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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




April 1, 2015  

Helping Cut Carbon Comes Down to Consumers' Everyday Tasks

New Fuel Quality Standard Expected to Accelerate Biodiesel in Home Heating

Farmers Recognize Biodiesel Industry With Annual Award

Tanker Crashes Offer Two Different Stories on Safety of Hauling Fuel

Bioheat® Ad Campaign Engages Consumers While Giving Back

Fish Fries Fueling Local Cooperative During Lent

Fossil Fuel Industry Caught Taking a Page Out of the Tobacco Playbook

Nebraska Farmer Reiterates Biodiesel Quality

Helping Cut Carbon Comes Down to Consumers' Everyday Tasks

National Biodiesel Day was celebrated on March 18 in honor of Rudolf Diesel's birthday. Diesel, born in 1858 developed the first diesel engine for the World's Fair in 1900. His engine ran on peanut oil. He chose to run it on biofuel because he envisioned a time when vegetable oils would one day be as important as petroleum among transportation fuels.

Last year, 114 years after Diesel unveiled his engine, nearly 1.8 billion gallons of biodiesel was used in the US transportation industry. Diesel engines move approximately 90 percent of the nation's goods with more clean burning biodiesel in the mix than ever before, replacing petroleum diesel, and working with clean diesel technology to reduce carbon emissions even further. As a result, consumers, just doing what they do – buying stuff, eating stuff, using stuff – helped support biodiesel and reduce carbon.

"Biodiesel works behind the scenes to deliver a better alternative. It is here now, working today across the country to improve our environment, support our economy and protect energy security," said Steven J. Levy, Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board.

Consumers who want to continue to improve the environment through supporting biodiesel can take an active role by joining the Biodiesel Alliance. The Biodiesel Alliance is a free organization that provides members easy access to news and information about biodiesel and related topics.

Join the Alliance and make a difference, today.

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New Fuel Quality Standard Expected to Accelerate Biodiesel in Home Heating

It will soon be easier for heating oil consumers to use higher blends of cleaner burning biodiesel to heat their homes and buildings thanks to a new performance specification announced last month. 

ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels, released the specifications for blends of 6-to-20 percent biodiesel with traditional heating oil. The landmark move is expected to accelerate the use of Bioheat® fuel.

"The oilheat industry is reinventing itself as a 21st century fuel by moving to higher blends of low carbon biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur levels across the board," said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

The home heating oil industry is a nearly seven billion gallon a year market with great potential for more biodiesel as the industry transitions to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly product. The new standards provide assurance to customers that the fuel will operate in their systems as expected.

"Having an official standard for higher biodiesel blends in heating oil will help foster consumer confidence, and give blenders and distributors a needed tool to incorporate more low carbon, ultra-low sulfur biodiesel into heating oil," said Steve Howell of M4 Consulting, and chair of the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force. "Brookhaven National Laboratory surveys of customers already using biodiesel blends not only showed similar or better experience than with traditional fuel oil, they also showed many already use B20 or higher blends with great success," Howell said.

 

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Farmers Recognize Biodiesel Industry With Annual Award

The United Soybean Board recently honored the National Biodiesel Board with the "Excellence in Oil" award for the organization's many contributions to the soybean industry.

NBB began in 1992 as a research organization, built from a collaboration of soybean farmer leaders with a mission of finding a new market for the vast supplies of surplus soybean oil that had historically been a drag on commodity prices. Starting with just seven founding members, NBB has grown to an organization with more than 200 member companies producing more than a billion gallons of biodiesel annually in commercial facilities across the country.

"The relationship between the biodiesel and soybean industries has been mutually beneficial since the beginning," said former NBB Chairman and USB farmer leader from South Dakota, Bob Metz. "The research dollars invested in the biodiesel industry through our soybean checkoff have paid dividends for soybean farmers. A brand new fuel is something that is very difficult to bring to the market, but we were ultimately successful in our efforts. The fact that we now have an Advanced Biofuel, made from surplus fats and oils, filling five percent of our diesel fuel demand is truly astounding."

Metz, along with NBB CEO Joe Jobe, accepted the award on behalf of the organization during Commodity Classic, an annual agriculture industry event. 

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Tanker Crashes Offer Two Different Stories on Safety of Hauling Fuel

The images are a stark contrast. One tanker truck laying on its side shut down five lanes of busy interstate for most of a day as crews cleaned up fuel from the roadway and moved the large vehicle. The other, a flaming inferno that destroyed multiple vehicles had emergency crews fighting to control a fire that closed a Michigan interstate for more than a week.

The two tanker accidents last month on back-to-back days in Maryland and Michigan were serious reminders of the dangers of transporting fuel. However, they also offered a lasting visual of how much safer biodiesel is to ship and handle than petroleum fuel.

