Biodiesel Helps Make Livestock Feed More Affordable

While there have been some in the livestock industry that have had some real heartburn with biofuels, a new report shows that biodiesel has actually made animal feed more affordable.

The National Biodiesel Board has released a new study that shows how soybean oil and meal economics favor the livestock industry, potentially saving farmers and ranchers $4.8 billion from 2005 through 2009:

The basic rule of thumb is when demand for soybean oil increases, the price of the other soybean component (soybean meal) decreases, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded study by CENTREC Consulting Group, LLC. Increasing demand for soybean oil benefits livestock feeders through lower meal prices.

Illinois farmer and former economics and statistics professor Pat Dumoulin has seen biodiesel’s benefits from every side of the equation. She and her family raise corn and soybeans as well as run a 2,100 sow operation.

“No matter whether you are feeding pigs or people, biodiesel is helping meet the world’s growing demand for protein,” Dumoulin said. “With these economics, we would all win if the trucks that brought our soybean meal ran on America’s advanced biofuel, biodiesel.”

The NBB says this new study complements a January 2010 United Soybean Board report that showed how much biodiesel supports the soybean industry.

GROWMARK To Help Grow Biodiesel Use In Illinois

GROWMARK, based in Bloomington, Illinois has a long history with selling renewable fuels. The company began marketing ethanol back in the late 1970s. Today, they are a major player in Illinois in selling high quality biodiesel. I had the chance to sit down with Mark Dehner, the company’s marketing manager of refined and renewable fuels during the National Biodiesel Board Conference. Although ethanol is a big part of their business, we focused on how biodiesel has helped to grow their business.

Dehner said that the company sells a performance blend of diesel fuel called Dieselex Gold that helps improve fuel efficiency and protects the fuel while in the hands of GROWMARK’s customers. From there, GROWMARK adds various biodiesel blends to that fuel, whether it be B2, B5, B11, which is typical in Illinois, or B20.

Illinois has been very progressive when it comes to the use of biodiesel. The state has a sales tax motor fuels between 6 1/4 percent up to 7 1/2 percent. However, the state passed a waiver that if you use a blend of biodiesel of B10 or higher, effectively B11, there is no sales tax. This becomes very cost effective for the user.

When factoring in this state incentive, the state biodiesel mandate, along with other state biodiesel mandates, the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and the blenders tax credit, Dehner sees good growth for their business this year and in years to come. Yet he said that to ensure this happens, there still needs to be some consumer education. In his experience, he’s found that when you have a chance to speak one-on-one with a customer or potential customer to address misperceptions and perceived issues about the fuel, you are usually able to clear them up and get them on board with using the fuel. But ultimately, as with any product, the fuel must be handled properly and used correctly.

GROWMARK is a huge supporter of renewable fuels and they believe that when a consumer understands the benefits they will be for the same reasons: its homegrown, its good for the environment; and it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. That’s why the company will continue to sell renewable fuels – because it the right thing to do.

You can listen to my full interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Dehner

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

National Biodiesel Foundation Silent Auction Raises $50K

Biodiesel outreach, education, research and demonstration activities have gotten a big boost as the National Biodiesel Foundation‘s 3rd Annual Silent Auction netted nearly $50,000 during last week’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Phoenix.

The Foundation is also recognizing Cima Green Energy Services for a very generous $25,000 donation at the opening of the auction:

Executive Director of the National Biodiesel Foundation (NBF) Tom Verry was pleased with the auction results. “The generosity of both donors and bidders this year shows the level of commitment and optimism of the future of the biodiesel industry,” said Verry. “We are thrilled to see the auction grow each year. With donations like those from Cima Green Energy Services and our other donors, we are now able to contribute significantly toward industry goals.”

