The U.S. biodiesel industry reached a new production record for the first half of the year, surpassing previous production records set in 2011.
Production came from 116 biodiesel plants with capacity of 2.2 billion gallons per year. Production for the first five months of 2013 was 449 million gallons, an increase of 17 million gallons from the same period in 2012.
YTD totals on track to surpass annual production
Biodiesel is also on pace for its biggest production year ever, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Biodiesel refiners across the country have produced more than 636 million gallons through the end of June, putting the industry on pace to break the previous annual biodiesel production record of just under 1.1 billion gallons and exceed this year's volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows biodiesel soaring past previous records
Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said the growth means better jobs, fewer emissions and a diversified fuel market.
Biodiesel is the first Advanced Biofuel to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production. It remained flat at that level in 2012 after Congress allowed the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive to expire.
However, because Congress restored the biodiesel tax incentive and the EPA finalized a volume increase under the RFS, the industry is poised to eclipse previous records.
Graphic courtesy EIA
"We've been steadily increasing volume and are planning to run at maximum capacity for the rest of the year," said Karl Radune, president of BioDiesel One Ltd., maker of biodiesel from recycled cooking oil. "It's allowed us to build inventories, reach out to new customers, and recapture some of the customers we lost when the tax incentive lapsed last year."
Radune said he also is hoping to boost staffing but remains concerned that Congress might allow the tax incentive to expire again at the end of the year, as it did in 2010 and 2012.
"The uncertainty around the tax incentive makes it very difficult to plan for growth," he said.