Private American businesses are investing to reduce the carbon-intensity of the nation’s transportation fuels pool. The investment has been primarily driven by California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the investment dollars have primarily been committed by American crude oil re¸ners, and the growth fuel has been renewable diesel (RD), or diesel produced from fats and oils.
In short: RD project returns on investment (ROI) have far exceeded refiners’ typical hurdle rates; RD is fully fungible in existing diesel distribution networks; it presents advantages to biodiesel for the end user; and the process is similar to existing refining operations. Those factors, coupled with perhaps the most important—that feedstock availability is limited—have led to a race to market, with announced investments well above $1B for 2020–2021. [...]