By Donnell Rehagen
Published in Biodiesel Magazine on 5/29/2023
Clean Fuels Alliance America uses the slogan “Better. Cleaner. Now!” because there is urgency in the mission. Removing a pound of carbon from the atmosphere today is worth more than removing a pound of carbon from the atmosphere a year from now—and certainly, 10 or 20 years from now. Carbon emissions in the atmosphere are cumulative, and time is a multiplier for many of the problems created by greenhouse gases, whether global warming or, on a more personal level, health problems such as increased instances of severe asthma.
Corporations and regulators are realizing that they don’t have to wait years for new technology to meet sustainability goals. Instead, they’re turning to clean fuels to make an immediate impact. U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production continue to ramp up, and the upward trajectory of clean fuels will only continue as companies and municipalities increase carbon reduction efforts in their fleets.
We have the solution. Switching to clean fuels is more often than not the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to meet emissions goals, especially in the heavy-duty transportation sectors. U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production grew by 500 million gallons in 2022, and the rapid growth is continuing to accelerate. Production for the first quarter of the year was 33% higher than the first quarter of 2022.
Investments in clean fuels are being made on an unprecedented scale. Renewable diesel is coming online quickly as companies have committed $4.5 billion for increased crush capacity through new or expanded facilities. Renewable diesel went from less than 500 million gallons of production in 2019 to a projected 3.34 billion gallons this year. The U.S. EIA and researchers at the University of Illinois project close to 6 billion gallons of U.S. renewable diesel capacity will come online in the next few years.
Biodiesel production has also increased, and a recent investment has the potential to push many fleets from lower blends of biodiesel to B100. Optimus Technologies raised $17.8 million to fund the further development and deployment of its Vector System, an advanced fuel system technology that enables heavy-duty diesel engines to operate on 100% biodiesel. The Vector System integrates into existing engines in operation or can be built into new engines as they are manufactured, leveraging the foundational diesel engine for the transition to a low-carbon future.
The world is realizing the potential of clean fuels to solve heavy-duty problems. By the time the industry gathers for the 2024 Clean Fuels Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, a whole new set of opportunities will be on the horizon. We have more hard work to do, but our industry will keep hitting new milestones. We’re proud to be your partner as we lower carbon emissions today, tomorrow and years in the future.