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A Comparative Study on the RFS Program of Korea with the US and UK Jung-Yull Shin 1,2 , Gun-Woo Kim 1,2 , Janet S. Zepernick 3 1 2 3 4


and Kyu-Young Kang 1,4, *

Department of Renewable Energy Engineering, Graduate School, Dongguk University-Seoul, 30 Pildong-ro 1-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620, Korea; [email protected] (J.-Y.S.); [email protected] (G.-W.K.) Korea Energy Agency, 388 Poeundae-ro, Suji-gu, Yongin 16842, Korea Department of English & Modern Languages, College of Arts and Sciences, Pittsburg State University, 1701 South Broadway Street, Pittsburg, KS 66762, USA; [email protected] Department of Biological and Environmental Science, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dongguk University-Seoul, 32 Dongguk-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang 10326, Korea Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +82-31-961-5125

Received: 18 October 2018; Accepted: 30 November 2018; Published: 5 December 2018


Abstract: In 2016, the global environmental impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was 49.3 gigatons CO2 equivalent. Worldwide, the transportation sector is responsible for 14% of GHG. Electric vehicles (EV) powered by less-polluting energy sources are one way to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation sector, but immediate transportation demands cannot be met by existing EV technology. Use of less polluting biofuel in place of petroleum-based gasoline or diesel fuel to power the existing transportation fleet is a widely accepted transitional solution, including in the Republic of Korea. The purpose of this research is to investigate approaches to biofuels in the US and the UK in order to evaluate Korea’s current energy policies related to use of biofuels and to make recommendations for strengthening Korea’s energy policy. This article addresses only policies for use of biodiesel rather than ethanol (widely used in the US) because ethanol is not used in Korea. This research shows that Korea calculates GHG using the principle that biofuel is carbon neutral, but energy policies in the US and the UK treat biofuel as not entirely carbon neutral. Korea should examine how to calculate GHG from biodiesel according to the standard set by the UK in order to work toward a more environmentally sustainable energy policy. Keywords: RFS (Renewable Fuel Standards); renewable energy; biodiesel; CO2 ; GHG; sustainability; carbon neutral

1. Introduction 1.1. Research Objective The purpose of this paper is to identify the shortcomings of Korea’s biodiesel program, including its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and to propose modifications to the program in order to improve the environmental sustainability of biodiesel in Korea. The seventh largest GHG emitting country, Korea is implementing a biodiesel program to improve the sustainability of its energy supply by increasing biodiesel use in the transportation sector [1]. However, while Korea calculates GHG emissions using the principle that biofuel is carbon neutral, energy policies in the US and the UK treat biofuel as not entirely carbon neutral. These countries include GHG emissions of specific biofuel sources and production processes in calculating total GHG emissions for biofuel from various sources. Recently, the EU publicly announced that it would ban the import of palm oil, one of the biggest sources of GHG emissions among biofuel feedstocks, for use in biofuel as part of the EU’s plan to increase biofuel use while keeping environmental sustainability in view [2]. This is the hottest issue Sustainability 2018, 10, 4618; doi:10.3390/su10124618

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