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

Skeptic Publisher Keynotes Biodiesel Conference

Biodiesel Conference PanelBe skeptical of phony “science.” Good advice and I wish more people who take it, especially when it comes to biofuels and issues like climate change. Today’s National Biodiesel Conference keynote speaker provided lots of examples of how people are easily fooled. He was Michael Shermer, Skeptic Magazine.

After the session I spoke with Michael and asked him to summarize a key point he made in his comments about the danger of making governmental decisions that will profoundly impact our economy when it comes to things like climate change and carbon footprinting. He says that we can know that the Earth is getting warmer and that sea levels have risen but after that the data gets so fuzzy and the “error bars” get so wide it’s not practical to make political decisions. As he puts it, “It’s reasonable to be skeptical.”

You can listen to my interview with Michael here: Interview with Michael Shermer

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Conference Petroleum Panel

Biodiesel Conference PanelMaybe this will become a tradition. At this year’s National Bioediesel Conference we got a repeat of last year’s petroleum industry experts panel. Included this year are Ron Marr – Minnesota Soybean Processors; David Blatnik – Marathon Petroleum Company; John Cusick – Morgan Stanley Capital Group.; Bruce Heine – Magellan Midstream Partners; Jim Lelio – Kinder Morgan Pipeline Group and C. Mike Reed – NIC Holding Corp.

I would love to summarize their discussion but I’m also taking photos today along with some other duties like the Biodiesel Conference Blog so I’ll let you listen in: Petroleum Industry Panel Discussion

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Opening Remarks – Joe Jobe at Biodiesel Conference

John HeishorfferThe opening general session of the National Biodiesel Conference is now taking place and NBB CEO Joe Jobe just left the stage. Joe gave us a rousing opening speech and I’ve recorded it for you so that you can listen or download below.

Joe says the conference will rock and he hopes that all the attendees will have opportunities to conduct some real business as we look at an optimistic year for the industry. He pledges to use all resources to get the biodiesel tax credit extended this year.

You can listen Joe’s opening remarks here: Opening Comments - Joe Jobe

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

National Biodiesel Conference Photos

Joe JobeAfter the opening Super Bowl Party at the National Biodiesel Conference we had music on stage from Emily Richards and Jason Brock, long time attendees and performers. Joining them were several members of the Biodiesel Jam Band. Here’s NBB CEO Joe Jobe with Scottie Nisula on guitar. We had a number of other folks join in on stage too.

I’ve now got a photo album started which I’ll be adding to during the convention. Our opening general session is about to start so I’ve got to get over there. I’ll be doing some posts afterward that will include audio from the session. Check back here often for updates.

Post Update: Check out what you missed on stage last night in the video.

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

National Biodiesel Foundation Needs Your Support

John HeishorfferDuring the Super Bowl party at the National Biodiesel Conference you could support the National Biodiesel Foundation in several ways that included buying raffle tickets for a post-half time raffle. Also in progress is a silent auction for some very incredible items like an autographed album by the Beatles. If you’re at the conference the silent auction runs through Tuesday. Hint, hint.

I spoke about supporting the foundation with John Hiesdorffer, Iowa Soybean Association, pictured center. He describes the purpose of the foundation and how you can support it even if you’re not at the conference.

You can listen to my interview with John here: Interview with John Hiesdorffer

National Biodiesel Conference Outlook Bright

Joe JobeThe 2011 National Biodiesel Conference is underway and the party has started. The Super Bowl Party that is. Before the game the CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, Joe Jobe, played meet the press in the media room. He’s seen here being interviewed. I’ll be biodiesel blogging once again here on Domestic Fuel and on the Biodiesel Conference Blog.

I spoke with Joe to get an “advance” look at this year’s conference. Joe starts out by explaining what the ADVANCE theme means. He also says that there will be a good crowd of the right people who are here to get down to business at the beginning of what looks like a very promising year for the industry.

You can listen to my interview with Joe here: Interview with Joe Jobe

Biodiesel Board Chair Sees Advance in Biodiesel

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is just a few days away, set to begin on Sunday and run through Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, and the theme for the event in Phoenix, Arizona is “Advance” – reflecting the fact that biodiesel is classified as an advanced biofuel by EPA under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). So it’s only fitting that the National Biodiesel Board’s chairman provides us with a preview of what will be talked about during the conference.

Gary Haer, who also serves as vice president of sales and marketing for REG (Renewable Energy Group), the nation’s largest biodiesel producer, talked about the future of the green fuel at last week’s Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. During a panel session entitled “Advanced Biofuels Panel – A Turning Point for Renewable Energy,” Haer said that after a very challenging 2010, where the industry held its breath nearly all year while waiting for Congress to finally renew the federal $1-a-gallon tax incentive, biodiesel is ready to move forward as the nation’s first advanced biofuel.

