Energy in Oregon

Transportation accounts for about one-third of Oregon’s energy use. Alternative fuels like ethanol or biodiesel can increase energy security, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and cut negative health effects of fossil fuels.

Biodiesel StationEthanol

Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials, primarily corn. Oregon’s renewable fuel standard requires nearly all gasoline sold to be a 10 percent ethanol blend.

A higher blend of ethanol – known as E85 – is also available in Oregon. This fuel must be used in flexible fuel vehicles, which can run any combination of gasoline and ethanol blends. E85 is available at five public retail locations in Oregon. Additionally, five fleets use E85, including the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Forestry, the Eugene Water and Electric Board, and the Veterans Affairs Portland Campus.

Several steps are involved in making ethanol available as a vehicle fuel:

  1. Feedstocks are grown, collected, and transported to an ethanol production facility.
  2. Ethanol is made from these feedstocks at a production facility along with byproducts such as animal feed and corn oil. The fuel is then transported to a blender/fuel supplier.
  3. Ethanol is mixed with gasoline by the blender/fuel supplier and distributed to fueling stations.

We expect non-edible plant material, rather than corn, will become the dominant source of ethanol in the future. This “cellulosic” material cannot be used as food, so it wouldn’t reduce edible resources.

 

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is produced from a diverse mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils, and animal fats. The state renewable fuel standard requires five percent of diesel consumed in state must be biodiesel.

Oregon-based biodiesel company SeQuential produces most of its fuel from used cooking oil collected from restaurants and food processors around the region. SeQuential sells its fuel at more than 60 locations in the state. 

Several fleets such as the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Eugene Water and Electric Board, Organically Grown, and the City of Portland use high blends of biodiesel in their fleets.

 

Renewable Diesel

Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel is made from fats or vegetable oils – alone or blended with petroleum – refined by a process called hydrotreating. This fuel is cleaner and has a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based diesel, and it can also operate at colder temperatures than standard diesel or biodiesel.

Several fleets in Oregon use renewable diesel, though most of the renewable diesel is imported and only available in limited quantities.

 

Renewable Natural Gas/Biogas

Renewable natural gas consists of biogas (methane) from landfill recovery, wastewater treatment plants, anaerobic digesters at dairies, food processing plants, or waste processing facilities that has been cleaned to meet natural gas pipeline standards. Oregon currently has several of these facilities producing methane and converting it to electricity.

Many facilities and entities, such as Clean Water Services in Washington County and the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant in Portland, are now analyzing the possibility of converting their methane into a higher value transportation fuel instead of generating electricity. 

Resources
 Renewable Energy Development Grants​


​​
​Contact the Planning & Innovation Team:
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​