Funds raised by the 2011 Silent Auction will support Foundation goals and activities for the coming year such as Biodiesel Sustainability Awareness. This program includes vital research contributing to the fuel’s long-term sustainability, such as lifecycle analysis, land use analysis, and water usage. Other programs it supports include Bioheat Education and Infrastructure Development. The Bioheat market alone represents potentially seven million biodiesel gallons annually. Infrastructure Development is another program supported by the NBF. This program includes jet aircraft testing, installing 150 biodiesel terminals nationwide and environmental certifications.

To make a donation or for more information about the National Biodiesel Foundation, check out its website:

The “One-Stop” Shop Biodiesel Plant

With the explosive growth expected in the biodiesel industry this year, many investors are looking to update their technologies as they bring their biodiesel plants online. Those looking for a “one-stop shop” for an entire biodiesel plant should look at two seemingly unlikely partners: McGyan Biodiesel and Biodiesel Analytical Solutions (BAS).

There is much talk in the biodiesel industry that the days of the single feedstock producer are nearing an end. The new emerging technology – multiple feedstock technologies. One such technology is the McGyan technology, a multi-feedstock technology that was first proven out in Ever Cat Fuels, a biodiesel producer located in Isanti, Minn. The plant went online in November of 2009 and was one of only two biodiesel plants that stayed in production last year.

So what is unique about this technology? David Wendorf, Director of Marketing for McGyan said that they use a transferication process. This allows them to use a wide variety of feedstocks ranging from 0 percent FFAs to 100 percent FFAs. The advantage is that the plant can always use the most cost-effective feedstocks. In addition, their technology uses no harsh chemicals, no water, produces no waste products and is scalable. And since it can use a full range of FFAs, it hasn’t meet an oil-based feedstock that it doesn’t like.

Another option with the McGyan technology is that you can add it to an ethanol plant that has corn oil extraction technology. Wendorf explained that you can use the corn oil to create biodiesel and the process also uses ethanol. In addition, you can actually create biodiesel from the excess ethanol if there is a situation where the market has too much ethanol and not enough demand. Wendorf explained that this would be another revenue stream for an ethanol plant, using the corn oil as a hedge – if the price of corn oil does go up, you can simply substitute other low cost feedstocks.

So what’s the tie with BAS? Continue reading

Biodiesel Poised to Have an Explosive Year

The mood was optimistic during Advance: 2011 Biodiesel Conference & Expo last week. Why? Because all signs are pointing to the industry growing by leaps and bounds this year. I spoke with Donald Nelson, Director, National Sales with REG (Renewable Energy Group), the largest biodiesel company in the U.S. about RINS and how, if at all, they can signal positive things in the marketplace.

To begin, I asked Nelson to explain what a RIN was. It’s a Renewable Identification Number (RIN). “To make it simple,” said Nelson, “RINS really is the currency of the RFS2. That’s how the EPA measures the compliance of an obligated party.” He continued by explaining that for each gallon of biodiesel produced, 1.5 RINs are generated that travel with that gallon to the blender and then the blender or obligated party separate that RIN from the “wet gallon” and at this point, the RIN can travel separately from the fuel.

Last year was a tough year for the biodiesel industry. The $1 per gallon tax credit had expired and several obligated parties sued the EPA over the RFS2 biodiesel mandate numbers (under the RFS2 biodiesel qualifies as biomass based diesel). Fortunately, by the end of the year, the EPA won the suit and the credit came back, but by this time there weren’t enough RINS in the marketplace to meet demand to the uncertainty caused by the aforementioned issues.

Nelson said there were 1.15 billion gallons of material that needed to be consumed when you add 2009 and 2010 together but it appears that the marketplace will be short 95 million gallons. Yet he’s not worried and is very confident that the industry can not only make up for the shortfall this year, but also meet the RFS2 numbers. Combined this will be a total of approximately 925 million gallons of biodiesel needed to be produced this year. To put it in perspective, last year the industry produced 310 million gallons. Nelson said this is a 300 percent increase in production but there are 2.2 billion gallons of biodiesel production registered with the EPA, although much of it is not online.