“By EPA definition, an advanced biofuel must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent. That gives us those environmental benefits, but it’s also good to note that biodiesel and advanced biofuels promote energy security … and they also contribute economic benefits for agriculture and rural America.”

Haer points out that biodiesel does not compete with food supplies and is more efficient than ever in the amount of energy used to produce each unit of energy. “Biodiesel continues to improve its energy balance. Today, it generates four units of energy for every unit consumed in the manufacturing and processing for finished product.”

Haer says the industry has plenty of capacity to meet the RFS2 requirements, as well as having enough feedstocks to produce the biodiesel to meet the increasing requirements. And he says there’s no new technology that has to be developed to meet that requirement. “With biodiesel, that next generation [of renewable fuels] is here today. The capacity, the industry is there. We’re ready to go, and we’re ready to utilize additional feedstock sources as they become commercially developed and commercially available.”

Haer admits there are some challenges out there, but the potential is so great. And he says since the stakes in the economy are so high, they must succeed.

“We’re providing jobs, and we’re providing green collar jobs for Americans. And we work hard to keep U.S. dollars in the U.S. economy.”

You can listen to Haer’s full remarks here: Gary Haer, NBB Chairman , as well as following along with his powerpoint presentation at this link.

DF Cast: New Year, New Legislation for Ethanol, Biodiesel

The new year brings talk of new legislation for the ethanol and biodiesel industries.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we talk to some of the leaders of the green fuels’ industries, as well as the head of the nation’s largest farm organization, to get their takes on what should be coming from Washington, D.C. as far as ethanol and biodiesel legislation is involved.

Comments include American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman explaining why his group wants to shift the public money away from the ethanol blender’s credit towards infrastructure, despite the fact that there are many Farm Bureau members who have ethanol interests. Retired General Wesley Clark, who serves as co-chairman of Growth Energy, a group representing ethanol interests, agrees with Stallman’s assessment of moving more money toward infrastructure. Meanwhile, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the real focus needs to be on this nation’s energy policy and welcomes the debate. On the biodiesel side of the house, Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board and vice president of sales and marketing for the nation’s largest biodiesel producer, Renewable Energy Group, Gary Haer, says the green fuel enjoyed a Christmas gift with the renewal of the federal one-dollar-a-gallon biodiesel tax incentive, even though it’s set to expire again at the end of this year. And he says getting that incentive renewed is a big priority for the biodiesel industry in the coming year. Haer also talks about how the biodiesel industry needs to work on its image by making sure people know biodiesel is truly an advanced biofuel, available right now. Those efforts are helped by biodiesel’s partner, the United Soybean Board, whose chairman, Marc Curtis, a soybean grower from Mississippi, points out that biodiesel adds 25 cents to the price for every bushel of beans sold.

It’s an interesting conversation, and I’m sure we’ll hear even more during the biodiesel and ethanol industries respective conferences, both going on in Phoenix, Arizona in February. In the meantime, you can hear what these folks are saying about the legislative year to come in this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast here. Domestic Fuel Cast

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.:

Biodiesel Conference Registration Extended

Recognizing just how important the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is to everyone with ties to the industry, our friends at the National Biodiesel Board have extended the deadline to register for the Feb. 6-9 event in Phoenix, Arizona to Feb. 1.

NBB CEO Joe Jobe says:

The uncertainty surrounding the biodiesel tax credit and the implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard-2 made 2010 tough on all of us, to be sure. But we have high hopes that this conference will be the springboard to greater opportunities. In fact, 2011 has the potential to be a banner year for biodiesel production. The RFS2, now that it is fully implemented, will be the driving force behind biodiesel demand in 2011 and beyond. NBB recognizes that this relatively new legislation is still unclear to many in the industry. That’s why we are offering a comprehensive workshop, free with your full registration, which will dive into the “nuts and bolts” of the RFS2, featuring some of the top experts on the issue. This is truly a “can’t miss” event if you plan to be part of the biodiesel industry moving forward.

More information is available on the conference website. Plus, you can follow our coverage of the event on the conference blog!

Just a quick update …
The good folks at Renewable Energy Group (REG) will host their Corporate Update & 2011 Market Outlook at the biodiesel conference. Make sure to join them on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at the Phoenix Convention Center, North131C, 100 Level.

E-mail your RSVP to alicia.clancy@regfuel.com.