• Ron Kotrba

The US produced more than 1.8 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2020

Updated: Mar 1


The U.S. biodiesel industry produced more than 1.8 billion gallons in 2020, according to Energy Information Administration data. This figure excludes renewable diesel production. Production in 2020 was up from 1.725 billion gallons in 2019, but down from nearly 1.86 billion gallons made in 2018.


Feedstocks consumed by the domestic biodiesel industry in 2020 totaled 13.63 billion pounds. Of this, nearly 8.4 billion pounds was soybean oil, representing 61.5 percent of the annual feedstock share. Soybean oil use for biodiesel production in 2020 was more than a billion pounds higher than in 2019. And even though biodiesel producers made 40 million gallons more in 2018 than they did in 2020, they used 841 million fewer pounds of soybean oil then than they did last year. These numbers speak to the affect the pandemic has had on the biodiesel feedstock mix and how adaptive the soybean complex and biodiesel producers have been during the crisis.


More than 1.5 billion pounds of distillers corn oil was used in domestic biodiesel production last year, representing the second-highest share of feedstock in 2020 at more than 11 percent, despite the downturn in ethanol output last spring as the gasoline market tumbled from stay-at-home orders.


Nearly 1.25 billion pounds of canola oil was turned into U.S. biodiesel last year, ranking it as the third-most utilized biodiesel feedstock in 2020 at more than 9 percent.


Yellow grease use in 2020 was way down from previous years, as a result of the pandemic, restaurant closures and lockdowns, coming in at slightly more than 1.05 billion pounds, or less than 8 percent of the total feedstock share for the year. In 2019, nearly 1.45 billion pounds of yellow grease was consumed. In 2018, nearly 1.67 billion pounds was used in U.S. biodiesel manufacturing.


Choice white grease ranked the fifth most popular feedstock for U.S. biodiesel production in 2020 at 612 million pounds, or roughly 4.5 percent of the total feedstock pool.


Tallow consumption came in at 368 million pounds, or 2.7 percent. “Other recycled feedstocks,” as described by EIA, totaled 240 million pounds in 2020, hitting 1.76 percent of all feedstock used. Poultry fat use topped out at 173 million pounds last year, or nearly 1.27 percent. “Other fats” consumption in U.S. biodiesel was 37 million pounds, or slightly more than 0.27 percent. Lastly, 1 million pounds of cottonseed oil was used in biodiesel production in 2020.

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