Ethanol Blog

California to Allow B20 Underground Storage

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The state of California changed its regulation to allow underground storage for B20, a 20% blend of biodiesel and petroleum. (DTN/ Progressive Farmer image by Getty Images Plus/iStock)

The state of California changed state regulations to allow for the underground storage of up to B20, or 20% biodiesel, according to a news release from the National Biodiesel Board.

The action removes what the industry says is the last major barrier to expanding the biodiesel market in the state. California was the last state to allow B20 underground storage. The regulatory change will go into effect on Oct. 1.

The vast majority of diesel fuel is stored in underground storage tanks, particularly at retail fueling locations. Although biodiesel biodegrades in water as fast as sugar, regulators had concerns that any degradation of underground storage could allow diesel fuel to compromise the water supply.

The California State Water Resources Control Board amended state regulations on Aug. 6. The regulations now say that diesel containing up to B20, meeting the ASTM standard for B20, "shall be recognized as equivalent to diesel for the purpose of complying with existing approval requirements for double-walled USTs, unless any material or component of the UST system has been determined to not be compatible with B20."

The regulation previously required tank owners to prove every component of the tank was compatible.

NBB Chief Executive Officer Donnell Rehagen said in a news release the regulatory change is important to the industry.

"This is a major victory towards biodiesel's mainstream integration into the California fuel supply," Rehagen said. "We recognize the huge potential for biodiesel to supply California with a better and cleaner fuel and applaud state regulators for working closely with us to clear this final hurdle that will allow for more low-carbon biodiesel to make its way to the consumers and fleets all across the state."

Biodiesel is considered an important component in meeting the state's low-carbon fuel standard. The California Air Resources Board affirms biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases by at least 50%, and often by as much as 81% compared to petroleum, according to NBB.

"This change in regulations represents a huge milestone for consumers in California, who will now have increased access to B20 in a state where protecting the environment is greatly valued," said Tyson Keever, chairman of the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance. "Our company is driven to make a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions, to stimulate local economies, and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and this new regulation will amplify our ability to do all three."

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