So what’s next for the industry? Explosive growth. Plants are coming back online although Nelson said some still need additional investment dollars to get back up and running. In addition, the obligated parties are creating plans to build out the much needed infrastructure so the fuel can get where it needs to go.

Nelson concluded that he thinks the industry is going to see tremendous growth over the next couple of years and “It’s very exciting.”

You can listen to my full interview with Don here: Interview with REG's Donald Nelson

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Board Offers RFS2 Webinars

The new Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) will require at least 800 million gallons of biodiesel are used this year … and how petroleum refiners and importers and distillate distributors get to that number will be the subject of a series of free webinars offered by the National Biodiesel Board.

NBB officials say the 90-minute webinars, entitled “RFS2 Ready: Biodiesel Producers Ready to Meet 2011 RFS2 Requirements,” will offer information on how to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 volume requirements and will be tailored for each region of the country:

Exclusive biodiesel market analysis will also include:
• Month-by-month, gallon-by-gallon outlook for 2011 biodiesel supply and demand
• Risk management and pricing strategies utilized for RINs compliance
• Federal, state and PADD-specific legislative policies driving biodiesel demand
• New end-user markets pushing biodiesel sales

New England, Central Atlantic, and Lower Atlantic
Date: April 7, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. EST

Date: February 24, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. CST

PAD District 3: Gulf Coast
Date: March 31, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. CST

PAD District 4: Rocky Mountain
Date: March 24, 2011, Thursday
Time:10:00 a.m. MT

PAD District 5: West Coast
Date: March 10, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. PT

Hangin’ With Some Next Gen Biodiesel Scientists

During the National Biodiesel Board Conference (NBB) last week, I had the opportunity to hang out with some “Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel“. There were 10 in attendance at this year’s conference and the two that I spent time with were Evan Le, a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada and Lucas Ellis, in a graduate Biochemical Engineering program at Dartmouth and a co-chair of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

I asked Le how he became involved in biodiesel and he said that it was actually a lot of professors pushing him in that direction and a lot of minor biodiesel projects in the courses he took that got him on his way. Eventually, his senior design project was to design a biodiesel project and he chose to focus on algae. This is when he truly discovered there is a lot of potential in biodiesel and he wanted to be one of the scientists who helps unlock this potential.

Le has just begun in career as a biodiesel scientist. He is going to spend the next two years working at Sandia National Laboratory where he will continue working with algae. He wants to focus on research on how to scale up algal biofuels from pilot to commercial scale. Today, he says, it takes too much energy to produce algal biofuels so they are not commercially viable. From there, he plans on working towards in Ph.D. in biodiesel.

While Le is focusing on algal biofuels, Lucas Ellis is actually focusing on cellulosic biofuels in his graduate program at Dartmouth, but he too is very interested in algae. However, he doesn’t feel that cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel compete, but rather are two complementary technologies that both have roles in energy production. Ellis also feels that the skills he is developing researching cellulosic ethanol, are the same skills needed to research and develop advanced biodiesel.

Ellis also fell into biodiesel, per se, while in his undergraduate program and once he got the biodiesel bug, it stayed with him. So when he was given the opportunity to become involved with Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, he jumped at the chance. Although the organization is relatively young with 30 founding members, they have a declaration that has been signed by more than a 1,000 budding biodiesel scientists around the world dedicating their careers to researching and developing the next technologies for advanced biofuels.

While at the conference, the 10 next gen biodiesel scientists met with various biodiesel mentors during a luncheon where students and professionals alike shared their ideas and visions for the future of biodiesel.

You can listen to my full interview with Evan and Lucas here: Interview with Evan & Lucas

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

National Biodiesel Conference Wraps Up

NBB Membership MeetingThe 2011 National Biodiesel Conference has been a scene of optimism for the industry. To wrap things up I spoke with Donnell Rehagen, COO, National Biodiesel Board. He says that we had approximately 1,100 in attendance and it looked like business was getting done.

