NBB: Soy, Livestock and Biodiesel Go Together

As the world celebrated World Food Day yesterday, the folks at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), along with their friends at the American Soybean Association (ASA), make the case that the biodiesel industry, soybean growers and livestock producers are an important part of the food chain.
NBBworldfoodday1
“The world has a protein gap that needs to be filled,” said American Soybean Association World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Chairman Andy Welden. “Our crop offers soybean meal for livestock feed and human food, which at the same time, creates an abundant supply of soybean oil for biodiesel.”

October 16 is annually recognized as World Food Day. The 2014 Theme is Family Farming; Feeding the world, caring for the earth. The United States produces more than 3.2 billion bushels of soybeans a year, offering an abundant supply of meal for human foods and livestock feeds as well as oil for biodiesel and other uses. U.S. soybean growers also participate in support sustainability programs for conservation and other environmental practices.

NBB also pointed that increased biodiesel production benefits poultry and livestock farmers, as increased amounts of soy oil for biodiesel production also means more soy meal is available for livestock feed and human food. The group added that, according to the United Nations, 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14. But that number is actually down more than 100 million over the last decade, in no small part because of the ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) that assists developing country entrepreneurs and leaders in filling the “protein gap” with nutritious soy-based foods as well as livestock and aquaculture feeds.

Along with reducing the cost of livestock feed, biodiesel also adds value to animal fats. In 2013 demand for fats and oils for biodiesel production increased the value of beef tallow an estimated $567 million, pork fat an estimated $165 million, and poultry fat by more than $51 million, making the production of animal protein more economical.

NBB Cautiously Optimistic About RFS

“We’ve exceeded the goals of advanced biofuels. Then we had the devastating proposed rule that has gone on for a year now. We are cautiously optimistic that we’ll have something here within the next few weeks and that it will be positive,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) who was one of the panel members of panel that discussed federal biofuels policy and the long-term prognosis of the advanced biofuels industry. The discussion was part of the National Advanced Biofuels Conference that recently took place in Minnesota and also included a robust discussion on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

nabce-14-Joe Jobe NBBJobe noted that the biofuels industry and particularly the advanced biofuels industry is beleaguered. “We’ve been under attack by uncertain policy signals, but we need to keep up the fight and double down on the fight. We need to get more of our message out there. We need to get more involved in policy advocacy, we need to get the RFS working again,” said Jobe.

The industry has demonstrated the RFS can work well said Jobe. “We created it to be a stable energy policy.”

Last year was a record breaker for the biodiesel industry – it grew from producing just over one billion gallons in 2012 to just under 2 billion gallons in 2013. “Advanced biofuels are here. The industry has exceeded the goals of advanced biofuels,” Jobe stressed.

The policy discussion will continue during the 2015 National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo taking place in Ft. Forth, Texas January 19-22. Registration is open.

Jobe urges the industry to step up its advocacy efforts and its policy efforts to ensure the future of the advanced biofuels industry.

Interview with Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board
Remarks from Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board

2014 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo Photo Album

Coverage of The Advanced Biofuels Conference and Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of The Advanced Biofuels Conference and Expo is sponsored by New Holland

Minnesota Biodiesel Exceeds Quality Standards

nbb-logoBiodiesel in Minnesota is more than meeting quality standards – it’s exceeding them! The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports that some recent field testing from more than 30 random retail stations scattered throughout the state of Minnesota showed biodiesel blends greatly exceeding important fuel quality parameters set by the industry.

“Biodiesel fuel quality is at an all-time high across the industry,” said Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board technical director. “The recent results from the Minnesota testing is just another example of why consumers can feel confident filling up with biodiesel blends.”

A key indicator of fuel quality in biodiesel blends is oxidative stability, which is a measure of degradation caused by exposure to oxygen. Plymouth, Minn., based MEG Corp., a fuel consulting company, took blind samples in September from retailers across three regions in Minnesota — north, metro and south.

All of the samples taken surpassed the minimum required specification for oxidative stability and most of the samples were three to four times better than the minimum. Fenwick said higher values indicate even better stability, and this new real-world data is important as some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) look for more assurances that biodiesel blends are meeting specifications at the pump. The minimum stability requirements within the current biodiesel specs only recommend for biodiesel to be stored for up to six months which is more than enough time for most diesel applications.

Minnesota just completed the first summer of a successful run with 10 percent biodiesel (B10) in diesel fuel statewide, which was considered a success in no small part because of the high quality of the fuel in the system.

