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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




February 2, 2015  

NBB CEO Speech Sets Tone for 2015 Biodiesel Conference

Biodiesel Volumes Drop in 2014 Due to Policy Uncertainty

Highlights from 2015 National Biodiesel Conference Speeches

Foundation Auction Raises Money for Biodiesel Research

Program Brings 30 Next-Gen Scientists to Biodiesel Conference

Eye on Biodiesel Awards Honors Industry Champions

Diesel Vehicle Options Powered by Biodiesel Blends are Growing

NBB CEO Speech Sets Tone for 2015 Biodiesel Conference

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe kicked off the 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo with a strong state of the industry speech declaring, “the truth matters.” Arguing that federal policy makers must see through the false attacks by renewable fuels opponents and provide certainty for their advanced biofuel industry in his opening general session speech last month in Fort Worth.

The annual biodiesel industry event features many learning sessions and business opportunities throughout the week-long event. In the 12th year of the conference, the biggest topic of discussion was by far the lack of action by the US EPA on the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes. The EPA initially proposed in November 2013 to hold the 2014 RFS biodiesel volume at 1.28 billion gallons. The agency subsequently withheld a final rule and has still not established 2014 volumes, also missing deadlines for the 2015 and 2016 volumes.

“President Obama has declared an all-of-the-above energy policy and made addressing climate change a priority,” said Jobe. “The RFS has demonstrated success in contributing to both those top priority goals. It is our goal for 2015 to get the RFS back on track."

Jobe began his presentation by invoking the tenants of Joseph Pullitzer and the first rule of journalism: “the truth matters.”

 While acknowledging the biodiesel industry has many friends and good working relationships among oil producers, RFS opponents have distorted the record of renewable fuels, as well as made alarming predictions for the program – predictions that have proven wildly inaccurate, Jobe said. As a result, he said, the implementation of effective policy has been consistently damaged by their misleading rhetoric.

 “Sensationalist tabloid headlines have no place in serious public policy debate – it makes for bad public policy,” Jobe said.

For the full release on his speech click here.

 

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Biodiesel Volumes Drop in 2014 Due to Policy Uncertainty

The U.S. biodiesel market shrunk in 2014 amid policy uncertainty in Washington D.C. that destabilized the industry and caused many biodiesel plants to shut down or reduce production.

The EPA figures reflect U.S. consumption of Biomass-Based Diesel, the vast majority of which is produced domestically.

According to EPA data released, found here, total U.S. biodiesel consumption fell to 1.75 billion gallons for the year, down slightly from nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2013. The downturn came as the Obama Administration failed to finalize biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Congress allowed the biodiesel tax incentive to lapse at the beginning of 2014.

After the record year of nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2013, the EPA initially proposed in November 2013 to hold the 2014 RFS biodiesel volume at 1.28 billion gallons. The agency subsequently withheld a final rule and has still not established 2014 volumes, even as it has signaled that it will improve the original proposal. The continued uncertainty throughout the year has left the industry in a state of limbo, although many biodiesel companies continued producing based on assurances throughout the year from the Administration that RFS volumes would increase.

 

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Highlights from 2015 National Biodiesel Conference Speeches

Last week the 2015 National Biodiesel Conference welcomed many exceptional speakers and panelists to Fort Worth ranging from former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan, now an NBB consultant, to Tom Butcher with Brookhaven National Laboratory. Session topics touched on lots of pertinent issues such as the announcement of the new Retailer addition to the BQ-9000 fuel quality program, federal policy impacting the biodiesel industry in 2015 and the national security implications of building a domestic biofuels program.

In case you weren’t able to attend all of the fascinating and enlightening sessions, read the list of top quotes spoken at this year’s conference for a sampling of what you missed.

3. "As both a former governor and a Naval officer I can tell you energy security remains among biofuels’ most important benefits." - Matt Blunt, former governor of Missouri, during his day two keynote speech.

