Biofuels and biofuel blends are a relatively new category of renewable transportation fuels.These are defined as liquid fuels and blending components produced from renewable biomass feedstocks used as an alternative or supplemental fuels for internal combustion engines. Furthermore, their manufacture and consumption are increasing, in part, due to usage mandates and incentives both in the United States and abroad. This expanded use of biofuel and biofuel blends increases the potential frequency of releases due to the increased manufacture, transportation, storage, and distribution. Because biofuels differ from conventional fuels with respect to their physical, chemical, and biological properties, their introduction poses challenges with respect to understanding the potential impacts of releases on the environment. Specifically, once released into the environment, these fuels will exhibit different environmental behaviors compared to conventional fuels that are either already known and documented in the literature or reasonably projected based on their physical, chemical, and biological properties.

The ITRC’s Biofuels Team has developed technical and regulatory guidance and internet training, titled Biofuels: Release Prevention, Environmental Behavior, and Remediation (Biofuels-1, 2011). An introduction to biofuels defines the scope of the potential environmental challenges by introducing biofuel fundamentals, current regulatory status, and future usage projections. The remainder of the guidance focuses on the differences between biofuels and conventional fuels and emphasizes how the differences can be used to evaluate potential biofuel release scenarios, release prevention, emergency response, fate and transport, site characterization, hazard evaluation, and remediation strategies.

The technical and regulatory guidance is available as a download; hard copies may also be requested. Internet based training courses are no longer offered for this guidance document, however, the archived IBT is accessible through the link above.