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What are advanced biofuels made of? How are they different from regular biofuels?

Advanced biofuels are defined by federal law as renewable fuels, other than corn starch ethanol, that achieve at least 50% lifecycle GHG emissions reductions compared to a 2005 fossil-based fuel baseline. Corn ethanol by law cannot qualify as an advanced biofuel.

Most of ABFA’s member companies provide fuels for use beyond the passenger vehicle space. End users of advanced biofuels often include mid- or heavy-duty transportation, including trucks, planes, and marine vessels. Even as passenger vehicles electrify, the use of advanced biofuels in the light duty fleet is absolutely critical to achieve future net zero goals.  Hard to electrify sectors, like trucks, planes, and boats will also need to transition to advanced biofuels to achieve net-zero within the transportation sector.

Generally, advanced biofuels are produced by one of three types of feedstocks:

  • Fats, oils, and greases – ranging from agricultural products like soybean oil, or oil produced using specialty grasses and cover crops, to tall oil and used cooking oil
  • Cellulosic material – cellulosic feedstocks include municipal solid waste, wood, and agricultural residues
  • Gaseous waste streams – renewable gases can be sourced from wastewater treatment plants, bio-digesters, landfills, and industrial facilities via carbon capture