California considers jet fuel carbon

  • : Biofuels, Emissions
  • 22/10/11

California's bid to boost greener jet fuel demand could line up a dogfight with airlines and federal regulators.

The state's rekindled interest in lifting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) demand with its Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) has scrambled airline opposition. A trade association warned that assigning penalties to petroleum jet fuel would run afoul of federal regulators. But state leaders have directed the California Air Resources Board to consider it.

"It is clear that achieving carbon neutrality means looking at reductions across all sectors," the agency told Argus. "We would be remiss not to consider aviation, especially intrastate aviation fuels."

LCFS programs require steady reductions in transportation fuel carbon intensity. California targeted a 20pc carbon intensity reduction by 2030 expected to begin setting tougher future standards early next year.

Higher-carbon, conventional fuels that exceed the annual carbon intensity limit incur deficits that suppliers must offset with credits generated from the distribution of low-carbon alternatives.

CARB allowed SAF to generate LCFS credits starting in 2019. Regulators at the time considered but decided against imposing deficits on petroleum jet fuel use. Staff in 2018 cited federal preemption in explanations of the decision to allow only SAF credits.

Federal law grants the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) top regulatory authority over US jet fuel. But while state regulators such as California's may develop detailed standards for gasoline components in their markets, FAA requires jet fuel to meet specifications tested and qualified by engine manufacturers. The agency also limits SAF to 50pc synthetic blends.

Sustainability does not figure into those regulations. SAF is often misunderstood to describe a unique finished fuel, said Gurhan Andac, engineering technical leader for aviation fuels and additives at General Electric Aviation and chair of an ASTM task force studying fully synthetic jet fuel.

Sustainable SAF instead refers to the non-petroleum feedstocks and processes that produce jet fuel qualified for use in aircraft engines. The end result must look the same as petroleum jet fuel.

"The standards are about flight safety — is this jet fuel that we can accept into an engine on an airframe and have a safe flight?" Andac said. "The sustainability part — carbon index or in whatever form it might come — it's a separate platform."

Federal authority allows SAF to earn LCFS credits but preempts any state regulations shifting the composition of jet fuel, industry group Airlines for America warned early this year. The comments followed a December 2021 CARB workshop seeking feedback on adding targets for petroleum jet fuel. The association declined to comment beyond its filed remarks.

The US transportation, environment and energy agencies last month issued a roadmap to increase SAF production to roughly 196,000 b/d by 2030 and 2.3mn b/d by 2050. California reported 1mn bl of SAF use in the first quarter — 270 b/d.

Federal policies offer production tax credits to make the emerging output more competitive with petroleum fuel, similar to support for renewable diesel. The agencies' roadmap even briefly contemplates a future, federal LCFS to further encourage jet fuel use. But federal policies stop short of a mandate for airlines to use synthetic blends.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D) last month vetoed legislation directing CARB to contemplate new strategies to increase California's SAF use.

"While my administration appreciates the intent of this bill," Newsom wrote in a message explaining his veto, "there are existing opportunities for credit generation from sustainable aviation fuel production under the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard."

Sky-high credit supply

California's LCFS credit prices have fallen under a record glut of credits. Rising supplies of renewable diesel, renewable natural gas and other fuels have headed west to capture the combination of state and federal incentives. Sluggish demand for CARBOB, which generated nearly 80pc of all new LCFS deficits last year, has meant credit retirements have not kept pace. Total unused LCFS credits surpassed 10.3mn in the first quarter of this year — more than double the new deficits generated during the quarter. The credits do not expire. Without offsetting jet fuel deficits, California could face another new, heavily incentivized fuel adding more weight to LCFS credit generation.

CARB staff have repeatedly stated that an upcoming rulemaking will seek tougher targets. Staff floated a 30pc reduction by 2030 in a July workshop. The agency has also entertained changes to both credit and deficit sources.

"We are exploring our ability to regulate instate fuels for all sectors," the agency said.


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24/06/20

Canadian greenwashing bill passes

Canadian greenwashing bill passes

Calgary, 20 June (Argus) — A proponent of a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Canada removed most information from its website this week after a federal bill targeting "greenwashing" successfully made its way through Parliament. The Pathways Alliance, a group of six oil sands producers, removed material from its website in response to Bill C-59 after it passed its third and final reading in Canada's senate on 19 June, citing "uncertainty on how the new law will be interpreted and applied." Parts of the soon-to-be law will "create significant uncertainty for Canadian companies," according to a statement by Pathways which is the proponent of a massive C$16.5bn ($12bn) CCS project in Alberta's oil sands region. The Pathways companies proposed using the project and a host of other technologies to cut CO2 emissions by 10mn-22mn t/yr by 2030. Project details and projections are now gone from the Pathways website, social media and other public communications as the pending law will require companies to show proof when making representations about protecting, restoring or mitigating environmental, social and ecological causes or effects of climate change. Any claim "that is not based on adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology" could result in penalties under the pending law. Offenders may face a maximum penalty of C$10mn for the first offense while subsequent offenses would be as much as C$15mn, or "triple the value of the benefit derived from the anti-competitive practice." Invite to 'resource-draining complaints' The bill does not single out oil and gas companies, but the industry includes the country's largest emitters and has long been in the cross-hairs of the liberal government. Alberta's premier Danielle Smith says the pending bill will have the unintended effect by stifling "many billions in investments in emissions technologies — the very technologies the world needs." Construction of the Pathways project is expected to begin as early as the fourth quarter 2025 with operations starting in 2029 or 2030. The main CO2 transportation pipeline will be 24-36-inches in diameter and stretch about 400km (249 miles). It will initially tap into 13 oil sands facilities from north of Fort McMurray to the Cold Lake region, where the CO2 will be stored underground. Pathways includes Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips Canada and MEG Energy, which account for about 95pc of the province's roughly 3.3mn b/d of oil sands production. Some producers took down content as did industry lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which highlighted the "significant" risk the legislation creates. "Buried deep into an omnibus bill and added at a late stage of committee review, these amendments have been put forward without consultation, clarity on guidelines, or the standards that must be met to achieve compliance," said CAPP president Lisa Baiton on Thursday. This "opens the floodgates for frivolous, resource-draining complaints." By Brett Holmes Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil's Raizen ships 2G ethanol cargo to EU


24/06/20
24/06/20

Brazil's Raizen ships 2G ethanol cargo to EU

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Japan’s MGC produces bio-methanol from sewage gas


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Petrobras estuda novos insumos para biocombustíveis


24/06/19
24/06/19

Petrobras estuda novos insumos para biocombustíveis

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Acelen aposta na macaúba para gerar biocombustível


24/06/19
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