U.S. Renewable Diesel Production Capacity Surpasses Biodiesel Capacity in 2023

In January 2023, U.S. production capacity of renewable diesel and other biofuels reached 3 billion gallons per year, surpassing U.S. biodiesel production capacity for the first time.

Rising targets for state and federal renewable fuel programs and the renewal of biomass-based diesel tax credits are driving this growth in U.S. renewable diesel capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

EIA began collecting data about U.S. capacity of renewable diesel and other biofuels in 2021.

Since 2021, renewable diesel and other biofuels production capacity has more than tripled in the United States.

Over the same period, biodiesel capacity has declined 13 percent.

Renewable diesel is a fuel that is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel and nearly identical in its performance characteristics. The same is not true of biodiesel, which is chemically different from petroleum diesel.

Nationwide, overall biofuels production capacity—which includes renewable diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, and other biofuels—reached 23 billion gallons per year (gal/y) in January 2023, a 6 percent increase in total production capacity from January 2022.

Fuel ethanol accounted for 78 percent of U.S. biofuel production capacity, renewable diesel and other biofuels accounted for 13 percent, and biodiesel accounted for 9 percent.

Between January 2022 and January 2023, the U.S. production capacity for producing renewable diesel and other biofuels increased by 1.25 billion gallons per year, a 71 percent increase from 2022.

In January 2023, 11 states reported sites with renewable diesel and other biofuels production capacity, up from 6 states in 2022.

An example of a state with new and growing capacity is Texas, which had no renewable diesel and other biofuels capacity in January 2022. By January 2023, Texas had 537 million gal/y of capacity, the second highest after Louisiana.

Unlike ethanol and biodiesel, where states in the Midwest hold most of the national capacity, more than 60 percent of U.S. renewable diesel and other biofuels production capacity is on the Gulf Coast.

Biodiesel now accounts for the smallest share of U.S. biofuels capacity, 2.1 billion gal/y in January 2023, among the three categories tracked by EIA.

Biodiesel capacity declined by 169 million gal/y from January 2022 to January 2023.

The Midwest has 70 percent of U.S biodiesel capacity, which is primarily in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

Fuel ethanol producers in the Midwest continue to hold the most capacity in the U.S. biofuels market.

Fuel ethanol capacity increased by 283 million gal/y between 2022 and 2023.

More than 90 percent of U.S. ethanol capacity is in the Midwest, where the feedstocks for ethanol (primarily corn) are grown, mainly in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota.

On Aug. 7, EIA updated three of its biofuels reports: the 2023 Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity Report, 2023 Biodiesel Plant Production Capacity Report, and 2023 Renewable Diesel Fuel and Other Biofuels Plant Production Capacity Report.

These reports contain EIA’s most up-to-date estimates of plant production capacity for the U.S. biofuels industry.

The reports include biofuels production capacity for operating plants as of Jan. 1, 2023, with the names of the reporting plants organized by state and region.

Originally shared by Biobased Diesel, September 5, 2023.

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