EPA: Comments on pennycress GHG analysis due April 20

By Erin Voegele | March 30, 2015

The U.S. EPA has officially opened a 30-day comment period on its recently released analysis of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to the production and transport of pennycress oil for use in biofuel production, including biodiesel, renewable diesel and jet fuel.

The EPA posted a prepublication version of its analysis in mid-March. The analysis was published in the Federal Register of March 20, officially opening a 30-day comment period.

The notice published in the Federal Register explains EPA’s analysis of the production and transportation components of the lifecycle GHG emission of biofuel made from pennycress oil and describes how EPA may apply this analysis in the future to determine whether biofuels produced from pennycress oil meet the necessary GHG reductions required for qualification as renewable fuel under the renewable fuel standard (RFS). According to the EPA, its analysis indicates biofuels produced using the feedstock could qualify as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel if typical fuel production process technologies are used.

According to EPA, its pennycress GHG analysis relates to a petition received from Arvens Technology Inc. In performing the requested analysis, the agency said it used a similar approach to that used for camelina oil in a rule published in March 2013. “In that rulemaking, EPA determined that several renewable fuel pathways using camelina oil feedstock meet the required 50 percent lifecycle GHG reduction threshold under the RFS for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel because the GHG emissions performance of camelina-based fuels is at least as good as that modeled for fuels made from soybean oil,” the EPA said in the notice. Using a similar approach, the EPA looked at every component of the agricultural sector GHG emissions from pennycress oil production, including land use change, crop inputs, crushing and oil extraction, and feedstock distribution. The agency said it believes each component results in GHG emissions that are less than or equal to the emission from the corresponding component of soybean oil production.

Comments on the analysis are due April 20 and can be submitted online at Regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0091, or by email, mail or hand delivery. Additional information the analysis and how to submit comments is available on the Federal Register website.