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Diesel Bio

Detailed information about diesel bio-based blendstocks is presented below.

Diesel Bio-Based Blendstock

Fuel NameRenewable Diesel Blendstock
Fuel PathwayBiofuel Blendstock (Diesel)
ScenarioFuture Model, High Vol
Plant Gate Fuel Price
Fixed Capital Investment
521,000,000 - 750,000,000
Fixed Operating Cost
Mature Industry Feedstock Production Cost
53,100,000 - 54,200,000
Other (non-feedstock) Variable Operating Cost
3,130,000 - 90,700,000
Power Sales Revenue
1,040,000 - 2,080,000
Throughput Capacity
Total Product Yield
44.80 - 60.00
Coproducts Sales Revenue
38,600,000 - 184,000,000
CO2e Emissions (Well to Wheels)
NOX Emissions (Well to Wheels)

Key Assumptions

The data and estimates presented here are based on the following key assumptions:

  • The fuel price (e.g., Lowest Cost, Lowest Emissions) is associated with a single year. Because we do not provide a time-series trajectory, here we show fuel price at a frozen level for all years so we can offer a range of fuel price values. In the levelized cost of driving and emissions charts, this approach clearly distinguishes effects of fuels from those of vehicle technologies, because fuels remain constant while vehicle technologies change over time.
  • A range of sources and pathways is represented here to provide an overview of strategies for producing cost-effective fuels. This is why there is a single fuel price metric but other metrics display ranges of values.
  • The plant gate fuel prices shown here are meant to reflect minimum fuel selling prices (and do not include distribution costs or taxes).
  • The fuel price for renewable diesel is adopted from a recent catalytic fast pyrolysis state-of-technology report (Dutta et al., 2018) and throughput capacity, costs and yield numbers are based on Dutta et al. (Dutta et al., 2018) and biochemical design reports (Davis et al., 2018).
  • The well-to-wheels emissions for renewable diesel are from Cai et al. (Cai et al., 2018), which assumes woody feedstocks. The values correspond to renewable diesel via the ex situ catalytic fast pyrolysis pathway. Note that Cai et al. (Cai et al., 2018) also provide well-to-wheels emissions estimates on CO2e and NOX for the biochemical pathway.
  • The renewable diesel pathways represented in the 2020 Transportation ATB reflect the current research efforts of the Department of Energy; note that renewable diesel is also produced from other pathways, including those that utilize conventional vegetable oil and waste feedstocks (DOE, 2020).
  • The data downloads include additional detail on assumptions and calculations for each metric.


For detailed definitions, see:

CO2e emissions

Coproducts sales revenue

Fixed capital investment

Fixed operating cost

Fuel price

Mature industry feedstock production cost

NOX emissions

Other (non-feedstock) variable operating cost

PM emissions

Power sales revenue

Renewable diesel


SOX emissions

Throughput capacity

Total product yield

Well-to-tank emissions

Well-to-wheels emissions


The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

DOE. “Renewable Hydrocarbon Biofuels.” Alternative Fuels Data Center, 2020.

Davis, Ryan E., Nicholas J. Grundl, Ling Tao, Mary J. Biddy, Eric C. Tan, Gregg T. (ORCID:000000023480212X) Beckham, David Humbird, David N. Thompson, and Mohammad S. Roni. “Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbon Fuels and Coproducts: 2018 Biochemical Design Case Update; Biochemical Deconstruction and Conversion of Biomass to Fuels and Products via Integrated Biorefinery Pathways.” Golden, CO (United States): National Renewable Energy Laboratory, November 19, 2018.

Dutta, Abhijit, Maarit K. Iisa, Calvin Mukarakate, Michael B. Griffin, Eric C. D. Tan, Joshua A. Schaidle, David Humbird, et al. “Ex Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2018 State of Technology and Future Research.” Golden, CO (United States): National Renewable Energy Laboratory, November 2, 2018.

Cai, Hao, Thathiana Benavides, Uisung Lee, Michael Wang, Eric Tan, Ryan Davis, Abhijit Dutta, et al. “Supply Chain Sustainability Analysis of Renewable Hydrocarbon Fuels via Indirect Liquefaction, Ex Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis, Hydrothermal Liquefaction, Combined Algal Processing, and Biochemical Conversion: Update of the 2018 State-of-Technology Cases and Design Cases.” Argonne, IL (United States): Argonne National Laboratory, December 1, 2018.

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