Biodiesel Bulletin

The Biodiesel Bulletin is published monthly by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

NBB does not publish a February Issue due to the Biodiesel Conference.

August 1, 2014


New Co-chairs Selected to Lead Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

Federal Proposals Inconsistent on Emissions Reduction

Diesel Power Magazine Puts Biodiesel to the Test

EPA Finalizes RFS Quality Assurance Rules

Save the Date: 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo

U.S. Clean Diesel Car Sales Up 25 Percent in 2014

NBB Challenges EU Duty Proposal


New Co-chairs Selected to Lead Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

James Anderson worked his way through college behind the wheel of a diesel semi-truck, where he became interested in biodiesel. The hours behind the wheel planted a seed in his mind about his academic path. What if he could contribute to the body of research on soybean oil as a biodiesel feedstock?

Anderson, now a PhD student in Agricultural Science at Southern Illinois University, decided to give it a shot.

"I'm interested in breeding soybeans with different fatty acid profiles," Anderson said. "By using soybeans with acid profiles that favor high energy production in breeding projects, populations of soybeans with even higher energy yield and improved stability can be achieved."

Anderson is one of three students with a passion for biodiesel who will help lead the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. First launched in 2010, the National Biodiesel Board program aims to educate young scientists about biodiesel.

Selected through a competitive application process, the other new co-chairs are:

  • Katie Heil, University of Colorado – Boulder, an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering
  • Mike Morgan, Utah State University, an undergraduate in Biochemistry

They join senior co-chair Dan Browne, a graduate research assistant in the Dept. of Biochemistry & Biophysics at Texas A&M University.

All of the co-chairs are actively engaged in biodiesel-related research or education. Heil serves as director of the University of Colorado's "CU Biodiesel" club, one of the largest university biodiesel clubs. Morgan set a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats with biodiesel, and has had his innovative feedstock research published.




Federal Proposals Inconsistent on Emissions Reduction

The US Environmental Protection Agency has released two major proposals related to climate change and emissions recently. However, the two proposals, one for power generation and one for transportation fuels, seem to show inconsistency on the Administration's environmental goals. For the first time since the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) began, EPA has proposed to lower the required volume of emissions-reducing biofuels below the statutory minimum, and even below what the biofuels industry produced in 2013, essentially passing up a real opportunity to reduce carbon. In contrast the EPA proposed in June the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent.

The transportation sector accounts for a large portion of US emissions and the RFS is the first comprehensive policy to expand lower carbon fuels into the sector. Biodiesel, an Advanced Biofuel as designated by the EPA, reduces GHG emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum.

The biodiesel industry continues to advocate for the Administration to stand by support of the program, which if maintained would see 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel replacing petroleum in the market by 2022, with a portion of that being biodiesel.

This proposal to reduce volumes less than halfway into the program calls into question the commitment of the Administration to reducing carbon emissions in the transportation sector and sends a message of uncertainty to the clean transportation sector.




Diesel Power Magazine Puts Biodiesel to the Test

If you are a diesel owner looking to keep up on the latest trends, Diesel Power Magazine is most likely your source. Touted as the world's largest diesel magazine, they cover everything from new OEM concepts to aftermarket parts, and everything in between. Last month staff writer Jason Gonderman decided to see what all the talk about biodiesel was for himself.

In his test he used a 2014 Ram 2500 that they had previously used for another test at the magazine. This meant they already had performance and fuel economy data for this exact truck as a baseline to compare their B20 test too.

Gonderman ran two tanks of B20 through the Ram in a test scenario used previously that included a tow test and without any cargo. Both tests returned fuel economy numbers that were within ½ mpg of the original test.

"In general, biodiesel provides a whole host of advantages for both engines and the environment," Gonderman said in the article. "Commercially available bio ensures precise quality standards are met, meaning that running it will do no inadvertent damage. Biodiesel produces less carbon dioxide and monoxide emissions, as well as less particulate matter, which means less frequent DPF regeneration. It also provides better lubricity and a higher cetane rating than petroleum-based diesel. Best of all, at least on the West Coast, it's priced less than standard number 2."

"At the end of it all, the B20 biodiesel was less expensive, better for the environment, good for our truck's engine, and returned the same power and fuel economy as regular old number 2. I'm really hoping this catches on, because having the option for bio at every pump would be awesome!" 




EPA Finalizes RFS Quality
Assurance Rules

On July 2, the EPA finalized a long-awaited rule aimed at eliminating potential fraud under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While the RFS has performed exceptionally well since it was created in 2005, isolated instances of fraud occurred. In these limited cases, criminals fabricated renewable fuels credits, known as RINs, and sold them to unwitting buyers.

