Advocates From 27 States Hit Capitol Hill
100 biodiesel producers and supporters, representing companies from 27 states
across the U.S., were in Washington D.C. in June to voice their concerns over
the 2014 biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The biodiesel advocates arrived
at a critical time for the industry, which has seen widespread cutbacks this year as a result of policy setbacks in Washington.
"People are losing their
jobs in this industry as we speak, and it's largely because Washington has delivered
sporadic, inconsistent policy," said Anne Steckel, the National Biodiesel Board's
vice president of federal affairs. "As President Obama has said, America should
be the world leader in biodiesel and in Advanced Biofuels and we can be. But we
need this Administration and this Congress to stand behind strong energy policy
that encourages investment and growth."
During their visits to
Capitol Hill, which came as part of NBB's semi-annual member meeting, biodiesel
advocates focused on concerns about the Obama Administration's RFS
proposal for biodiesel, which would set biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons,
a sharp cut from last year's actual production. They also called on
lawmakers to reinstate the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive, which expired
on Dec. 31.
NBB is encouraging continued advocacy
by all biodiesel supporters as the final rule on the RFS is still in the review
process at EPA. Biodiesel supporters can reach out to their U.S. Senators or
House Representative and ask them to urge the EPA and the White House to
strengthen production volumes for biodiesel under the RFS in 2014.
State Reaches Milestone in Biodiesel Use
long-time leader in biodiesel use, the Washington State Department of Transportation
reports a seven-digit milestone on their road to sustainability. In 2013, the
agency for the first time purchased more than 1 million gallons of biodiesel for
use in ferries and mid-to-large-size trucks and equipment.
The agency's net savings of more
than 1 million gallons of regular diesel fuel includes 687,741 gallons used for
ferries and 318,775 purchased by the land fleet to fuel work trucks and other
heavy equipment. This is important in a state where transportation ranks as the
largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
"The benefits of biodiesel are clear, and we plan
to continue growing its use as an alternative fuel," WSDOT Energy Policy Manager
Tim Sexton said in a recent agency blog post.
Washington State Ferries
currently uses biodiesel blends of up to 5 percent in its vessels and will soon
launch a pilot project to study the feasibility of using up to 10 percent
biodiesel. The agency uses biodiesel
made primarily from recycled canola oil.
Since 2009, use of biodiesel
and other alternative fuels has helped WSDOT's fleet cut greenhouse gas emissions
by 263 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. For the fifth year running, the agency's
fleet was among the top 40 most sustainable and efficient government fleets in
North America at the 2013 Government Green Fleet Awards.
Generation of Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial
Brimming with visionary ideas, plant scientist
and biofuels innovator Dallas Hanks had a knack for bringing stakeholders together
to pursue a bigger picture. This treasured member of our biodiesel family succumbed
to cancer June 25, 2014, but not before sowing a solid legacy and passing the
research reins to a new generation of scientists eager to chase his dream. The
Burley, Idaho native, who earned Masters and Doctoral degrees from Utah State
University, pioneered the idea of growing biofuel feedstock plants on non-traditional
agricultural land such as airports, military bases, and highway right of ways.
met Dallas knew instantly he was a natural educator. In honor of his commitment
to mentoring young minds, a special fund has been created that will help perpetuate
Dallas' vision and legacy. The Next Generation Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial
Fund will support initiatives Dallas started and innovations the next generation can imagine.
Mike Morgan, a student at Utah State University
was one of many that Dallas mentored. Mike is determined to head up many efforts
to carry on Dallas' work. He is a co-chair of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel Program and met Dallas through the program at the National Biodiesel Conference. Professor
Ralph Whitesides, other faculty at Utah State, and many other partners in Utah,
Idaho and across the country have also committed to help carry on Dallas' work.
These partners, plus the National Biodiesel Board, and Dallas' family and friends
encourage you to contribute to this fund to honor Dallas and carry on his legacy.
Students Debut Biodiesel Race Car at White House
A group of high school students from West Philadelphia
worked overtime to finish building their biodiesel-powered race car two weeks
early so they could take it to the first White House Maker Faire in Washington
on June 18. The event brought together students, entrepreneurs and innovators
who are using cutting-edge tools to bring their ideas to life.
