2014 Iowa biodiesel production down slightly from 2013 record

By The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association | January 08, 2015

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association announced that Iowa biodiesel production was 227 million gallons in 2014, down slightly from the 2013 record of 230 million gallons. Iowa, the nation’s leading producer of biodiesel, is expected to account for roughly 16 percent of U.S. biodiesel production for 2014.

For the vast majority of 2014, Congress allowed the federal biodiesel blenders tax credit to expire, renewing it only in mid-December, too late to spur meaningful demand. At the same time, the EPA went through the entire year without setting a biodiesel number for the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS). That one-two punch led to a nationwide biodiesel production reduction. Due to Iowa’s state-level biodiesel production tax credit, producers in Iowa were able to essentially maintain production in the face of the federal uncertainty.

“Iowa continues to lead in the production of biodiesel,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Not surprisingly, the lapse of the federal biodiesel credit and uncertainty over EPA’s renewable fuel standard proposal resulted in an industry slowdown. Due to favorable state policies, Iowa was able to weather the storm better than most states. But the same federal uncertainty hangs over 2015. If the federal government would simply provide policy certainty in the form of a strong and growing RFS and a multiyear federal biodiesel tax credit extension, I think you’d see the biodiesel industry take a strong step forward.”

Soybean oil increased its role as the leading biodiesel feedstock in Iowa, accounting for 77 percent of production. Animal fats dropped to 18 percent of biodiesel feedstocks while inedible corn oil, used cooking oil, and canola oil accounted for the remaining 5 percent.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually, including 22 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity and one cellulosic ethanol facility currently under construction.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.

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