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Biofuels explained Biomass-based diesel fuels

Renewable diesel is a biomass-based diesel fuel

Renewable diesel fuel, sometimes called green diesel, is a biofuel that is chemically the same as petroleum diesel fuel. Renewable diesel meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification ASTM D975 for petroleum diesel and may be used in existing petroleum pipelines, storage tanks, and diesel engines. It can be produced from cellulosic biomass materials such as crop residues, wood and sawdust, and switchgrass, and it qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program.

Renewable diesel is produced through various thermochemical processes such as hydrotreating, gasification, and pyrolysis. Learn more about renewable diesel production.

Because renewable diesel is chemically the same as petroleum diesel, it may be used in its pure form (called R100) or mixed/blended with petroleum diesel similar to biodiesel blending. A blend of 20% renewable diesel and 80% petroleum diesel is called R20, and a blend of 5% renewable diesel and 95% of petroleum diesel is called R5.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports data for renewable diesel fuel imports. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports RFS RIN (renewable identification number) data, which can be used as a proxy for consumption. The RIN data for 2019 indicates that total U.S. renewable diesel consumption was about 900 million gallons. EIA does not report renewable diesel fuel production data at this time.

California uses nearly all of U.S. produced renewable diesel and imported renewable diesel mainly because of the economic benefits for its use under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Last updated: August 18, 2020