Yesterday NBB held its annual membership meeting and approved projects and a plan that will begin this fall. This gives the staff a “play book” to execute initiatives from market development to governmental affairs.

So let’s look forward to next year when the conference will take place in Orlando, FL!

You can listen to my interview with Donnell here: Interview with Donnell Rehagen

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

New Holland Still Showing Strong Support For Biodiesel

New Holland Boomer 8NWhy is there a New Holland Boomer 8N photo on here when talking about the National Biodiesel Conference? Because the company is once again a conference sponsor of the media room I’ve been working out of and the Biodiesel Conference Blog that ZimmComm New Media is helping manage for the 6th year!

I want to say a big thanks to New Holland for their support and in particular to Gene Hemphill, past Eye on Biodiesel Award winner. I spoke with Gene about New Holland’s support for the industry. He reminded me of a trip I took with him and NBB CEO Joe Jobe to Jay Leno’s Garage where we met Jay and learned about his support of biodiesel. It sounds like there might be some new developments with Jay and biodiesel brewing! That’s where the Boomer 8N comes in as you’ll hear him say in our interview.

New Holland recognizes the importance of biodiesel as an alternative source of energy and the opportunities that it brings to our customers. We were the first agricultural equipment brand to fully embrace the potential of biodiesel. As the clean energy leader, we support our customer’s fuel choices, and that’s why we provide products with the flexibility to confidently run on everything from plain diesel to 100% biodiesel.

You can listen to my interview with Gene here: Gene Hemphill Interview

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Positive Legislative Outlook For Biodiesel

Manning FeraciDuring the last general session of the National Biodiesel Conference we got the legislative outlook from Manning Feraci, Vice President for Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. He talked about advancing to the next level of effectiveness in the capitol halls of America.

You can find some current resources regarding legislative issues on the NBB website:

* Renewable Fuel Standard – RFS-2 Action Center
* October 3, 2008 Tax Extender’s Package
* Tax Incentive
* Farm Bill
* Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs)
You can listen to Manning’s remarks here: Manning Feraci Remarks

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Annual Eye on Biodiesel Award Winners

The “Eye on Biodiesel” Awards were presented today during our last general session at the conference. I’m going to list them with their comments from the stage starting with the Inspiration Award. Accepting was Nick Portonova.

Inspiration: Deer Valley Unified School District. This Arizona school district began its biodiesel program in 1999, long before the fuel was a known quantity. Now the district uses biodiesel blends from B5 to B50 in all 236 school buses. Transportation Director Nick Portonova says he routinely takes calls from across the nation, helping answer questions that other fleets have. Portonova added the biggest benefit of using biodiesel is the healthier choice they are making for their students.

Inspiration comments here: Inspiration Comments

Our next award is the Innovation Award. Accepting was Frank Dela Vara, Director of Environmental Affairs, Disneyland Resort.

Innovation: Disneyland Resort. The resort is a national landmark whose effort to reduce emissions through biodiesel use displaces 200,000 gallons a year of petroleum diesel. Their innovative solution saved their iconic steam trains and is a shining example of biodiesel use.

Innovation comments here: Innovation Comments

Next up was the Influence Award. Accepting was Keith Kerman, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Influence: City of New York.
New York City Department of Sanitation, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. City of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed landmark air quality legislation that includes a provision requiring all heating oil sold within New York City to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel by October 1, 2012. By moving to environmentally-friendly Bioheat TM, the City will annually replace approximately 20 million gallons of petroleum-based heating fuel. The New York City Department of Sanitation uses biodiesel blends of B5-B20 in its 4,000 diesel vehicles, which include many large trucks and snow plows. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has operated its diverse fleet of vehicles as well as more than 130 buildings on B20-B100 blends since 2006. Because of these two departments’ commitment to cleaner fuels, New York City is the nation’s largest municipal user of biodiesel.