"Biodiesel's high flashpoint means it is much less combustible and safer to handle than petroleum," said National Biodiesel Board technical director Scott Fenwick. "It's also less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar so the environmental impact of a spill like this is very minimal. Not to mention much safer for those emergency responder crews who were on the scene."

Michigan Department of Transportation said 13,000 gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline had been in the Michigan tanker that exploded on I-94.

Miraculously, no serious injuries were reported with either accident.  

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Bioheat® Ad Campaign Engages Consumers While Giving Back

The National Weather Service in Boston declared 2014-15 the all-time snowiest season for the city, and Bioheat® fuel, a blend of oilheat and biodiesel, helped residents ride it out there and throughout the Northeast. As winter comes to a close, so does the Bioheat® consumer campaign, led by the National Biodiesel Board. This balanced campaign included radio and television commercials broadcast on WCVB Channel 5 in Boston, iHeart Media in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and CBS in New York City.

In addition to the commercials, Bioheat® sponsored the WCVB and Salvation Army's "Fill the Tank" campaign, helping more than 400 individuals and families to date pay their heating oil bills. Donations topped $320,000. Another charitable element of the campaign was the Bioheat® "Warm Homes, Warm Hands" hat and mitten drive to support the Boys and Girls Clubs in Providence, Hartford, and Boston.

"We feel this year's campaign was a huge success, based both on the increase in web traffic at Bioheatonline.com, and the support on the ground received by many Bioheat® fuel dealers that took an active role in the grassroots element of the 2015 program," said Paul Nazzaro, NBB's Bioheat® project manager.

Also included in the future advertising plan is a partnership at Six Flags New England, from April to November, with signage to promote the advantages of Bioheat®. The cooking oil used at the park's food concessions is sold to Baker Commodities to be processed into biodiesel.

All radio and television spots can be found on the front page of Bioheatonline.com.

 

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Fish Fries Fueling Local Cooperative During Lent

 Every year between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday Catholics make sacrifices, including meat on Fridays. During those six weeks, it's common for churches to host fish fries on Friday nights. This year those fish fries are doing more than feeding- they're fueling America.

This story from the Omaha World-Herald says that the Omaha Biofuels Coop has collected hundreds of gallons of used cooking oil from local churches during the Lenten season, turning it into biodiesel.

Clean-up following fish fries posed a real issue for the churches because there's no easy solution for disposing of the large quantities of used oil in most communities. Having the local biodiesel coop pick up the oil saved the churches time and money, but more importantly supported a good cause.

Biodiesel can be made from any fat or oil including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats. Biodiesel blends can be used in any diesel engine without modification.

 

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Fossil Fuel Industry Caught Taking a Page Out of the Tobacco Playbook

 When dealing with health effects of products it is extremely important that sound science is used in the public policy debate. Recently, climate change denier Willie Soon was caught failing to disclose conflicts of interest in his climate research, and subsequent testimony to Congress. This raised alarms for many, including Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

"For years we've known that fossil fuel interests have sought to block action on climate change and have denied the science," said Markey. "This investigation will help to determine who is funding these denial-for-hire operations and whether those who are funded by these fossil fuel interests are keeping their funders' identities secret from the public and legislators."

This article from The Guardian said, "Willie Soon's shoddy research and fossil fuel funding are just a symptom of the underlying problem: the high level of fossil fuel industry influence in the US government. Soon and his cohorts are merely tools used by members of Congress to manufacture doubt, thereby justifying inaction on climate change, and creating enough confusion that the public doesn't consider the issue a high priority.

It's the exact same strategy that the tobacco industry successfully implemented to their success, and to the detriment of public health and well-being. Thanks to the efforts of Greenpeace and the Climate Investigations Center to reveal Soon's fossil fuel funding and conflicts of interest, perhaps this time the scandalous industry misinformation efforts will be brought to an end before it's too late to avoid serious harm to public health."

 

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Nebraska Farmer Reiterates Biodiesel Quality

 Greg Greving, a Central Nebraska farmer and board member of the Nebraska Soybean Board, told attendees of the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event, that biodiesel powers his operation.

"This fall, my two boys, two hired men and myself, harvested 11,000 acres in 56 days [all running on biodiesel], and the only time we shut down was when we were tired," he said. "We have not had any trouble running biodiesel."

But Greving was doing more than just bragging about his farming operation. He was invited to showcase his 1980 Oldsmobile 98 Regency with a 5.7 GM diesel engine, a car in which he also uses biodiesel.

Whether it's his car or his farm equipment, Greving believes fuel quality is of the utmost importance. A reassuring factor for biodiesel enthusiasts, as the National Biodiesel Board announced its new BQ-9000 Retailer Program. A quality assurance program designed to maintain biodiesel at the high industry specifications from production all the way to consumers.

You can hear to Greg's remarks from the Vehicle Showcase here.

 

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

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Past issues are available upon request.