2. “Washington’s inability to live up to the Renewable Fuel Standard suggests to me that there is not a minimum threshold there for embarrassment.” – Sen. Byron Dorgan (Ret.), on a federal policy panel, pulled no punches on Washington for leaving the biodiesel industry hanging in a perpetual state of limbo.

1. “2015 has to be the year we get back to the future of the RFS program and out of the uncertainty the past.” – NBB CEO Joe Jobe, who received a standing ovation during his opening address. He said federal policy makers must see through the false attacks by renewable fuels opponents and provide certainty for this advanced biofuel industry.

For the full top 10 quotes from the conference click here.

 

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Foundation Auction Raises Funds For Biodiesel

Just like every year at the conference attendees had lots of opportunities to support the National Biodiesel Foundation. One of those ways was a silent auction with some very unique items to bid on. With 60 items total, and things like a guitar signed by the Rolling Stones, the auction raised more than $20,000 for biodiesel research and education efforts.

The Foundation works closely with the National Biodiesel Board to address national issues affecting us all — cleaner air, greater economic development for rural communities, and enhanced national security through energy independence. Organized in 1994, the Foundation’s mission is to accomplish outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel.

If you couldn’t attend the conference you can still support the National Biodiesel Foundation. Just go online to make a donation. And be sure to bring your checkbook to the 2016 conference! 

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Program Brings 30 Next-Gen Scientists to Biodiesel Conference 

In January, some young faces joined the 900 biodiesel supporters attending the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Fort Worth, Texas. About 30 student members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel traveled to the event, many on scholarships.

“Most of what I knew about biodiesel was from working in the lab and reading articles, but it was very exciting to see all the companies and people fighting to take biodiesel production to a higher level,” said Edith Martinez-Guerra, a Ph.D. candidate in civil-environmental engineering at Mississippi State University. “I am very thankful for the scholarship to attend. I had the chance to interact with many people in the industry, which will be helpful contacts after I earn my degree.” 

Schools represented included MIT, the University of Colorado – Boulder, the University of California – Davis, Newcastle University (UK), California Polytechnic State University, Appalachian State University and the University of South Carolina, among others. Many of the students, who come from a wide range of disciplines in the sciences, noted the intellectual impact the event made on them. 

“The biggest change on my views of biodiesel after attending the conference was the sustainability of biodiesel,” said Jesse Mayer, a biochemistry Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada – Reno. “Going forward, I will be sure to stress the minimal impact biodiesel has on food production. In fact at a recent lab meeting I shared this information with my colleagues”

The scholarships were supported by the National Biodiesel Board through a USDA grant, United Soybean Board funding and the South Carolina Soybean Board. The National Biodiesel Foundation also supported one scholarship through the Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund, in memory of the prominent feedstock researcher from Utah State University.

 You can see photos and hear interviews with the students on the conference blog.

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Eye on Biodiesel Awards Honors Industry Champions

The National Biodiesel Board recently honored industry champions who have significantly impacted the biodiesel industry. The “Eye on Biodiesel” award recognizes some of these tremendous leaders and their efforts. Five honorees were recognized at the 2015 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in their own unique categories:

Innovation - Tom Butcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory 

Dr. Tom Butcher, head of the Energy Conversion Group at Brookhaven National Laboratory has played an instrumental role in the technical research that formed the basis for the balloting of performance specifications for six percent to 20 percent biodiesel blended into traditional heating oil as a new fuel grade in the ASTM D396 fuel oil standard. His groundbreaking work documenting the positive field experience with biodiesel blends and providing research background were major factors in addressing questions brought up by the NORA/NBB-lead Bioheat Technical Steering Committee.