The National Biodiesel Board and other stakeholders in the private sector, including petroleum groups, responded aggressively to the initial reports of fraud with new measures to prevent it in the future. NBB formed a RIN Integrity Task Force that worked for months to establish recommendations for complementing the private-sector efforts with strengthened RFS requirements.

NBB was pleased with the final rule released by the EPA, which established Quality Assurance Plans (QAP) for ensuring RIN integrity. The new regulations incorporate many of the Task Force's recommendations, including strengthened auditing requirements and a streamlined QAP process that would provide strong protections for RIN buyers while also avoiding costly, time-consuming red tape that would hurt biodiesel producers. The new QAP regulations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. Until then, the EPA's interim program will remain in place.

Additionally, the EPA released a new "Pathways II" rule, which primarily involves several new pathways for fuels under the cellulosic category of the RFS. But it also contained minor adjustments of interest to biodiesel producers, including an increase in the size threshold for blenders to be considered "small blenders" under the RFS.

Overall, both new rules should strengthen the RFS so that it can continue successfully integrating renewable fuels into the nation's energy portfolio.




Save the Date: 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo

Mark your calendar now for the biggest biodiesel event of the year – the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo January 19-22, 2015 at the Fort Worth, Texas Convention Center. This annual event promises to be the most important ever. 

"By January the industry will have received the EPA's long-awaited final volume proposal for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard and will be adapting to it -- good or bad," said Donnell Rehagen, NBB's chief operating officer and conference director. "Coming together as an industry at the conference will be critical to charting our course for continued growth under the new rule." 

Whether you're a biodiesel producer, marketer, supplier, funder, retailer, researcher or student you won't want to miss the 2015 conference.  In addition to the trade show, the event offers invaluable content, dynamic speakers, and abundant networking opportunities. 

The latest B20-approved diesel vehicles will be on display at the Vehicle Showcase and the Ride-n-Drive. Student scientists will again be invited to participate in the conference in an effort to foster collaboration and professional development opportunities for the future leaders of our industry.

Please check the conference website for more conference details in the coming weeks. If you have ideas for breakout sessions or speakers, please contact Kaleb Little in the NBB office.




U.S. Clean Diesel Car Sales Up 25 Percent
in 2014

Diesel passenger car purchases continue to increase, which is great news for the biodiesel industry.  Diesel car sales in the U.S. increased by more than six times the rate of overall car sales during the first six months of 2014 -- a 25 percent increase from last year -- according to Edmunds data and the Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel sales in 2014 show six consecutive months of increases: +6.8 percent in January; +4.5 percent in February; +39.5 percent in March; +60.4 percent in April; +26.8 percent in May and +8.8 percent in June.

"Sustained and mostly double-digit increases in sales each month over a four-year period prove that U.S. consumers are embracing the benefits of clean diesel technology and its proven, high fuel efficiency, great driving performance, and long-term value," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Clean-diesel vehicles are about 30 percent more efficient than those with gasoline engines, says the DTF, and the group expects automakers to introduce even more diesels to help meet federal fuel-efficiency standards that mandate a 54.5 mpg corporate average by 2025.

Current clean-diesel offerings in the U.S. include 27 models of cars and SUVs, nine vans and 10 pickup trucks. Click here for a list of the clean diesel cars and pickups available in the U.S.




NBB Challenges EU Duty Proposal

Five years have passed since the European Union effectively shut down the once-thriving U.S. biodiesel trade to Europe by imposing tariffs that made U.S. exports uncompetitive with European product.

Those duties were slated to expire this year, on July 11, 2014. However, as expected, the EU Commission has initiated an "expiry" review of the tariffs to determine if they should remain in place. While the review is being conducted, the tariffs will continue.

The National Biodiesel Board is challenging the expiry review and will vigorously oppose the reinstatement of the tariffs and the protectionist approach being taken by the EU. Biodiesel trade is dramatically different in 2014 than it was in 2009, when the U.S. biodiesel program was getting started.  In 2013, the U.S. marketplace for biodiesel was nearly 1.8 billion gallons; in Europe it was more than 3 billion gallons. Today, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the United States, taking away domestic markets from U.S. producers and receiving the same benefits under the RFS and tax credit program that U.S. biodiesel producers receive.  At the same time, the punitive tariffs against U.S. producers in 2009 have all but eliminated any U.S. biodiesel trade opportunities with Europe. Additionally, the biodiesel tax incentive – the principal reason the duties were initially imposed – has expired.


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Past issues are available upon request.