What is a Fuel Pathway?

What is an example of an Input/Feedstock? What is a Production Process? What do you mean by Fuel Type?

Three critical components make up a renewable fuel pathway: (1) inputs, such as a feedstock, (2) a production process, and (3) the fuel type. The EPA assigns one or more D codes representing the type of Renewable Identification Number (RIN) once it qualifies the pathway (examples include renewable fuel, advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel).

What is an Input/Feedstock?

Biomass, which includes feedstocks such as soybean oil, used cooking oil, and landfill gas emissions, undergoes a conversion process into renewable fuel. While it is possible to combine multiple feedstocks to convert them into renewable fuel, the EPA assesses each feedstock individually when calculating lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for a fuel pathway, even if each feedstock could be processed independently to produce the same type of fuel.

What it is a Production Process?

A production process is the type of plant and equipment used to convert renewable biomass into renewable fuel. Some common techniques include Hydrotreating, gasification, and transesterification using natural gas or biomass for process energy. EPA’s lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses consist of an evaluation of all of the process energy and inputs used in a production process. EPA may restrict the production process based on what types of process energy it uses.

What is a Fuel Type?

Renewable fuels, including liquid, gaseous options, and electricity from renewable biomass, qualify for the RFS program if intended for transportation, heating oil, or jet fuel. Examples are ethanol, biodiesel, cellulosic diesel, compressed natural gas, and biomass-derived electricity. The EPA conducts comprehensive lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses, assessing process energy and materials use, covering feedstock storage, production, and co-product handling emissions.

The EPA evaluates the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of finished fuels without further chemical alteration for their final purpose. According to the EPA, a fuel qualifies as finished if it blends with another without chemical change. For instance, undenatured ethanol undergoes assessment as a fuel type despite blending with denaturant and gasoline before use in transportation fuel.

Content Source: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/what-fuel-pathway

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