Impact - Senator Al Franken

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota has long been a champion for biodiesel in Washington and accepted a leadership role last year in challenging the EPA’s initial proposal that would have weakened Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes. Sen. Franken helped organize his Senate colleagues in holding meetings on the issue with senior Administration leaders. He has coordinated advocacy letters from members of Congress, and he has spoken out publicly to highlight biodiesel’s benefits across the country as he fought for a strong RFS. His advocacy and leadership have been instrumental in helping to develop a policy environment in which biodiesel can continue to grow.

 Influence - Jerry Schoenfeld

Jerry Schoenfeld of Minneapolis based Greater States Advisors has been instrumental in development, passage, and defense of landmark biodiesel legislation in Minnesota since 2000. Without the lobbying expertise and efforts on behalf of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, the state would not have the favorable biodiesel policies that it does today. Successes include a five-year process that led to the first in the nation B2 statewide blend requirement passed in 2002 and implemented in 2005. In 2009 the state implemented legislation to move to B5, the move to B10 was implemented in 2014, and B20 is on track to be implemented in 2018. The state of Minnesota has long been a leader in the biodiesel industry and much of that is due to these favorable policies.  

Inspiration - Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board

Nebraska soybean farmer, and long-time biodiesel advocate, Greg Anderson is considered an inspiration for his full time devotion to fellow soybean farmers. He has served in more volunteer roles than can be named, but a few include; past chairman of the United Soybean Board, board member on the Nebraska Soybean Board, a long-time representative of NSB to the National Biodiesel Board, former NBB technical committee chair, current NBB marketing committee chair, and he was recently re-elected as NBB secretary. In August, while working on his fifth-generation family farm, he suffered a near-fatal accident and was severely burned on his head, back, arms, and hands. While the physical recovery from his painful injuries was spectacular, even more so was how incredibly positive, grateful, and upbeat he remained throughout the process. His tremendous attitude, along with his selfless service to the biodiesel industry are truly inspirational.

Pioneer Award – Dallas Hanks

The biodiesel industry lost a true pioneer last June with the passing of Utah State University’s Dr. Dallas Hanks. Dallas was a brilliant scientist, educator, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and all around good person. He spearheaded the visionary feedstock program Freeways to Fuels, was a huge supporter and contributor to NBB’s Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. He had a hand in numerous oilseed test plots, biodiesel laboratories, and technology start-up business at the university and around the region. The respect he had from his peers was second to none, and he has left a truly lasting legacy in the biodiesel world.

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Diesel Vehicle Options Powered by Biodiesel Blends are Growing

The National Biodiesel Conference and Expo showcased a bumper crop of new clean diesel vehicles. These 2015 options are beginning to arrive in dealership showrooms nationwide, offering U.S. consumers more selections in their quest to drive cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles capable of running on domestic, and renewable biodiesel blends.

Conference attendees put some of these diesel vehicle models to the test during the 2015 Biodiesel Ride-and-Drive Event. The event featured a sampling of some of the many new biodiesel-capable models available in 2015, including the popular Chevy Cruze diesel sedan, a 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, a 2015 Ford F250 SuperDuty pickup, a 2015 Ford Transit van, and the 2015 Hino 195h DC - a medium duty double cab diesel electric hybrid truck.

With 47 new clean diesel car, truck and SUV models available now or launching soon in the 2015 model year, automotive industry experts predict that consumers will have more than 62 diesel vehicle models to choose from in North America by 2017. With more than 27 other automotive brands supplying numerous diesel engines, and over 115 different diesel models for the Medium- and Heavy-Duty truck, bus and RV markets, diesel vehicle market share forecasts for the U.S. are on the rise. Industry experts predict that diesel vehicles will make up 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. market by the year 2025, up from just over 3 percent in 2014.

The dramatic growth in availability of new technology diesel engines and vehicles for the U.S. market is welcome news for consumers and fleets that want the tremendous power, performance and fuel economy of a diesel engine, while minimizing their impact on the environment. This is because any diesel vehicle can also operate on clean, renewable biodiesel blends – America’s Advanced Biofuel.

 

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For more on the 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo visit the conference blog and official photo album.

 

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

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