Biodiesel Board Calls for End of European Tariffs

nbb-logoThe National Biodiesel Board has called for the end of duties on the green fuel being sent to Europe. NBB says it’s time to let expire what the group calls unfair European Commission biodiesel tariffs in place for the past five years.

“We have presented a strong case for ending these protectionist barriers that are unfairly hurting U.S. biodiesel producers even as European producers are taking advantage of the U.S. market,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “As we speak, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the U.S., with significant policy support, while at the same time the European market has been cut off from U.S. producers.”

“Eliminating these duties will level the playing field and allow U.S. producers to fairly compete in accordance with international law – just as we are allowing European producers to do in the U.S. market,” [Steckel said].

Among the points highlighted in NBB’s filing Tuesday:

– U.S. imports of biodiesel from the EU have grown in recent years while EU imports of U.S. biodiesel have been virtually eliminated.
– The U.S. biodiesel tax incentive, which was the primary basis for the EU’s initial trade duties, is currently not in effect and hasn’t been in effect for three of the past five years.
– Because it is structured as a blender’s incentive, the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive is available to European producers, when it is in effect, in the same way it is available to U.S. producers. Additionally, European imports to the U.S. can qualify for the RFS, the policy that requires specific volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply.
– The U.S. biodiesel market has evolved significantly since 2009 and, with required volumes under the RFS creating a strong and growing domestic market, it is unlikely that eliminating the trade barriers would lead to a flood of U.S. biodiesel exports to Europe.

While the original biodiesel trade duties were set to expire this year, the European Commission, at the request of the European biodiesel industry, has been delaying the expiration by conducting an “expiry review” expected to last 12 to 15 months.

NBB Offers Webinar on Biodiesel Classroom Safety

biodieselclassroomLots of the next generation of biodiesel producers today are biodiesel students. But making biodiesel can require handling of some hazardous material, so that’s why the National Biodiesel Board is offering the webinar, Biodiesel in the Class Lab: Ensuring Safety, on Sept. 25th from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Central time:

NBB is teaming up with the Methanol Institute to present this interactive webinar, which will help students and teachers understand the basics of biodiesel production and safety. You’ll also hear from a high school chemistry teacher who built a biodiesel lab, helping him earn the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators for 2014.

Speakers:

Mike Morgan, Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel Co-Chair/Utah State
University/Biochemistry Undergrad
Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board Technical Director
Larry Lavin, Methanol Institute Senior Manager for Government & Public Affairs
Darrin Peters, Rockwood Summit High School Chemistry Teacher

For more information and to reserve your webinar seat, click here. Better hurry, though, because space is limited!

Advanced Biofuels Industry Comments on 2014 RFS

The advanced biofuels community is responding this week to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) submission of the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where it will be reviewed. Although the rule is not public, groups are speculating on what the final rule entails with hope still that advanced biofuels will not see a reversal in volumes.

“A little less than a year ago, press leaks first suggested that EPA might reduce the 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) for advanced biofuels to as little as 2.2 billion gallons, which is substantially lower than current production,” said Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) President Michael McAdams when hearing the rule had been sent to OMB.

“Since that time, ABFA members and our many allies have clearly demonstrated that such reductions would fall disproportionately on advanced biofuels and represent a significant reversal of the Obama administration’s previous support for our industry. We hope the final rule will be a major improvement and encourage the White House to set RFS volume obligations at levels that are consistent with our industry’s current and projected production capacity for advanced and cellulosic biofuels,” McAdams added.

Joe Jobe NBBNational Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe is hoping to see an increase in biodiesel from the proposal released last year. Joe explained the the proposed rule would cap out biodiesel and cause a dramatic reduction in production.

“This is a cornerstone energy policy that has demonstrated that it works,” said Jobe. “Last year we were able to demonstrate that the program works. We grew from a little over 1 billion gallon in 2012 to just 2 billion gallons in 2013.” Jobe continued by stressing this allowed for investment and growth – all elements of a successful energy policy.

Jobe noted that biodiesel has allowed the advanced biofuel category to be met every year. While OMB has 90 days to review the rule, Jobe hope it will go faster.

Interview with Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board

RFS Headed to OMB for Review

epaThe Environmental Protection Agency has sent its final rule on 2014 volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in a last step before public release. Renewable fuels groups responded to the news today.

