U.S. imports of biomass-based diesel increase 12 pct in 2020: EIA

U.S. imports of biomass-based diesel grew 12 percent in 2020 due to the growing demand to meet government programs, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.

According to EIA’s figure, the imports of biomass-based diesel, which includes both biodiesel and renewable diesel, reached more than 31,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2020. This was the second consecutive year that the U.S. imports of biomass-based diesel increased.

EIA found that nearly 60 percent of the U.S. biomass-based diesel imports in 2020 was renewable diesel, which had come exclusively from Singapore since 2015. EIA said that U.S. imports of renewable diesel increased to a record-high level of more than 18,000 b/d in 2020.

U.S. imports of biodiesel in 2020 increased to more than 12,800 b/d. Imports from Canada accounted for the majority of the U.S. biodiesel imports in 2020 at 7,500 b/d, a 47 percent increase from 2019.

EIA’s analysis showed that the imports increase in 2020 was a result of growing demand to meet government renewable fuel programs. U.S. consumption of biomass-based diesel, unlike demand for other fuels, remained relatively unaffected by responses to COVID-19 in 2020.

Because biomass-based diesel typically costs more to produce than petroleum diesel, its consumption in the United States is primarily driven by policies. At the federal level, biomass-based diesel qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program, which sets targets to incorporate renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply. Biomass-based diesel volumes also qualify for a one U.S. dollar per gallon tax credit through the end of 2022.