US EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Requires ASTM D6866 Testing

  • ASTM D6866 testing is required for biofuels from municipal solid waste where the renewable portion of the fuel cannot be determined based on the relative energy content of the renewable biomass and fossil feedstock.
  • Exporters who want to determine the renewable fuel content of biofuel blends can use ASTM D6866
  • Beta Analytic provides ASTM D6866 testing for transportation fuels. The company is not affiliated with the US EPA or the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.

ASTM D6866 Testing for Partially Renewable Fuel

Gas PumpThe US EPA allows biofuel producers using separated municipal solid waste (MSW) as feedstock to generate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for their products. They are required to determine the biogenic fraction of the renewable transportation fuel via ASTM D6866 where the renewable portion of the fuel cannot be determined based on the relative energy content of the renewable biomass and fossil feedstock. Under the RFS2, the biogenic portion of the fuel (mostly cellulosic materials like yard waste and textiles) qualifies for RINs having a D-code of 3.

Separated MSW is defined in the Renewable Fuel Standard as “material remaining after separation actions have been taken to remove recyclable paper, cardboard, plastics, rubber, textiles, metals, and glass from municipal solid waste, and which is composed of both cellulosic and non-cellulosic materials.”

The calculation of the renewable fraction of the fuel is based on ASTM D6866 test results for every batch of fuel produced by the manufacturer. Alternatively, they can have a composite sample tested. The composite sample is obtained from the different batches they produced over a period not to exceed one calendar month.

Source: Page 14876 of the RFS2

The resulting non-fossil derived fraction of the composite sample will be deemed cellulosic biofuel and applied to all batches of fuel produced in the next month to determine the appropriate number of RINs that must be generated. The producer is required to recalculate this fraction at least monthly. For the first month, the producer can estimate the non-fossil fraction and then make a correction as needed in the second month. The procedure using the ASTM D6866 method applies not only to the waste-derived fuel but also to all partially renewable transportation fuels – those produced by the simultaneous co-processing of renewable biomass (as defined in the RFS2) and non-renewable feedstock.

Source: Page 14706 of the RFS2

Blended Fuel Exporters Can Use ASTM D6866

The amended Renewable Fuel Standard also contains a provision for exporters of blended fuels (renewable fuel mixed with gasoline or diesel) on how to determine the percentage of renewable fuel in the blend.

According to the US EPA:

For renewable fuels that are in the form of a blend with gasoline or diesel at the time of export, the exporter shall determine the volume of exported renewable fuel based on one of the following:

(1) Information from the supplier of the blend of the concentration of renewable fuel in the blend.
(2) Determination of the renewable portion of the blend using Method B or Method C of ASTM D 6866 or an alternative test method as approved by the EPA.
(3) Assuming the maximum concentration of the renewable fuel in the blend as allowed by law and/or regulation.

Source: Page 14880 of the RFS2

Electricity and Biogas from Renewable Biomass

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, electricity and biogas used as transportation fuel is considered renewable and therefore eligible for RINs only if they comply to all three requirements:

(a) the fuel is produced from renewable biomass and qualifies for a D code;
(b) the fuel is not placed in a commercial distribution system along with fuels derived from non-renewable feedstock; and
(c) the fuel producer has entered into a written contract for the sale and use as transportation fuel of a specific quantity of electricity or biogas.

Electricity that is generated by co-firing a combination of renewable biomass and fossil fuel also qualifies for RINs but only the portion attributable to renewable biomass as determined via such analytical methods as ASTM D6866 testing.

Source: Page 14876 of the RFS2

Renewable Fuel Standard Overview

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Renewable Fuel Standard program, commonly known as the RFS program, establishes specific volume standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that must be used in transportation fuel each year. The EPA annually calculates the value of the annual standards and publishes these values in the Federal Register by November 30 of the year preceding the compliance period.

The first national renewable fuel standard was implemented under the first Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS1) established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), which amended the Clean Air Act. The RFS1 was revised to address the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Most notable of the revisions was the increase of the renewable fuel volume requirements. Beginning in 2008, the volume standard was increased from 5.4 billion gallons (Bgal) to 9.0 Bgal. The required volume continues to increase each year under the RFS2, eventually reaching 36 Bgal by 2022. The RFS2 final rule was signed in February 2010.

Renewable Fuel Standards for 2010: The value of the cellulosic biofuel standard for 2010 is 0.004%, biomass-based diesel – 1.10%, advanced biofuel – 0.61%, and renewable fuel – 8.25% .

The regulatory requirements apply to domestic and foreign producers/refiners and importers of renewable fuel – they generate the RINs for fuel intended for use as transportation fuel, heating oil, or jet fuel. Exporters of renewable fuels, whether in its neat form or blended with gasoline or diesel, also acquire RINs to comply with their applicable Renewable Volume Obligations. Refiners, importers, and exporters of renewable transportation fuel retire RINs for compliance purposes. RINs have monetary value and are tradable. Parties can buy RINs to meet their obligations or sell their extra RINs.

The EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Program aims to decrease dependence on foreign crude oil imports while increasing domestic sources of energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and diversifying the country’s energy portfolio.

Source: US EPA Fuels and Fuel Additives

ASTM D6866 Testing for Transportation Fuels by Beta Analytic

Based in Miami, Florida, Beta Analytic aims to help biofuel producers and exporters in complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard by providing accurate and precise ASTM D6866 testing. The ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited company has performed ASTM D6866 testing on renewable transportation fuels like bio-ethanol, bio-diesel, jet fuel, renewable diesel, and biomass-based diesel for many years.