“We’re pleased to see the process moving forward and hope the final rule will show that this Administration is standing behind our national goals for clean, domestic fuels that strengthen our economy and national security,” said National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “The original EPA proposal and continued delays have severely disrupted the U.S. biodiesel industry this year. We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel volume that is finalized as quickly as possible so that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion.”

“While we have not seen the rule, we hold strong in our belief that EPA and OMB will fulfill President Obama’s commitment to biofuels as a means of greater energy independence, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and wider availability of cost-saving alternative fuels for American consumers,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “This decision is about more than targets and gallons, it is about a rationale that places highest importance on the long term strength of this country and not the bottom line of oil companies.”

“While OMB has up to 90 days to review this rule, what is most important is the content of the final rule,” added Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Ultimately, this final rule should promote the policy goals of the RFS and call for an increase in the production of renewable fuels, so we can continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs at home that cannot be outsourced and mitigate climate change, while we improve our environment.”

Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol, says his members are pleased with the progress. “Anything short of that turns the keys to the RFS over to the oil companies and puts cellulosic biofuel at risk,” said Jennings. “While all stakeholders have waited a long time for the final rule, and it could take another 30 days or more for interagency review, getting the rule done right is far more important than getting it done quickly.”

Since the rule is not public yet, there is no word on whether the volume requirements were changed from the initial proposal, which reduced the amount of ethanol and kept the biodiesel requirement the same. Senator John Thune (R-SD) expects some middle ground. “I think we’ll see an upward change,” he says. “I hope it’s a significant upward change and I hope that in ’15 they look at this in a different way.”

Thune still expects it will be later in the fall before a final rule is announced. EPA received over 340,000 comments on the proposal.

New Leaders for Next Gen. Scientists for Biodiesel

nbb-logoNew leadership for the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel have been chosen. This National Biodiesel Board program aims to educate young scientists with factual information about biodiesel.

Selected through a competitive application process, the new co-chairs are:
• James Anderson, Southern Illinois University, a PhD student in Agricultural Science
• 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. They replace three previous co-chairs who have graduated from their studies.

“By engaging with student scientists, our industry has not only learned about their upcoming research, but has opened new lines of communication with their professors and university researchers,” said Don Scott, NBB’s director of sustainability. “The new co-chairs are passionate, energetic and innovative, and will do a great job taking this program to the next level.”

The program was first launched in 2010 and has led to increased communication and collaboration between the biodiesel industry and colleges and universities involved in biodiesel research.

White House Gathers Senate Dems on RFS Proposal

nbb-senatorsIn what could be seen as a sign that an unpopular decision is about to be rendered by the Obama Administration on ethanol and biodiesel, a select group of Senate Democrats have met with the White House. The Hill reports White House adviser John Podesta met with the group on Thursday to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The senators said they wanted to discuss “urgent concerns” with the RFS, which requires that diesel and gasoline refiners mix a certain amount of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol into their traditional fuels each year. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last year to keep the biodiesel volume in 2014 at least year’s level, despite an increase in biodiesel production, and reduce the ethanol volume.

The EPA has not yet finalized its 2014 volumes for renewables.

[Minnesota Senator Al] Franken and his colleagues took particular issue with the biodiesel mandate.

“Such a decision would not only harm the economic growth surrounding biodiesel production in our states, but would be a setback in our national efforts to continue boosting U.S. energy security while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” they wrote.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) seems concerned about the meeting as well and issued a statement from from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel:

“While we are encouraged by these discussions, the biodiesel industry remains concerned that the Administration still appears to be considering a proposal that would backtrack from last year’s proven production and that threatens biodiesel plants around the country. The fact is that biodiesel is the most successful Advanced Biofuel under the RFS, yet it could see its production cut significantly. This meeting, which was originally requested by a diverse group of 14 Democratic senators from across the country, makes clear that there are serious concerns about the impact that the proposal would have on jobs and economic growth nationwide, in states from Rhode Island to Minnesota to Washington state. This is a critical decision, not just for the biodiesel industry but for the future development of clean, American-made renewable fuels that will help us reduce our dangerous dependence on petroleum.”

Many of those senators participating in this week’s meeting were also critical back in May on the Obama Administration’s proposal to cut the amount of biodiesel and ethanol to be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply, with some of the President’s staunchest backers calling it “disastrous” and a miserable failure of policy.

NBB Touts Minnesota’s New 10% Biodiesel Mandate

mnAs Minnesota becomes the first in the nation to require all diesel this summer have at least a 10 percent biodiesel blend, the National Biodiesel Board is touting the move… and the green fuel’s benefits.

