Biogenic Carbon Testing in Regulations, Grants and Certification Schemes

The following regulations, grants and certification programs recommend or require biogenic carbon/renewable carbon content testing for biofuels.

United States

The national Renewable Fuels Standard Program (RFS) was developed to increase the volume of renewable fuel blended into gasoline and other transportation fuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the Renewable Fuels Standard to 7.76% to meet the requirement that all transportation fuels sold contain a minimum of 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008, as set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Every year, the EPA establishes volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel and total renewable fuel.

Under the program, fuel producers generate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) they can use for both credit trading and compliance demonstration.

Companies using municipal solid waste (MSW) as feedstock for RIN-generating renewable fuel production may determine the biogenic fraction of the fuel by ASTM D6866 testing.

Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program (PDF) – Federal Register (March 2010) Vol. 75, No. 58 (Page 14715)


In July 2022, the Canadian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change published its official Quantification Method for Co-processing in Refineries under its Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR). The objective of the CFR is to require by 2030 that primary suppliers, such as producers and importers of gasoline and diesel, reduce the carbon intensity of diesel and gasoline by 15% or below 2016 levels.

Registered refineries can follow this quantification method to have their co-processing CO₂ Emissions Reduction projects recognized and gain credits for the production of low CI fuels under the CFR. This QM is applicable to co-processing done in either a hydrotreater or a fluid catalytic cracker. All co-processing projects must be in Canada.

How Co-Processing Refineries Obtain Credits under the CFR

Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change: What are the Clean Fuel Regulations? (Last modified July 2022)
Clean Fuel Regulations: Quantification Method for Co-processing in Refineries (Version 1.0 – July 2022)

– Ontario

Under the Environmental Protection Act, starting January 1, 2017, the province of Ontario recommends fuel suppliers to use ASTM D6866 testing to determine biogenic carbon content of cellulosic ethanol derived from MSW. According to Ontario Regulation 535/05, the composite sample tested will be comprised of samples collected weekly during a quarterly period.

Similarly, suppliers of diesel and blended diesel in Ontario can use ASTM D6866 testing to determine the bio-based carbon content of diesel derived from MSW.

O. Reg. 535/05: Ethanol in Gasoline (revoked in November 2020, replaced by O. Reg. 663/20)
O. Reg. 226/18: Greener Diesel – Bio-based Content Requirements for Diesel Fuel

The Netherlands

The Dutch Emissions Authority’s Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Regulation takes effect starting October 1, 2021. Under this regulation, Carbon-14 analysis is required to validate the accuracy of HVO and other fuels with biogenic content. Testing must be done by an ISO 17025-accredited laboratory.

Control tolerance set by the Dutch Emissions Authority for HVO producers:

  • For blends of 25% or higher – The control tolerance is 3% of the expected value. If the expected value is 100%, a sample should have at least 97% biogenic content.
  • For blends lower than 25% – The control tolerance is 1% of the expected value.

Source: Nederlandse Emissieautoriteit – HVO-kader

EU Voluntary Certification Schemes

These certification programs demonstrate compliance with the sustainability criteria for biofuels in accordance to EU fuel quality and renewable energy directives.

– International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC)

To be compliant with the ISCC, two requirements must be fulfilled for the simultaneous co-processing of sustainable bio and fossil feedstocks:

  • the bio-based share must meet the sustainability requirements and greenhouse gas emission requirements as indicated in ISCC documents 202 and 205 for ISCC EU certifications; and
  • calculation of the bio-output, wherein the amount of incoming bio-inputs is multiplied with the relevant bio-yield

The ISCC identified three approaches in the calculation of bio-yield, one of which is Carbon-14 measurements based on analytical standards ASTM D6866 or EN 16640.

ISCC 203-01:  Guidance for the Certification of Co-Processing version 1.1 (PDF)

– Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)

Under the RSB Standard for Advanced Fuels, if fuels or intermediates from biogenic sources are blended or co-processed with fossil materials, the operator shall document quantities from biogenic sources separately from quantities from fossil sources through mass balance or radiocarbon analysis using either the EN 16640 or ASTM D6866 standards.

RSB-STD-01-010 Version 2.2 (PDF)

Note: Beta Analytic provides ASTM D6866 testing for transportation fuels. The lab is not affiliated with any of the aforementioned institutions or programs.

Page Last Updated: January 2023