Strength in Numbers: State Legislation Driving Lower Carbon Fuels Across America

Neville Fernandes, Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Development at Chevron Renewable Energy Group and member of the Clean Fuels Alliance America governing board, recently participated in a panel discussion with other policy leaders in the biofuels industry. The discussion took place during the Clean Fuels Conference. It focused on the role of partnership and collaboration to increase the adoption of lower carbon fuels. Read Fernandes’s responses on policy and education on lower carbon fuels that address the rail and marine industries. 


Neville Fernandes, Vice President- Corporate Affairs & Development


Q: What is Chevron Renewable Energy Group doing to educate industries expanding the use of biofuels (such as rail and marine) on policy?

NF: We need equitable and monetizable policies at the federal and state levels to allow rail, marine, and other industries to lower their carbon footprint. For the marine industry, biodiesel and renewable diesel g used in “ocean going vessels” are ineligible for RIN (renewable identification number) credits in existing legislation. In the rail industry, specifically in the Midwest, many of the incentives are retail based, which adds complexity when biofuel companies sell directly to the railroad. Industries want to reduce carbon intensity and need to be able to do it reliably and affordably.

Q: How has Chevron Renewable Energy Group provided education on the use of higher blends of biofuels? 

NF: We are working very closely with OEMS to provide education about the utilization of higher blends across industries. We want to change the myth that only B5 can be used in diesel engines. Our technical experts believe that “B50 is the new B20-” because the biodiesel available today is much different than it was 30 years ago. There were quality control issues and small batch processing that may have caused some concerns in the past. However, we now have more stringent ASTM standards and better-quality control processes and metrics that we hope will encourage the use of higher blends. We want to take the education from ASTM standards and OEMs to give security and knowledge that higher blends of biofuels can be used.    

Q: What are Clean Fuels Alliance America and Chevron Renewable Energy Group working on next?  

NF: Clean Fuels Alliance is very active on the policy, education, and communications, fronts and we are incredibly grateful for those efforts. We continue to tell the Chevron Renewable Energy Group story and message to policymakers and stakeholders and emphasize that renewable diesel and biodiesel can help lower GHG emissions today. Carbon dioxide has a long “half-life” in the atmosphere and continues to contribute to global warming for many years after it is emitted.  Clean Fuels Alliance America has calculated that if we delay the reduction in emissions of just 1 ton of carbon dioxide for five years, we will have to remove 13 tons of carbon dioxide to have the same global warming mitigation effect. 

Q: In the absence of regulation incentivizing lower carbon fuels, what role do you see voluntary carbon reduction commitments taking? 

NF: Many leading companies have made “climate pledges” and greenhouse gas reduction commitments, and many corporations have taken action to reduce their emissions. To get to the targeted reductions, we need voluntary carbon commitments and supportive policies for biofuels.