“Minnesota has been a pioneer, first demonstrating success with a five percent biodiesel blend. Moving to B10 continues the state’s role as a leader for our energy future, a future that includes diverse options like America’s Advanced Biofuel, biodiesel” said Steven Levy, Chairman for the National Biodiesel Board.

According to the American Lung Association of Minnesota, the state’s current B5 standard reduces emissions equal to removing nearly 35,000 vehicles from the road, which equates to 644 million pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increasing the blend from B5 to B10 will mean an additional demand of 20 million gallons of biodiesel each year on top of the current usage of 40 million gallons. Minnesota’s current operating production capacity is over 60 million gallons per year. Plants are currently operating in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea.

“It is encouraging to see leaders implement consistently strong biofuels policy; this is obviously in sharp contrast to the mixed messages sent from Washington, DC,” said Levy. “Minnesota’s move to B10 shows the impressive potential for renewable energy when policy and entrepreneurship work hand in hand to support real benefits that impact us all. Hopefully those at the national level will see the success in Minnesota and follow up with a strong federal energy policy and strong renewable fuel standard.”

Minnesota was supposed to move to B10 two years ago, but delays to make sure adequate blending infrastructure was in place put it off until now. Starting next year, B10 will be sold from April through September. The rest of the time, a 5 percent blend requirement is in place.

New Fund in Biodiesel Booster Dallas Hanks’ Memory

Dallas Hanks1A new fund has been set up in memory of biodiesel booster Dallas Hanks, who recently died from cancer. The National Biodiesel Foundation set up a new foundation in Dallas’ memory. For those who might not have known this great champion of the green fuel, this Utah State University professor and founder of USU’s Center for Agronomic and Woody Biofuels was described as a visionary who had a knack for bringing stakeholders together to pursue a bigger picture. The Next Generation of Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund will honor his legacy and pass the research reins to a new generation of scientists eager to chase his dream.

Dallas was a huge supporter and contributor to [the National Biodiesel Board's] Next Generation Scientists program, where student scientists could be offered scholarships to attend industry events and other scientific mentoring activities. It was the consensus of the group [who gathered shortly after his death] that the National Biodiesel Foundation would create the Next Generation Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund. The proceeds of this fund will advance the original objectives of the program and assist in carrying out the visionary work that Dallas started. On behalf of the National Biodiesel Board and Foundation, the biodiesel industry, Dallas’s family and many friends, we encourage you to support this important fund in order to honor Dallas and further his legacy. Thank you.

Click here to contribute to the Next Generation of Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund.

I-75 Corridor Creates Biodiesel, Ethanol Roadtrip

I-75-Corridor-Map[1]The summer travel season is here, and if you’re looking for a way to see the U.S.A. while driving on clean-burning biodiesel and ethanol, a roadtrip down Interstate 75 might be just the ticket. The latest edition of the National Biodiesel Board’s Biodiesel Bulletin talks about the I-75 Green Corridor, the planet’s longest biofuels corridor, that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. to Miami, Fla. where they’ve just upped the availability of B20 and E85.

The project’s goal was to install biofuel pumps at least every 200 miles or to fill in gaps between existing biofuel stations along the interstate.

To date, over 2.8 million gallons of biofuels have been sold from project stations, and 2.2 million gallons of petroleum have been displaced. This equates to 6,735 tons of CO2 emissions avoided compared to conventional petroleum-based fuels. Thus far, nearly 30 new biofuel pumps have been installed, resulting in the 1,786-mile interstate becoming what is believed to be the planet’s longest biofuels corridor.

Time to hit the road, you eco-Road Warriors!

Biodiesel Industry Wants Obama to Stick with Support

nbb-advancedNearly 120 biodiesel companies and affiliated businesses are calling on President Obama to stand behind his past support of their industry. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board says the group sent the White House a letter outlining the extensive damage that would result from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal, which would set a biodiesel standard of 1.28 billion gallons – far below actual 2013 production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons.

“As entrepreneurs and business leaders representing thousands of employees, we have followed signals from this Administration and invested billions of dollars in developing a U.S. biodiesel industry that has successfully delivered more than 5 billion gallons of EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel under the RFS since you took office,” the letter states. “We are extremely concerned that you could be retreating on your previously unwavering support for biodiesel in a way that would have severe consequences for the industry’s future.”

