Distribution Infrastructure and End Use
The expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) created under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 requires 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended into transportation fuel by 2022. Meeting the RFS2 target introduces new challenges for U.S. infrastructure, as modifications will be needed to transport and deliver renewable fuels that are not compatible with existing petroleum infrastructure. The Biofuels Distribution Infrastructure and End Use technology area focuses on developing a biofuels delivery infrastructure whereby all biofuels can safely, cost effectively, and sustainably reach their market for consumer use as a replacement for petroleum fuels to help meet the EISA target.
Intermediate Ethanol Blends Testing: Using intermediate ethanol blends such as E15 and E20 would allow increasing volumes of ethanol to be integrated into the U.S. fuel supply. In the spring of 2007, the Bioenergy Technologies Office initiated a test program in collaboration with the Vehicle Technologies Office to examine the effects of intermediate ethanol blends on conventional vehicles, dispensing infrastructure, and specialty engines. The Bioenergy Technologies Office also worked closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DOE national labs, as well as the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) on blends testing and research. More information on EPA's E15 waiver decision can be found on EPA's website. For complete results of E15 and E20 testing on vehicle performance, exhaust emissions, and infrastructure compatibility, visit:
- CRC Research Program on Intermediate Ethanol Blends
- 2010 National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Underwriters Laboratory Report on Dispensing Equipment Testing with Mid-Level Ethanol/Gasoline Test Fluid
- 2009 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report on the Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small Non-Road Engines
E85 Infrastructure and Blender Pumps: The Bioenergy Technologies Office provides funding for the installation of E85 retail stations and blender pumps in locations where they are most likely to be used by consumers. For more information about how to find an E85 retail station in your area, please visit the Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) website. The AFDC site also provides information on blender pump dispensers.
The BioEnergy Atlas: The BioEnergy Atlas is an interactive map used to compare existing and potential biomass feedstock locations with potential biorefinery locations and major product demand centers.
Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF): The Bioenergy KDF offers an integrated GIS database of feedstocks, biorefinery locations, and infrastructure options. The KDF can help decision makers in industry and government make cost-effective infrastructure investments, identify optimal routing options, and create innovative infrastructure solutions.
For more information on Bioenergy Technologies Office infrastructure activities, please visit the Office's Peer Review site.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office coordinates with federal agency stakeholders and state, industry, and academic experts to develop a safe, reliable, and cost-effective infrastructure for renewable fuels. In June 2011, the Office participated in an Interagency Biofuels Infrastructure Workshop hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation that convened experts in the field to identify challenges and recommended next steps for facilitating adequate, safe, and efficient transport, distribution, and storage of conventional and next generation advanced renewable fuels in the United States.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office also works with several programs and offices within DOE, including the Vehicle Technologies Office, examining effects of intermediate ethanol blends, and the Clean Cities Program, uniting private and public sector stakeholders through outreach focused on the deployment of alternative fuels and infrastructure.
The following publications provide additional information about biomass and biofuels infrastructure:
- Report to Congress, Dedicated Ethanol Pipeline Feasibility Study, U.S. Department of Energy, 2010
- Fungible and Compatible Biofuels, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, September 2010
- Study of Rural Transportation Issues, U.S. Department of Agriculture, April 2010
- Task Force on Biofuels Infrastructure, National Commission on Energy Policy, 2009
- Ethanol Transportation Backgrounder, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2007
Other Resources/Useful Links
The following resources provide additional information about biomass and biofuels infrastructure: