The Myth & Reality of Biodiesel Feedstock Availability

Greater demand for agricultural commodities from all sectors will expand current—and push development of new—supplies of fats, oils and greases for biodiesel growth

Since its commercial inception in the 1990s, the biodiesel industry has faced obstacles from all sides. The technical merits of the fuel have been challenged time and time again. Manufacturing costs and fuel pricing have been used to discredit biodiesel. Free marketeers have tarnished its reputation because government mandates and subsidies attempt to level the playing field with the petroleum industry, which still today after more than a century of domination, receives billions of dollars of government handouts a year. And the oil lobbies have waged smear campaigns on all fronts. Even the federal government—and certainly the current administration that has used biodiesel for its own political gains—has seemingly caved to the pressures of Big Oil and Big Food. This became evident last fall when the U.S. EPA suggested stalling the biomass-based diesel quota and shrinking the advanced biofuel mandate in its 2014-’15 renewable volume obligation (RVO) proposal for the renewable fuel standard (RFS). But perhaps the most referenced hindrance to biodiesel growth is global availability of fats, oils and greases (FOG).

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