EPA finds palm oil biodiesel doesn't meet minimum GHG reductions

By Erin Voegele | January 30, 2012

Life-cycle analysis conducted by the U.S. EPA has determined biodiesel and renewable diesel produced using palm oil feedstock does not meet the minimum 20 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction required by the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS2). According to information published by the agency, palm oil biodiesel was found to have a GHG reduction rating of 17 percent, while palm oil renewable diesel had only an 11 percent GHG reduction.

On Jan. 27, the EPA published its analysis in the federal register and notified interested parties of a public comment period. Member of the public can weigh in on the analysis by submitting comments on or before Feb. 27.

According to information released by the EPA, it used the same approach to estimate land-use change effects for palm oil as it did for other biofuel pathways. The agency noted that the palm oil analysis did consider new data from Indonesia and Malaysia, where nearly 90 percent of the world’s supply of palm oil is produced.

There are several factors that the EPA cites as contributing to the life-cycle emissions of biofuels derived from palm oils. One example is that palm oil production produces a wastewater that eventually decomposes and creates methane. A second key factor cited by the agency is the expected expansion of palm plantations onto land with carbon-rich peat soil, which would release significant quantities of GHG emissions into the atmosphere. 



3 Responses

  1. Luis E. Zapata



    Are EPA conclusions based only on Malaysia and Indonesia conditions? Or the conditions of Central and South American palm oil biodiesel would be different as regards to emissions?

  2. Joelle Brink



    Does this ruling include Mission New Energy's "g-Palm"greenhouse gas reducing process for maximizing greenhouse gas savings all along the biodiesel supply chain?

  3. The Palm Oil Truth Foundation



    The fact that palm oil is grown on only 0.23% of the world's agricultural land and yet produce 30% of global edible oil output should clue in any objective observer as to the real reasons for the strange assaults on probably the most benign edible oilseed crop, environmentally speaking! For the EPA to postulate on the "expected expansion of palm plantations onto land with carbon-rich peat soil, which would release significant quantities of GHG emissions into the atmosphere" is the unkindest cut of all. Malaysia had been erstwhile, the world's largest producer of palm oil for more than a century and yet the country can still boast forest cover of 59.5%. Areas planted on peat soil remains insignificant.


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