It’s all over the news this week – the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that palm oil biodiesel doesn’t meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction level required to be used as an alternative to petrol-based diesel fuel.
To produce their results the EPA takes into consideration the emission and energy inputs for fuel production, alongside the change in land use needed to use palm oil as a feedstock. Their results found that palm oil produces a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, however the law requires that a biodiesel produces a reduction of 20% when compared to traditional diesel fuel.
These results from the EPA however lean largely on assumptions about how the biodiesel fuels are actually being produced. Obviously every plantation operates slightly differently, therefore a sustainable palm oil production plant will have a significantly lower level of emissions than that of a standard plantation.
The EPA will continue to look for new forms of biodiesel with lower greenhouse gas emissions. However we’re starting to see a real increase in the amount of sustainable palm oil production plants recently – which provides a good chance that the emissions footprint of palm oil could become even lower in the future. Be sure to continue support for sustainably sourced palm oil in the products you purchase.