is neither a prediction nor a forecast of either capacity or actual production levels. Rather, it is one indication of potential North American production of fuel volume that meets the California carbon intensity rating cut-off in the next couple of years, given favorable market conditions and the current policy environment. For commercially emerging technologies and fuels, production capacity ranges are assessed based on company and media reports, and are filtered through a subjective evaluation of the likelihood of announced capacity coming online in the 2018 timeframe. The low end of the production capacity range reflects capacity in which we have higher confidence: existing capacity plus companies that have shown signs of plans to move forward on the ground. The high end of the production capacity range includes capacity from companies that is assessed as less likely: from companies that still face some significant hurdle (e.g., financing) to meet targets or have not pinned down target dates due to unfavorable market conditions. Well-established technologies and fuels like biodiesel are treated separately. In the case of biodiesel, production is determined by policy more than it is constrained by capacity. Therefore, the focus of this report is on describing the policies and other industry trends. The report includes information on private and public financing levels for biofuels, drawing, like the E2 series, on Clean Tech Group’s industry financial data plus government data, through 2015.