MnDOT report on decarbonizing transportation addresses biofuels

By Erin Voegele | September 26, 2019

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) released a new report Sept. 18 that aims to get the state on track to meet future goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in accordance with the 2007 Generation Energy Act. The report, titled “Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation in Minnesota,” includes a variety of recommendations to guide state policy, including those focused on biofuels.

“In discussions with the public, many participants wanted to find pathways that included biofuels,” the authors said in the report. “The modeling also showed that action is needed across all vehicle classes and sectors, including increased use of biofuels, in order to achieve the state’s goals. There was additional support for biofuels when the project team discussed opportunities for advanced biofuels and lower carbon biofuel production to create new markets for farmers and particular interest in conversations about how new biofuel markets could help fund farming practices with water quality benefits (e.g., cover crops). “

Regarding biofuels, the report recommends the state strengthen its petroleum replacement goals through additional mandates and incentives to ensure that higher biofuel blends are available. It also recommends that the state provide financial and technical assistance to build out the wholesale and retail infrastructure that would be needed to supply ethanol blends higher than 10 percent and biodiesel blends higher than 20 percent. For biodiesel and renewable diesel, the report suggests Minnesota should expand the use of biodiesel beyond the 20 percent summer mandate period, either with higher blends into cold weather months or with higher blends. In addition, the state should facilitate ways to use renewable diesel. The report also recommends Minnesota create incentives for measures, such as production plant improvements and farm practices, which would reduce the carbon impact of biofuels.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the MnDOT website.