California's Biodiesel Industry

In 2016, in-state biodiesel production rose to over almost 39 million gallons. California currently has 9 biodiesel production plants, with several plants under construction or undergoing expansion. The nine plants are operated by: Agron, Biodico, Buster Biofuels, New Leaf Biofuel, Community Fuels, Crimson Renewable Energy, IWP, GeoGreen, and Simple Fuels.

The total gallons of biodiesel reported sold in California under the LCFS program in 2015 was 126,450,435 and is expected to rise above 154,000,000 when final numbers are in.

Federal Issues

Federal Tax Incentive

The federal budget deal was passed with an extension until April 28th and without some three dozen tax breaks, including the biodiesel tax credit. CBA will continue to work with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in 2017 on a vehicle to reform the biodiesel tax incentive as a domestic production credit.

Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Volumes

Final Renewable Fuel Standard volumes are:

The 2017 RVO Program:
  • Conventional Biofuels: 15 billion gallons (ethanol equivalent gallons)
  • Advanced Biofuels: 4.28 billion gallons (ethanol equivalent gallons)
  • Cellulosic Biofuels: 311,000,000 gallons (ethanol equivalent gallons)
  • Total Renewable Fuels: 19.28 billion gallons (ethanol equivalent gallons)

    Included within the Advanced Biofuel Program is the above volume of cellulosic biofuels and a previously announced volume for Biomass-based Diesel of 2.0 billion gallons (which equals approximately 3.1 billion ethanol equivalent gallons of Advanced Biofuels). The volumes for Advanced Biofuels and total Renewable Fuels (including 15 billion ethanol equivalent gallons of Conventional Biofuels) represent increases from EPA’s proposal in June of 2016.

    The 2018 RVO Program:
    The EPA also finalized a 2018 volume for Biomass-based Diesel at 2.1 billion gallons. NBB had advocated for a 2017 Advanced Biofuel Program of at least 4.75 billion gallons (ethanol equivalent gallons); and a 2018 Biomass-based Diesel program of 2.5 billion gallons. The program has grown from 1.0 billion gallons in 2012.

    Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from waste or virgin vegetable oils or animal fats. It is a sustainable, cleaner-burning, diesel fuel replacement that meets strict quality specifications. Biodiesel derived from waste can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more.

    Sign up for CBA Email Alerts

  • Join Us to Access Key Industry Information
    Now Made Available to Members Only

    Opportunities abound, but the word "challenging" is an understatement when it comes to describing the regulatory landscape for biodiesel in California. Those doing or seeking to do business in the state are faced with an array of complex compliance requirements and a dynamic policy environment. Key LCFS rulemaking is underway now.

    CBA has worked to solve regulatory challenges and has brought the information about this policy work to the public as articles and updates in our newsletter and on our website since both were first published in 2011. CBA will now provide access to a broader range of detailed information, including compliance requirements not previously presented here -- and not gathered together anywhere else -- on our new webpage for Members Only.

    Please read the article below and review our Join Us page for rates and other details about becoming a CBA member or a Partner Sponsor if you are a vendor/service provider.

    Low Carbon Fuels Sector
    Instrumental in Historic Extension of California's Climate Policies

    On August 25th, after a few touch-and-go weeks that saw a frenzy of activity in the Capitol around California's carbon reduction policies, SB 32 (Pavley) and the bill it had to be passed with to become law, AB 197 (Garcia), each passed both houses and moved to the desk of an enthusiastic Governor Jerry Brown.

    Under SB 32, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will be required to make sure that by 2030 statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to 40 percent below 1990 levels. AB 197 will increase investments in the state's disadvantaged communities and provide legislative oversight toward increasing the accountability of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), whose authority has become controversial.

    A proposed amendment to add language to make Cap and Trade part of SB 32 did not make it into the final bill.

    However, Governor Brown, in a statement released on August 23rd, said, "Yesterday, big oil bought a full-page ad in the capital city's newspaper of record to halt action on climate. Today, the Assembly Speaker, most Democrats and one brave Republican passed SB 32, rejecting the brazen deception of the oil lobby and their Trump-inspired allies who deny science and fight every reasonable effort to curb global warming. I look forward to signing this bill - and AB 197 - when they land on my desk. With these bills, California's charting a clear path on climate beyond 2020 and we'll continue to work to shore up the cap-and-trade program, reduce super pollutants and direct more investment to disadvantaged communities."

    CBA was gratified to coordinate with members of the California Cap and Trade Biofuels Initiative coalition, E2, CALSTART, and other NGOs and members of the low carbon fuels sector to hammer home the message about the jobs our businesses are creating and the benefits we are bringing to disadvantaged communities, all while reducing emissions. We know that together we played a key role in securing this historic victory for our state's bellwether climate policies.