The companies and other organizations signing the letter represent thousands of employees in states across the country, from California to Minnesota to Rhode Island. They specifically referenced legislation introduced by then-Sen. Obama in 2006 (“The American Fuels Act”) that called for an ambitious standard of 2 billion gallons of alternative diesel fuels by 2015.

“Thanks to American innovation, the hard work of our employees, and strong, consistent federal policy under the RFS, the biodiesel industry almost reached that goal last year by producing nearly 1.8 billion gallons under the RFS. With stable policy, it is very likely that the industry will – a mere decade later – indeed reach your stated goal of 2 billion gallons by 2015,” the letter states. “This is a success story of which you and your Administration should be proud: A clean, renewable energy industry meeting a challenging goal that you envisioned 10 years ago. Yet with this EPA proposal, this Administration is retreating. We urge you not to.”

This latest letter adds to the growing chorus of dissatisfaction with the Administration’s stance of lowering RFS amounts, as shown by a group of Democratic senators, who are normally big proponents of Obama, recently blasting him for the EPA’s proposal.

Biodiesel Grant Looks to Improve GHG Science

NBF1A new grant looks to improve the science and understanding behind greenhouse gas (GHG) modeling to show how biodiesel helps the economy while adding security benefits. This piece from Biodiesel Magazine says the National Biodiesel Foundation (NBF) grant to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) to study the science behind GHG modeling will help quantifying the environmental benefits biodiesel is able to offer to state and federal energy policies that aren’t even in the realm of possibilities for for fossil fuels.

“The greatest potential for improving the accuracy of biodiesel’s GHG score is to improve the quantification of indirect land use change associated with feedstock production,” said Don Scott, director of sustainability at NBB. Under the NBF grant, NBB expects to improve the accuracy of data used in economic and life-cycle models. The biodiesel industry has set responsible goals based on the availability of feedstocks without increasing prices or acres.

Scott further explains, “The current theory of indirect land use change relies on the assumption that feedstock prices will increase, so the models are predicting outcomes nearly the opposite of what is actually happening.” In 2013, record biodiesel production demonstrated that feedstocks could remain in abundant supply. Biodiesel production increased 35 percent while soybean oil prices dropped 25 percent. “If the scientific community continues to improve the modeling, it is likely that model results will converge with reality and show zero indirect land use change emissions attributable to U.S. biodiesel,” Scott said.

NBF works closely with NBB to address national issues regarding biodiesel and hopes this improved understanding of sustainability will improve data inputs to GHG models.

How to be a Biodiesel Lobbyist: Be Honest

nealLobbyist in government often times get a bad rap. The picture conjured up is a cigar-smoking, fat-cat with slick-backed hair, trying to grease the palms of lawmakers, lying at every opportunity possible. But in this very interesting piece from Biodiesel Magazine, the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) Director of State Governmental Affairs, Shelby Neal, makes the case that his job is to educate lawmakers. And with a product as good as biodiesel, he just needs to tell the truth.

I am occasionally asked, “What is the secret to being a good lobbyist?” It is a good and interesting question. The short answer is to simply “be honest and be yourself.” While I’d love to make it more complicated than that (for purposes of job security), the reality is that adherence to these five little words will get you most of the way there.

Before I delve into a longer and perhaps more satisfying answer, I would like to make an essential point, which is that the vast majority of “lobbying” is merely education by another name. We help influencers understand technical information related to biodiesel, its feedstocks, and whatever else might keep them from making informed decisions. The thrilling, vicious, high-stakes world of lobbying pretty much only exists on television. Disappointing, I know.

Real success in the field of government affairs relies on good, old-fashioned relationship-building. And just to be clear, I am not advocating for more toothy-grinned, alpha-networking. Everybody hates that. Or at least I do. No, what I am talking about is developing genuine working relationships based on trust and mutual respect. And maybe even friendships, if you’re lucky. Once someone knows you, likes you, and trusts you, they’ll lend you their time and an open mind. And this, my friends, is fertile ground for biodiesel education. Or lobbying. Whatever you want to call it.

Shelby adds that another “secret” to lobbying success is to be around a lot, be knowledgeable, be persistent but polite, and try to be a good person. In fact, you don’t have to be some kind of registered lobbyist to do that. When you get the opportunity to educate or at least set the record straight on biodiesel, do it. Tell people about how it’s good for the environment, their vehicles, and American jobs. Gee, maybe he’s right. Maybe this lobbying thing isn’t so tough… as long as we’re talking biodiesel.