Influence comments here: Influence Comments

Our next award was the Initiative Award. Accepting were the Grassroots Team Captains and Alicia Clancy-REG.

Initiative: NBB Grassroots Team Captains. The NBB grassroots initiative empowers biodiesel industry leaders and supporters to influence public discussion. NBB’s grassroots success has been heralded by Hill staff and trade groups alike. The successful program centers on team captains who carry out targeted objectives in their states. Since July 2009 the team captains have rallied contacts in key states to support a positive legislative framework for biodiesel. In just six weeks, NBB Grassroots Team Captains generated 8,000 comments on pending federal legislation. Their volunteer efforts have also led to countless earned media placements, successful site visits, and thousands of calls and letters to elected leaders. This group was critical in establishing the policy framework that exists today.

Initiative comments here: Initiative Comments

The Industry Partner Award was next. Accepting was Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board.

Industry Partnership: Nebraska Soybean Board. The Nebraska Soybean Board has been a leader among state soybean organizations in its support of biodiesel. Staff and farmer leaders regularly support and participate in critical biodiesel projects and events. For example, Nebraska recently hosted a delegation of oil heat leaders, a group that plans to blend 325 million gallons of biodiesel and wanted to see firsthand the source of the product. The Board also played a major role spearheading the largest proactive communications effort in industry history. They introduced new state soybean organizations to the biodiesel industry, and continue to support the industry through major investments in biodiesel projects.

Industry Partner comments here: Industry Partner Comments

Our final award was the Impact Award. Accepting was Adam J. Gryglak, Chief Engineer, Powertrain Engineering for Ford. I actually interviewed him so I’ll post that interview here for you.

Impact: Ford Motor Company. As a leader in the automotive industry, Ford Motor Company has again stepped to the forefront with its support for and promotion of biodiesel. Ford undertook the task of designing, engineering and manufacturing its entire lineup of all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with the specific goal of supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends for all its diesel customers, starting in 2011 and beyond. Ford’s investment into the intense research, development and testing efforts that led to that support are now signified by the silver B20 emblem that is proudly displayed on the side of every new Ford Super Duty diesel truck. Ford’s continued support has made a significant impact on the marketplace, instilling even greater consumer confidence in biodiesel.

You can listen to my interview with Adam here: Interview with Adam Gryglak

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Conference Panel On Government Policy

NBC Panel DiscussionDuring the second general session at the National Biodiesel Conference we heard about the role of government policy in advancing biodiesel from a panel of experts.

Participating on the panel were moderator Shelby Neal – National Biodiesel Board; Eric Bowen – Renewable Energy Group Inc./California Biodiesel Alliance Chairman; Ed Hegland – Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council/NBB Past Chairman; Steven Levy – Sprague Energy; Rebecca Richardson – MARC-IV and Ben Wootton – Keystone Biofuels, Inc.

You can listen to the panel discussion here: Panel Discussion on Govt. Policy

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

NBB Chairman Very Upbeat

Gary HaerThis morning the Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board, Gary Haer, REG, took to the stage. I spoke with him before the general session started and he says that everyone is upbeat here at the conference and excited about the prospects in 2011.

He says the RFS provides a demand that biodiesel will fill as the only advanced biofuel. He also says that NBB will be working on getting the tax credit back since it complements the RFS.

You can listen to my interview with Gary here: Interview with Gary Haer

You can listen to Gary’s speech here: Gary Haer Remarks

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

New Products In Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

Biodiesel Vehicle ShowcaseDuring the National Biodiesel Conference some of the latest biodiesel powered vehicles are on display inside the trade show. Like last year, a presentation was made that included comments from various auto company and vehicle representatives.

Pictured is Joe Jobe, CEO, NBB, welcoming everyone to the showcase. I’ve got photos of the vehicles on display in the photo album. Emceeing the event was Jennifer Weaver, NBB OEM Outreach and Education Program.

You can listen to the full presentation from the vehicle showcase here: : Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album