IIASA research informed the recently announced Final Renewable Fuels Standards Rule by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding biofuel volume requirements and percentage standards for 2023–2025. The rule establishes biofuel volume requirements and associated percentage standards in view of steady growth of biofuel use in the US's fuel supply and aims to ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the EPA is tasked with establishing biofuel volume targets beyond 2022. To achieve this, the agency has to consider various factors, including costs, air quality, climate change, program implementation, energy security, infrastructure, commodity prices, water quality, and supply. IIASA modeling and analysis expertise provided valuable insights to support the EPA in this complex decision-making process.

IIASA researchers Stefan Frank and Niklas Hinkel contributed to the assessment utilizing the IIASA Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) to provide scenarios assessing the impact of implementing shocks to fuel demand in the United States. The shocks increase US demand for corn ethanol, soybean biodiesel, or both by 1 billion gallons. The results were then compared to a baseline without increased biofuel consumption to calculate the impacts of such shocks regarding emissions, land use, and market impacts, among others. Several other models provided results for the same set of scenarios, which were then compared to assess uncertainty and increase the robustness of the results.

"This ongoing collaboration with the EPA reinforces the institute's commitment to providing policymakers with cutting-edge scientific research and analysis," says Frank, a researcher in the Integrated Biosphere Futures Research Group at IIASA. "We are proud to support the EPA in their efforts to shape biofuel policies that align with sustainability goals and contribute to a greener future."

IIASA has a longstanding partnership with the EPA, having previously utilized GLOBIOM for similar assessments. The institute maintains an ongoing contract with the EPA to assess the implications of US biofuel policies as part of its commitment to international collaboration and employing systems analysis to address issues of global concern.

In addition to the biofuel volume requirements, IIASA is also actively engaged in research with the EPA on a paper that assesses the uncertainty of indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions from US soybean biodiesel.

Further information:
https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/final-renewable-fuels-standards-rule-2023-2024-and-2025
https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2023-06/420r23017.pdf

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