EIA: US biofuel capacity up in September, feedstock use down

By Erin Voegele | November 30, 2021

Operable biofuels production capacity in the U.S. expanded by 32 MMgy in September to 20.766 billion gallons per year, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Nov. 30. Feedstock consumption was down for the month.

The increase in operable biofuels capacity came from expanded biodiesel production capacity. Capacity levels for fuel ethanol and other biofuels, defined as renewable heat oil, renewable jet fuel, renewable naphtha, renewable gasoline and other biofuels and biointermediates, remained steady.

Fuel ethanol capacity was at 17.393 billion gallons per year in September, a figure that has held steady since April. Biodiesel capacity expanded to 2.462 billion gallons per year, up from 2.43 billion gallons reported the previous month. Capacity for other biofuels was at 911 MMgy, flat with the previous three months.

A total of 24.308 billion pounds of feedstock went to biofuels production in September, down from an estimated 24.948 billion pounds in August.

Biofuel producers consumed approximately 22.799 billion pounds of corn in September, down from 23.196 billion pounds the previous month. Grain sorghum consumption was also down, falling to 27 million pounds, compared to 30 million pounds consumed in August.

The EIA reported that 756 million pounds of soybean oil was used to produce biofuels in September, down from 815 million pounds in August. Corn oil and canola oil consumption also fell. Biofuel producers consumed 167 million pounds of corn oil and 106 million pounds of canola oil in September, down from 199 million pounds and 142 million pounds, respectively, in August.

The consumption of waste oils, fats and greases was also down in September. Biofuel producers consumed 18 million pounds of poultry fat during the month, flat with August. Tallow consumption fell to 90 million pounds, down from 120 million pounds. The consumption of white grease was at 54 million pounds, down slightly from 55 million pounds in August. Biofuel producers consumed only 219 million pounds of yellow grease in September, down from 305 million pounds the previous month. Waste oils, fats and greases classified as “other” fell to 5 million pounds, down from 8 million pounds.

Biofuel producers also consumed 63 million pounds of feedstock classified as other recycled feeds and wastes, up from 60 million pounds in August. The consumption of other biofuel feedstocks not elsewhere specified or identified (NESOI) in the EIA’s report was at 4 million tons in September. Data on NESOI feedstock was not reported for August to avoid disclosure of individual company data.

Full copies of the EIA’s monthly biofuels capacity and feedstock reports is available on the agency’s website