The students are part of EVX Team at the
Workshop School, a project based public high school whose mission is "to unleash
the creative and intellectual potential of young people to solve the world's toughest
problems." A trip to the White House was all the motivation the students needed
to stay late and work weekends to get it done.
"Meeting the President and showing him our student built,
100 mpg biodiesel-powered sports car was beyond words," said Simon Hauger, Principal
of the Workshop School and team lead. "I never imagined in my wildest dreams
that I would have that kind of opportunity."
The race car is a Factory Five 818 that is modified to
achieve 100 mpg operating on biodiesel made by the students from recycled fryer
oil. The students used a kit, donated by Massachusetts company Factory Five Racing,
for the 818 chassis, and adjusted the car to make it not only fast, but environmentally
friendly. The car can reach speeds of up to 150 mph.
The EVX Team has been building award-winning electric,
hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles since 1998.
High School Earns $100,000 Grant,
Presidential Award for Biodiesel
St. Louis-area high school teacher with a passion for teaching biodiesel production
has won the 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Darrin
Peters, a chemistry teacher at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo., serves
as the school's Biodiesel Project Coordinator.
a chemistry lecture four years ago, he mentioned it was possible to convert waste
vegetable oil into biodiesel, which has a very similar chemical structure to petroleum
diesel. The next day, one of his students brought in several pages of research
she had done, and asked if they could make biodiesel in the lab. They did, and
along with other teachers and administrators, Peters began writing grants. These
provided the school with two diesel test vehicles and a biodiesel processor. The
project has grown into an authentic science lab-based learning project where students
produce biodiesel, test it for quality, fuel the test vehicles and present their
findings to the community.
Others in the community
noticed their work, and recently, the project won a $100,000 grant from Monsanto
to construct a building on the school's campus that is expected to open in September,
named "The Monsanto Education Center for Sustainable Solutions."
As a Presidential Award winner, Peters received an award of $2,000 to
further his professional development in environmental education and the school
will also receive $2,000.
"This award is a true honor,
and the funding could not come at a better time," Peters said. "We will use
the money to purchase lab and technical equipment needed for the Monsanto center,
and eventually it will become a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
resource for the entire St. Louis Community."
Consequences: US Oil Spills up 17% in 2013
done this spring by the energy publication EnergyWire found the number
of spills reported at oil and gas production sites in 2013 increased 17 percent
from the year before. The analysis notes that there were at least 7,662 spills,
blowouts, leaks and other mishaps in 2013 in the 15 top states for on-shore oil
and gas activity, according to state records. That total adds up to more than 20 incidents a day.
noted that many of the spills were small, but their total combined volume was
more than 26 million gallons of oil, hydraulic fracturing fluid, wastewater, and
other substances. For comparison, more than double the volume spilled by Exxon
Valdez into Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1989.
When compiling the
data for 2013, EnergyWire said it was very difficult to get firm numbers
for spills and mishaps as there is no national list, or even a standardized way
for companies to report them. Each state reports spills differently, and some don't report them at all.
article concluded that while there are economic benefits to producing oil here
in the U.S., it doesn't come without environmental consequences and direct negative effects.
production of Advanced Biofuels like biodiesel can help achieve those same economic
benefits without the negative environmental risks. Biodiesel biodegrades as fast
as sugar and is less toxic than table salt and once it is in a diesel engine it
burns as much as 80 percent cleaner than diesel fuel.
Hybrid Wins Second Place
in Collegiate Competition
The EcoCar2 competition has put some of America's
best and brightest college students to the test designing vehicles that aren't
the status quo. Joining hybrid technology with the efficiency of a diesel
engine burning advanced biofuels like biodiesel is a win, win, win.
That's just what University of Washington
students did when they transformed a Chevy Malibu into a unique biodiesel-electric
hybrid car for the EcoCAR2 Competition. The team took second place
in the competition sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy.
They were one of just 15 university teams invited to participate.
The University of Washington students
worked on the car for the past three years - from planning and design to building
and re-building. The Chevy Malibu utilizes a biodiesel engine to power the front
wheels and a 250-horsepower electric motor for the back. The car can travel 48
miles on one electric charge before switching to the biodiesel engine. In addition
to second place overall, the team won another nine awards, including best 0 -
60 mph time (6.95 seconds), lowest greenhouse gas emissions and lowest energy consumption.
About 50 students from the University of Washington
participated in the competition and they have been invited to participate in EcoCar3,
which begins this fall.