The U.S. Senate today confirmed Ernest Moniz to replace Steven Chu as the Nation’s Secretary of Energy. The 96-0 vote was welcomed by biodiesel and ethanol groups:
“Throughout his career, Ernest Moniz has supported efforts to move beyond fossil fuels to a cleaner, more secure energy future in which renewable sources play a prominent role,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “He knows that advanced biofuels like biodiesel are critical to our long-term energy and environmental security, and he has supported practical policies aimed at developing renewables in order to reduce our dependence on petroleum, create jobs and reduce harmful emissions.”
Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, issued a statement in support of the confirmation. “We are pleased that President Obama tapped such a strong advocate for policy that supports solid energy growth and is a friend of the advanced biofuels community.”
“I would like to congratulate Ernest Moniz on his confirmation as the Secretary of Energy. President Obama has chosen an excellent and well-qualified individual to lead the Department of Energy and I look forward to working with Secretary Moniz to continue to advance the growth and development of sustainable biofuels,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
The Renewable Fuels Association also congratulated Moniz. “Given his background and expertise in energy, we look forward to the secretary’s first visit to an ethanol plant. We are eager for him to see firsthand the positive economic impact the renewable fuel standard has had in creating new jobs and revitalizing rural economies,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA.
Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, added his praise of the pick. “Secretary Moniz has just the right combination of technical expertise and political experience to be very effective as the new Secretary of Energy. He clearly understands what it takes to commercialize new energy technologies, and we look forward to working with the Secretary and his colleagues going forward as the advanced ethanol industry deploys commercially in the United States and abroad.”
By a 15-5 vote, the Senate Agriculture Committee sent the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 and its commitment to renewable energy to the full Senate, which could take it up next week. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the move, especially the part that funds the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program to the tune of $1 million a year through 2018, with another $1 million a year in discretionary funding for that same time.
During an interview with Chuck at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) Washington Watch, Anne Steckel vice president of federal affairs for the NBB said she is also hopeful Congress preserves the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
“The RFS is really the backbone of the biodiesel industry,” she said. “It’s been incredibly successful for our industry, and it’s been very beneficial for consumers in general. We’re supporting over 50,000 jobs. We’re diversifying off foreign oil, and we’re helping better the environment.”
Steckel went to say that biodiesel enjoys a broad base of bipartisan support in Washington, and she is optimistic that support will continue and help that green fuel sector grow.
“The biodiesel industry is going to continue in its steady growth pattern, [producing] 1.3 billion gallons this year,” and the support of the RFS and biodiesel federal tax credit will help the industry and consumers as well.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Anne here: Anne Steckel, NBB
2013 NAFB Washington Watch Photo Album
The Intertek biofuels lab in Romeoville, Illinois has earned an important designation from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). This company news release says the Intertek lab is now listed as a testing facility on the BQ-9000® website and is a preferred lab for BQ-9000® producers and marketers by the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission (NBAC):
NBAC, a committee of the NBB, reviews and approves laboratories interested in becoming a BQ-9000® Certified Laboratory. The laboratory must have a quality management system that meets the requirements of the NBAC, and analyze biodiesel following the ASTM D6751 Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels, and follows various ASTM, UOP and EN test methods referenced within the specification.
Jeff Kaylor, Regional Vice President for Inland Waterways, stated, “The award of the BQ-9000® certification for biodiesel testing is an honor for our staff and the biodiesel laboratory. Intertek is committed to providing our clients with reliable, high quality, biofuel testing and inspection services, in the USA and on a global basis.”
Intertek has a network of biofuel laboratories that test a wide range of renewable fuel products and blends, including biodiesel, ethanol, and biomass fuels.
A researcher from India is honored for her work to use a biodiesel byproduct to replace chemicals usually used in biodiesel production. The National Biodiesel Board and the American Cleaning Institute honored Dr. B.L.A. Prabhavathi Devi from the Centre for Lipid Research at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India with the 2013 Glycerine Innovation Award Annual Honor for using glycerol-based catalysts to replace more traditional sulfuric acid and alkali catalysts.
The ACI/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.
Dr. Prabhavathi said she and her group have been researching how glycerol can be utilized for the development of novel value added products.
The use of such glycerine-based products can enhance the economies of the oleochemical and biodiesel industries.
The award includes a plaque and a $5,000 honorarium. It was presented at the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division luncheon during the 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.
The head of the National Biodiesel Board is making his case in defense of the green fuel. NBB CEO Joe Jobe recently responded in the Wall Street Journal to a previous article that tried to claim advanced biofuels aren’t being produced on a commercial scale:
Biodiesel is an EPA-designated advanced biofuel that’s made from an array of resources including waste fats and greases and agricultural oils. For the past two years, our industry has exceeded national targets and produced more than one billion gallons annually of clean, renewable fuel.
With production plants in nearly every state, the industry’s success is creating thousands of jobs in communities across the country. Furthermore, biodiesel often saves consumers money. This week, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus testified on Capitol Hill about one Naval facility saving 13 cents a gallon by purchasing 20% biodiesel blends for its heating oil, for a total reduction of some $30,000 for the winter.
Most importantly, however, the Renewable Fuel Standard is good policy because it is working to address the fact that our transportation fuel supply, which drives our economy, is reliant on a single source.
Jobe goes on to say that the price of petroleum is not based on supply and demand factors in the U.S., but on economic and political factors in “unstable and hostile regions of the world.” And he says this will continue, even if there is more domestic production of petroleum. He adds that diversifying into renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, will break the addiction and risk of having petroleum as a single transportation fuel source.
Our friends at the National Biodiesel Board are hosting a webinar on how making biodiesel from co-products of food production affects the cost of protein in the food supply on Monday, April 29, 2013 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM CDT:
We’ll also examine how to grow the current biodiesel feedstock supply responsibly and sustainably in the context of federal policies like the Renewable Fuels Standard. In addition, we’ll hear about some promising new research from the Danforth Plant Science Center which shows an increase in soybean oil yield, and its corresponding effect on protein.
Just how far can American agriculture take us in meeting our food, fuel and feed needs? Join this lively discussion on how integrated food and energy production can help agriculture live up to its full potential.
Alan Weber, Feedstock Programs Manager, National Biodiesel Board
Sam Wang, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri – St. Louis; and Member and PI, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Chris Schroeder, Director, Centrec Consulting Group, LLC
Sign up here for this interesting conversation.
New figures out from the EPA today shows that 109 million gallons of biodiesel were produced in March… up considerably from February’s numbers of about 78 million gallons.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) points out that while the EPA’s numbers for Biomass-based Diesel for March shows 127 million gallons produced, that figure also includes renewable diesel. The year-to-date total for biodiesel production is at just about 259 million. If that pace continues, biodiesel production this year will top 1 billion gallons. NBB went on to point out that biodiesel, an EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel, has exceeded targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for two consecutive years.
NBB also pointed out that biodiesel is being made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, and it’s being produced in nearly every state in the country and is used in existing diesel engines without modification. The industry supports more than 60,000 jobs across the country.
Bioheat is doing more than warming bodies; it’s warming hearts. The National Biodiesel Board announced the winners of its NYC Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup campaign, a four-week program recognizing charities in the New York area that dedicate their time and energy to provide much needed warmth to the city’s residents. A total of $30,000 in grants have gone out to three NYC charities, the largest recipient being the United Way’s Project Warmth, getting a $15,000 grant.
The United Way Project Warmth helps “warm” NYC, providing assistance to vulnerable Long Islanders who heat their home with oil. Their donation of oil heat helps families overcome a short-term financial hardship. They also offer case assistance, which results in 80% of families not needing assistance after. Their initiative also played an instrumental part in helping NY and NJ recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Achilles for Kids, a charity that wants to give out 3,500 pairs of new sneakers to low-income children with disabilities who complete a virtual marathon, received a $10,000 grant. The New York Foundling After School Program, which helps children in the South Bronx with tutoring, homework support and ongoing enrichment opportunities, picked up a $5,000 grant.
The article goes on to say that New York City is the country’s largest municipal user of biodiesel, with a 2 percent mandate for home heating oil.
Paul Nazzaro, president of Advanced Fuel Solutions and advocate for the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat Fuel education program stated, “Our NYC Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup campaign has increased awareness and support of not only Bioheat Fuel, but the profile of the great work that so many of the greater NYC nonprofits provide. As we look to increased use of Bioheat Fuel by NYC and others, we help to clean up our air and create more jobs in the heartland of our country. It’s a sustainable movement that everyone can participate in.”
In an honor bestowed on just a few, the American Oil Chemists’ Society honors the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director Steve Howell with the prestigious AOCS Fellow Award. This NBB news release says Howell has been with the board for more than 20 years as it was just getting started, leading the biodiesel industry through completing Health Effects testing, establishing ASTM standards, and securing Original Equipment Manufacturer approval, to name just a few.
“Thanks to the many technical accomplishments of Steve Howell, the U.S. biodiesel industry is now a meaningful supplement to the nation’s diesel fuel supply,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. The industry is on track for its vision of 10×22 – making up 10 percent of the overall U.S. diesel fuel supply by 2015 with a range of blends. “I can personally attest to his hard work, integrity, and very special talents. He deserves this recognition.”
Formal conferral will happen at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Montreal in May. To be named a Fellow is one of the highest forms of recognition conferred by AOCS, explained Mike Haas, a USDA researcher and Past President of AOCS.
“It’s also rare for a person who is not directly involved in research at a university or a national lab, where they would generate a trail of publications by which evaluators can assess impact, to be named an AOCS Fellow,” Haas said. “In its history AOCS has named only about 85 people as Fellows, and their names constitute some of the very best in the fats and oils professions from around the globe. Steve Howell deserves to be among them.”
Biodiesel use is on the rise. From the delivery of food and goods, to city fleets and transit systems, to construction and other heavy equipment, diesel-power is driving the economy. And on National Biodiesel Day, the anniversary of Rudolf Diesel’s birthday, Gary Haer, National Biodiesel Board Chairman, says that even if you don’t use biodiesel in your car, biodiesel still has a huge impact on your life.
“You don’t have to drive a diesel vehicle to feel the impact of diesel as it moves the freight that drives the economy,” said Haer, who is also the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Renewable Energy Group (REG). “Clean diesel technology, growing biodiesel production, and more light duty diesels on the market today are something to celebrate. It means more opportunities for biodiesel, more American jobs, and cleaner air.”
This past year biodiesel production topped 1 billion gallons for the second consecutive year. With plants in nearly every state in the country, the industry supports more than 64,000 jobs nationwide and recently announced its new 10-year vision: 10 percent of the on-road diesel market by 2022.
Continued growth is expected with the increasing demand for diesel vehicles in the U.S, market. More than 33 light- and medium-duty diesel passenger cars and trucks, as well as heavy-duty diesel models from nearly 20 different brands, will be available in the market this year. According to recent published reports, clean diesel auto sales increased by 24 percent in 2012 over 2011, while the overall U.S. auto market increased by 13.5 percent. The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) predicts that diesel vehicle sales will increase to as much as 10 percent of the American market by 2020.
Want to support the biodiesel industry? Join the Biodiesel Alliance & Backers and visit NBB on Facebook for contest and prizes.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the National Biodiesel Board and much of the focus on their 10th annual NBB Conference and Expo held in Las Vegas was spent on reminiscing over the past 20 years and looking forward to the next 20 years.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come in 20 years,” said Steve Howell, NBB’s Technical Director during the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase. “Back when we started there was not one engine company that supported biodiesel. It just goes to show you that a lot of hard work, a lot of effort and a lot of cooperation between the engine companies, the petroleum companies, and the biodiesel companies got us to this place today.”
Howell said if it weren’t for the more than $50 million in investment in diesel engine technology, we would not be here today. And where is here? This year marks the year that more passenger vehicles, light duty trucks, school buses, equipment and medium to heavy duty trucks are being offered than ever before and many of them can use up to B20 biodiesel blends.
In order for the engine manufacturers to commit to developing and selling clean diesel vehicles that can run on biodiesel, they had to know it worked. And, said Howell, it works.
Learn more about the evolution of clean diesel technology by listening to Howell’s remarks: Clean Diesel Technology: A Winning Combination
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
Camelina, energy cane and renewable gasoline are now added to the list of qualifying feedstocks and fuels approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
EPA released its final rule to identify additional fuel pathways that meet the “lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements for biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and cellulosic biofuel” under the RFS.
This final rule describes EPA’s evaluation of biofuels produced from camelina oil, which qualify as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel, as well as biofuels from energy cane which qualify as cellulosic biofuel. This final rule also qualifies renewable gasoline and renewable gasoline blendstock made from certain qualifying feedstocks as cellulosic biofuel.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is pleased with the addition of camelina oil as a feedstock. “This decision adds to the growing list of biodiesel feedstocks that meet the EPA’s standards for Advanced Biofuel and gives us yet another option for producing sustainable, domestic biodiesel that displaces imported oil,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is important for our energy security, for our economy and for addressing climate change, and we thank the EPA for conducting a thorough and fair review.”
Read EPA’s final rule here.
When you think of Las Vegas, you probably picture the bright lights, wild nightlife and gambling… probably not a home for environmentally friendly biodiesel innovation. But if you think about it, the gambling aspect really came out for a group that was an early adopter of the green fuel.
In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we talk to Russell Teall, President and Founder of Biodico; Gary H. Weinberg, who was with Haycock Petroleum and is now with Western Sierra Services; Frank Giordana, a transportation director with the Clark County School District; and James Morwood, Fleet Services Manager Support Services at the Las Vegas Valley Water District. These biodiesel pioneers gambled big on biodiesel and are now part of the group recognized with the Eye on Biodiesel: Inspiration award during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. Listen to their story about how they overcame their own doubts about the green fuel and how all of what we’re now calling BioVegas came up big winners.
You can listen to the Domestic Fuel Cast here: Domestic Fuel Cast - Las Vegas Biodiesel Innovators
You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
See more coverage on the Biodiesel Conference Blog
This past year was a roller coaster but with some big achievements, said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board during her presentation at the 10th Annual Conference in Las Vegas. One big achievement: the increase of volume of biodiesel gallons as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This, noted Steckel, reflects the ongoing growth of the biodiesel industry.
One of the biggest ongoing challenges is the efforts of the petroleum industry to end the RFS. Steckel said NBB is spending a lot of resources fighting these court cases, but she was proud to say they have been successful in winning the last three court cases. But the fight is not over.
She also addressed how devastating the RIN crisis has been for the industry and said NBB is working hard with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and petroleum industry to find a constructive solution. The industry will be seeing new regulations on this soon and NBB will continue to work with its membership to make sure the industry gets the best regulation possible.
Steckle encouraged the attendees to continue to be engaged as 2013 will be another pivotal year for the industry.
Listen to Anne Steckel’s full remarks here: Industry Engagement Critical
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
What do Alex McCurdy, Michael Morgan and Robert Willis have in common? They all work in the same lab at Utah State University (USU) and are working on three integrated pieces of biodiesel research. They are members of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, and work in Lance Seefeldt’s lab, a professor in USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a principal faculty mentor on the interdisciplinary project.
Here are some fun facts: McCurdy, Morgan and Willis were all on the team that set a land speed record with a race car design all their own and it ran on 100 percent biodiesel developed by the team. The team is also perfecting the production of fuel using yeast and bacterial platforms and also developing fuel from cheese
waste, carbon dioxide and the sun using microalgae platforms.
Alex noted that the research team has recently succeeded in producing quantities of fuels from all of these sources that have superior properties in test engines, comparing favorably to biodiesel produced from soybeans. This research was featured by the three students during the poster session at the National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
Listen to an overview of Alex’s research: Biodiesel from Microalgae, Yeast & Bacteria
Listen to an overview of Robert’s research: Liquid, Liquid Lipid Extraction
Listen to an overview of Michael’s research (he is the dragster driver): Dragster Performs on Biodiesel
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album