Biofuels Claim Biggest Greenhouse Gas Cut in California

Biofuels for combustion engines are being credited for the bulk of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in California.

Data from the California Air Resources Board suggests biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel are the biggest carbon cutting technologies from the transportation sector, edging out ethanol and exceeding the benefits of electrified cars, trucks and buses by a factor of three-to-one, claims diesel technology lobby group the Diesel Technology Forum. The data also indicates that the availability of low carbon biobased diesel fuel is expanding growing from about 16M gallons in 2011 to nearly 1Bn gallons in 2020.

Biofuels are derived from waste feedstocks, including vegetable oils and animal fats. After processing, the waste stream that would ordinarily find its way into a landfill is converted into low carbon fuels. One of the biggest advantages for fleets, needing to meet ever tightening CO2 emission targets, is that they do not need to invest in new engines, trucks or equipment or invest in an expensive network of fueling or charging infrastructure.  Biobased diesel fuels may be used in the existing fueling infrastructure, and in addition, 100% renewable diesel is also pipeline compatible, says the forum.

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said: “When it comes to tackling the climate challenge, these new findings underscore the large and significant role that low carbon biobased diesel fuels are playing in California today and should also inform current and future climate and transportation policy considerations at the national and regional levels outside of California.  Cumulatively, over the period of 2011-2020, California’s consumption of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels accounted for 43% (over 32M tons) of all greenhouse gas eliminated from the transportation sector, while battery-electric transportation options accounted for only 13% (10 million tons).”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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