    But that's not all. Another critical result of our efforts was the safeguarding of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which had been in jeopardy during the negotiations. CBA and low carbon fuels supporters were intent on making sure that the Governor and the Legislature recognized the success of the LCFS and agreed not to sacrificed it to safeguard SB 32.

    Special thanks to our lobbyist, Louie Brown, and to the CBA members who organized site visits by legislators, wrote letters, and sent representatives to Sacramento to meet with legislators and the Governor's office.

    CBA Restructures Membership
    Launches Vendor/Service Provider Partner Sponsor Program

    At CBA's Board of Directors retreat in May, the directors discussed the need to restructure CBA membership to differentiate between direct biodiesel industry participants and those who fall into other categories such as vendor/service providers, non-profits, and educational institutions.

    Based on those discussions, changes have been made to the membership structure that better align with these differentiations. Key changes include the implementation of corporate membership dues that reflect the level of participation in the California market and the establishment of a Vendor/Service Provider Partner Sponsor program that offers a range of sponsorship opportunities for companies who wish to showcase their support for this booming industry while benefitting from the combined buying power of our industry's members.

    The revamped structure, rates, and benefits become effective July 1, 2016 for new members and sponsors and January 1, 2017 for current members. Beginning with the July 2016 issue, the complete CBA newsletter and key website content will be available to members and sponsors only.

    CBA's Board of Directors will continue to be Corporate members with additional voting privileges and the ability to participate in establishing CBA's agenda and positions on various issues impacting the California biodiesel industry. Annual dues for the new category of Direct Industry Corporate Members will be tied to annual volumes of biodiesel or feedstock (in gallons) sold within California. Direct Industry Corporate Members may apply to join the Board of Directors (application available on our Join Us page).

    CBA is excited to reach out to a broad community of industry participants about our new Vendor/Service Provider Partner Sponsor program. Beginning July 1, 2016, this program will offer three levels of sponsorship to biodiesel industry service providers and vendors, including parts and equipment manufacturers and distributors, trucking companies, chemicals and additives suppliers, and accounting, legal, RFS auditing, and other service providers.

    New Vendor/Service Provider Partner Sponsors will have the option to either pay a prorated rate for promotional benefits beginning September 1st through December of 2016 or sign up for 2017 sponsorship and receive complimentary promotional benefits for September through December 2016. This new program replaces the option of CBA membership for this category of industry participants.

    Revisions have been made for Non-Profit Organizations, Educational Institutions, and Individuals levels as well. See our Join Us page for details.

    Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation (ADF) Affects All Who Handle Biodiesel in CA

    The ADF regulation, which became effective January 1, 2016, affects all those who handle biodiesel in the state. It includes reporting and recordkeeping requirements applicable to entities in the biodiesel industry. Biodiesel producers, importers and blenders are required to submit quarterly reports, the first of which were due June 30, 2016. Biodiesel producers, importers and blenders are required to report and keep records concerning biodiesel production, sales, and blending. Biodiesel distributors and retailers are only required to keep records.

    Find the new FAQ and Reporting Forms at:

    The presentation for the May 23rd meeting, which has helpful diagrams, is here:

    CBA members have access to an ADF Summary document, which provides an overview of the regulation with background and Q and As.

    New LCFS CI Scores Released by ARB

    Meeting its expected deadline of June 30th, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the new carbon intensity (CI) scores for biodiesel and renewable diesel pathways to the companies that had applied for certification of new or recertification of legacy pathways, as required by the readoption of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The CI scores of the newly certified pathways are eligible for credit reporting purposes beginning the first day of the quarter released. All approved pathways to-date are available here:

    Noting that 48 new biodiesel and renewable diesel CI scores were made official by ARB, Don Scott, Director of Sustainability at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), said, "The average CI for these new pathways is 31.58 g/MJ or a 69% reduction in emissions compared to current California diesel fuel. These new CIs encompass many changes, including more detailed data from individual producers and specifics for transportation of finished fuels and feedstocks. Overall, biodiesel benefits from reduced penalties for indirect land use change (ILUC) of 33 and 30 g/MJ for soy and canola, respectively.

    Industry Comments on Proposed LCFS Verification and Monitoring Plan
    Call for Exact Mirroring of EPA's RFS QAP

    CBA and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) have submitted two joint comment letters arguing for a "QAP+LCFS" compliance approach would dramatically reduce costs for the industry and California fuel consumers.

    CBA members receive updates on the progress of this rulemaking in the monthly newsletter and on the Members Only webpage. Public comment letters are posted here:

    ARB's LCFS meetings page has details and updated presentations: