Here is a fun fact. Did you know that the average age of a person working in the Mexican biodiesel industry is 30 years old or younger? A bit different than in the U.S. where the average age is much older and the industry is recruiting students to join the biodiesel ranks with the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. How did I come to know this interesting fact? By speaking with Daniel Gomez, with Solben during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
Solben, founded about six years ago, develops and commercializes multi-feedstock technology for biodiesel production. Today, nearly 70 percent of all the biodiesel producers in Mexico use Solben technology.
Gomez explained that biodiesel production in Mexico is like going back 10 years in the U.S. Last year the biodiesel industry produced was 2.5 million gallons and the year before that .5 million gallons and in 2013 the industry will double to 5 million gallons. He continued by saying that if you go back to the late 90s in the U.S., Mexico is now on that same trajectory and the government is looking at legislation that would support the increased growth and use of biodiesel. He hopes that by next year the country will see good things for biodiesel and from there the industry will grow exponentially.
Learn more about Solben and the potential for biodiesel in Mexico by listening to my interview with Daniel here: Meet Solben
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
Iowa Biodiesel producers and supporters took to the Iowa State Capitol yesterday during the Iowa Biodiesel Board’s (IBB) annual Day on the Hill. While there they asked legislators for their support in fulfilling a bold new domestic energy goal. The Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) is asking for expanded state policies that foster biodiesel growth and will be good for Iowans through increased economic activity, job growth and national energy prestige.
IBB leaders said Iowa biodiesel production could double by 2022 as a part of a new national goal. Last week, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) unveiled the new goal: “10 by 22,” which means biodiesel would make up 10 percent of the nation’s on-road diesel supply by 2022. According to NBB, reaching this goal depends upon continued technological and agricultural advancements, but is responsible and attainable.
“As the nation’s leading biodiesel producer, Iowa is poised to play a major role in this bold new effort, and would benefit from the increased production,” said Randy Olson, IBB executive director. “Under the 10 by 22 plan, we estimate Iowa could double its production, which would mean current plants would operate at or near full capacity. This would enhance Iowa’s economic development.”
Olson added that successful state policies, such as the current incentive for fuel retailers to blend biodiesel and a producer’s credit, help keep Iowa competitive with surrounding states.
Recent economic studies show Iowa biodiesel supported nearly 5,000 jobs in the state in 2012. The industry’s contribution to Iowa’s GDP was nearly $400 million in 2012. Also, corn, soybean and livestock producers all benefit from biodiesel production, according to economic analysis. IBB says the industry’s 10 x 22 goal envisions a more diversified future energy portfolio that would include biodiesel making up 10 percent of the diesel fuel supply. This goal is benchmarked to the on-road volumes but expected to be used in various blend levels in various applications.
The biodiesel industry has many to thank for efforts that have lead to greater adoption and support of biodiesel. One area that has been an early adopter is the Big Apple – New York City. Under the leadership of John D. Maniscalco, the CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association, New York City recently passed landmark registration: beginning in October 2012, all heating oil sold in the city must contain at least two percent biodiesel.
This cleaner burning, domestic fuel blend known as Bioheat® will replace up to 20 million gallons of petroleum a year. The efforts of Maniscalco and the support provided by the New York Oil Heating Association made this unprecedented legislation possible.
It is these efforts, along with others, that led to his Eye on Biodiesel award from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo this week in Las Vegas.
With the help of NBB and its dedicated Bioheat program, there is currently a Bioheat consumer education campaign running in the Big Apple. Maniscalco hopes this will increase awareness and support of biodiesel. His next two goals for this year are to increase the Bioheat legislation to the entire state of New York, as well as increase the Bioheat biodiesel blend of 2 percent to at least 5 percent.
Maniscalco is also giving back to the community as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues. He is sponsoring a “NYC Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup” campaign along with Midwest biodiesel producers. Through the campaign the biodiesel industry is offering a grant to three charities – $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 – but you must vote now to determine who will win.
Listen to my interview with John here: Next Steps for Bioheat in the Big Apple
Listen to John’s presentation during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference here: Industry Engagement Critical
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
Citing a need for increasing jobs and combating climate change, President Obama pledged to do more to “speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy” during his 2013 State of the Union address.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. And we’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year — let’s drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all in on clean energy, so must we.
Now, in the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. And that’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That’s got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water.
Although there was no mention of biofuels in the speech, both ethanol and biodiesel organizations issued statements stressing their importance for the nation in achieving the president’s goals. “Biofuels can provide the eco-boost the U.S. economy needs,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. ““I am pleased that President Obama will continue to pursue policies that increase the use of cleaner, renewable energy, which is better for our environment and the air we breathe,” Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said. Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, added that the biodiesel industry is poised to play a growing role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “Biodiesel is a practical, cost-effective and bipartisan solution that’s here today to address this problem,” Steckel said.
The 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers convention kicks off this week in Orlando, Florida and heading into the event General Motors has announced it new 2014 Chevy Cruze light-duty diesel passenger car is approved for use with B20 (20 percent biodiesel).
“We applaud General Motors for its foresight in approving the new diesel Chevy Cruze for use with B20 biodiesel blends,” said Steve Howell, Technical Director for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “Many people do not realize that today’s new technology diesel engines powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provide tailpipe emissions as clean or cleaner than natural gas or gasoline, while providing superior fuel economy, horsepower, and durability.”
“In addition,” said Howell, “when you combine the increased efficiency diesel engines with the low carbon nature of an Advanced Biofuel like biodiesel, new technology diesel engines are positioned to become the clean-and green-technology of the future, and we’re proud to see GM leading the way with its support for B20.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel features an advanced 2.0L clean diesel engine that will offer an estimated 42 mpg highway with an automatic transmission and based on GM testing. According to NBB, clean diesels using modern diesel exhaust technology and ultra low sulfur fuel are over 90 percent cleaner than older models, and the Chevy Cruze is the cleanest diesel passenger car model ever produced by General Motors.
Other automakers are adding biodiesel-approved vehicles to their line-up as well including Ford and Chrysler.
Ever wondered how to find local biodiesel retail filling stations? Now you don’t need to with the BiodieselNow smart phone app.
BiodieselNow, a new app offered by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), gives users the ability to quickly find biodiesel fueling stations, track fuel purchases and earn rewards.
Introduced today at the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference, the app is available for both Apple and Android devices and provides valuable mapping information on biodiesel fueling stations across the US.
BiodieselNow app users can stay up-to-date on the latest biodiesel news, including federal and state regulations, quickly locate biodiesel fueling stations, and easily log their biodiesel usage along the way. Every gallon of fuel purchased earns biodiesel reward points that are redeemable toward biodiesel merchandise in NBB’s online store.
“This app puts America’s advanced biofuel in the palm of your hand. We are very excited to be able to participate more actively in the mobile communication world and use the latest technology to get even more people tuned in to biodiesel,” said Doug Whitehead, Director of Operations of NBB. “As the biodiesel industry continues to advance and consumption grows, we feel it’s important to help users find those retail locations and improve communication between NBB and the industry.”
There are hundreds of retail stations making biodiesel blends available to the public both at filling stations and fuel docks. The BiodieselNow app could not have been launched at a better time and makes finding those stations easier than ever before. Download the app today to find biodiesel, now.
You can find the app in the iTunes Store and Google Play.
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
The opening general session of this year’s National Biodiesel Conference was a fantastic look back at 20 years of the National Biodiesel Board and 10 years of this conference. After some opening educational sessions the first general session took place.
Here are some excerpts from this morning’s opening speech by Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB.
In thinking about what I wanted to say today it occurred to me that the past and future of the biodiesel industry can best be described in three distinct eras. These eras are distinct for the biodiesel industry but also distinct as stand-alone eras in history.
The first 10 years, is what I think of as biodiesel’s childhood. The second 10 year era, roughly the past decade, is what I think of as biodiesel’s teenage years. And like many teenagers, the industry was awkward, rebellious, and emotionally unstable during this period.
And then finally I will talk about the next ten years, which I believe is the era where biodiesel enters early adulthood.
Biodiesel will be in its 20′s during this period and like most people in their 20′s, this era will provide a lot of exciting growth, development, and innovation to look forward to – as long as we stay dedicated and unified as an industry.
You can listen to all of Joe’s opening speech here: Joe Jobe Opening Speech
We’ll have more to share from today’s activities as time permits!
2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
Hello and welcome to the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference. We’re at the Mirage in Las Vegas and ready to get some momentum going for the industry.
Joanna Schroeder and I will be here providing coverage which will include photos and interviews so check back often. In fact, I’ve already got a photo album started: 2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
While we’re here, Cindy will be over at the Wynn covering the National Ethanol Conference. Yep, they are at the same time this year. It is making it interesting for your biofuel bloggers to get it all done but we will.
There are 16 college students who are attending the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Conference that kicks off today in Las Vegas. One student is Jeremy Ferrell, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, who sees great potential for biodiesel to help revitalize rural areas once dominated by tobacco. Today, Ferrell conducts biodiesel research at an industrial ecology project in North Carolina.
“What fascinates me about biodiesel is its diversity across numerous sectors,” said Ferrell. “The opportunity for biodiesel to enhance rural economies is one of the things that drives my career.”
The students are able to attend the conference through a scholarship program offered to members of Next Generation Scientists for biodiesel, an NBB program with the goal of educating and collaborating with young scientists. The United Soybean Board also supports the program through the soybean checkoff.
“They are often called ‘student scientists,’ but the reality is that these are full-fledged scientists, contributing to the large body of work that makes up biofuels research in this country,” said Kyle Anderson, NBB technical project manager. “There is tremendous potential for this NBB program to have a lasting impact on biodiesel research. It’s a great investment to share solid information and build relationships with tomorrow’s scientific thought leaders.”
Another student who will be attending the event is Nina De la Rosa, an Environmental Studies student at Florida International University in Miami. She, along with the other students, will present posters on their research during the event.
“I believe the conference will present engaging information and activities that will allow me to solidify my knowledge, and strengthen research and career interests that I hope to pursue in my professional life,” said De la Rosa. “The knowledge and professional network I gain from this conference will only allow my passion for biofuels to grow and strengthen my commitment to continue in a field that will remain of high importance in our quest for global sustainability.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rules for the 2013 Renewable Fuels Standard yesterday. A portion of the proposal focused on dealing with Renewable Identification Number (RIN) fraud. Last year, several individuals were indicted for committing fraud by selling fake biodiesel RINS. The proposal is open for comment until March 19, 2013 and the industry is just now beginning to review and digest what it entails.
“While we are still reviewing the details, this proposal appears to be another positive step toward ensuring that RIN fraud is a thing of the past,” said Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board’s vice president of federal affairs. “We want to thank the EPA for working aggressively to address this issue and for proposing constructive solutions that will restore confidence in RIN markets.”
Steckel continued, “This problem was caused by a handful of wrongdoers who took advantage of a good policy for advancing America’s energy security. Two of those people are now facing significant prison time, and that enforcement along with these tightened regulations will go a long way toward preventing anything like this from happening again.”
The organization intends to continue working cooperatively with the EPA and our partners in the petroleum sector in bringing this issue to closure.
While the fraud cases were around biodiesel RINS, the EPA proposed rules addresses fraud across all renewable fuel sectors of the RFS. This includes ethanol RINS and cellulosic RINS. Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy said, “We are pleased to see that EPA is moving forward with a voluntary program to address the concerns raised about the integrity of RINS in the RFS program. We look forward to reviewing the proposal and will work with EPA to ensure that the program is successful.”
The biodiesel industry is indicating is support today for the proposed rules from the EPA establishing this year’s advanced biofuels requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFs). In response, Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), thanked the EPA and the Obama administration for standing strong behind the advanced biofuels standards. She indicated that the U.S. biodiesel industry is ready to meet these requirements, which means reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a better economy and more domestic fuel choices for consumers.
“With plants across the country and more than a billion gallons of production last year, the U.S. biodiesel industry is already the leading producer of Advanced Biofuels in the country, accounting for more than 80 percent of required production to date,” Steckel continued. “The industry is adding new feedstocks and building capacity every year, and this policy will only help us continue that growth.”
For 2013, the EPA’s proposal calls for an overall advanced biofuel requirement of 2.75 billion gallons. Within that total, explained Steckel, the biomass-based diesel requirement – which has already been finalized and was not a part of today’s announcement – is 1.28 billion gallons. Refiners have the option of using biodiesel or other EPA-designated advanced biofuels to help fill the remaining overall advanced biofuel pool, and many experts are predicting that biodiesel will play an increasing role in doing so this year.
Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the advanced biofuels requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Biodiesel is classified in the RFS as an advanced biofuels, and last year more than 1 billion gallons were produced by U.S. biodiesel producers. In response, the National Biodiesel Board’s Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs made the following statement:
“This is just the latest in a series of cases in which the oil industry has tried unsuccessfully to re-litigate the standards for renewable fuels, and it is yet another victory for our nation’s shift toward cleaner, more diverse energy supplies,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “The fact is that the RFS is a very effective program for improving U.S. energy security, creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to working constructively with our partners in the petroleum industry to meet these goals moving forward.”
According to statistics provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) biodiesel production in the U.S. broke the 1 billion mark for the second consecutive year. The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons was roughly flat over 2011 production, exceeding it by just 6 million gallons.
“These numbers reflect the ongoing growth and development of our industry and represent real jobs at plants across the country,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).”Biodiesel continues to account for the vast majority of the nation’s Advanced Biofuel production and is playing a significant role in diversifying our energy supplies with clean, American-made fuel.”
According to EPA numbers. production for the month of December totaled just 59 million gallons, the lowest monthly volume of the year. The December total marked the close of a year-end slump in which biodiesel production dropped significantly as Congress failed to renew the biodiesel tax incentive. However, with the new year brought the $1-per-gallon incentive renewal as part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation.
“It’s difficult not to wonder how much additional production and jobs could have been created if the biodiesel tax incentive had remained in place in 2012,” Steckel said. “It was a missed opportunity that significantly hurt many producers. But we are pleased that Congress reinstated the tax credit earlier this month and we expect significant growth in 2013.”
EPA’s reports biodiesel production as part of its Biomass-based Diesel category in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The EPA numbers show a total of just over 62 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel for the month of December, but that figure includes several million gallons of renewable diesel production.
For the first time ever the National Biodiesel Conference will be held in Las Vegas. The Domestic Fuel team will be there. Here’s where you can find registration information.
To get a preview of what’s to come listen in on an interview with Jessica Robinson, Director of Communications for the National Biodiesel Board. The conference theme is Momentum. Jessica says the theme fits on several levels. To start with, the National Biodiesel Board and biodiesel is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Then you have to look at the challenging year the industry had in 2012. Now NBB feels like it is poised for new growth in 2013. It is the first time the conference has been held in Las Vegas.
You can listen to my preview interview with Jessica here: Preview Interview with Jessica Robinson
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who just accepted a second four-year term as part of the Obama Administration’s second term, will give a keynote address at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Las Vegas February 4-7, 2013. Vilsack is widely recognized for his leadership in support of the biofuels industry. His address will close out the conference on Thursday, Feb. 7.
“Sec. Vilsack is one of the strongest advocates for renewable fuels in the nation, and we are thrilled to have him speak to our industry at the conference,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “Federal biodiesel policies reduce dependence on foreign oil, build green jobs at home, and are stimulating a rural renaissance. Sec. Vilsack has played a huge role in the continued support for these policies, and we’re looking forward to thanking him for his unwavering support.”
Vilsack has called the biodiesel industry a shining example of the promise of a new rural economy, creating opportunities for energy security, farmers, and revitalized job growth in small towns.
In March 2011, President Obama laid out is goal of reducing oil imports by half by 2020 in his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. As part of the plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased the federal targets for biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard to 1.28 billion gallons. Another win for energy security came on Jan. 1, 2013 when Congress passed the American Tax Relief Act, which included a $1 dollar per gallon biodiesel tax incentive.
Jobe added, “As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Biodiesel Board, one of our goals for this conference is to examine where we see America’s Advanced Biofuel in the next 20 years. The Secretary has a vision for American agriculture’s contribution to energy security and the economy, and we are eager to hear his insight on our long-term role.”