Biodiesel Board Celebrates Milestones

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and the fifth anniversary of its eco-friendly, green headquarters building in Jefferson City, Mo.

NBB building1NBB CEO Joe Jobe says when they started in 1993, some of the first research was done in central Missouri at the University of Missouri, funded by the Missouri Soybean Council. They expected to get NBB up and running and off to Washington, D.C., but after 15 years and making biodiesel a commercial success, they decided to stay in Jefferson City and renovated three old buildings in 2008 for their new headquarters.

“We used as many environmentally friendly materials and systems that we could,” said Jobe, including non-toxic paints, low-volatile materials, recycled carpet backings, and even solar-powered parking lot lights. “After all, we represent a green, renewable industry, and we want to live that way.”

In the last 20 years, Jobe says they’ve learned that all renewable energy producers, whether conventional or advanced like biodiesel, must stick together against Big Oil’s constant attacks, a message he drove home when talking to his colleagues at this week’s Advanced Biofuels Conference in Omaha, Neb.

“The petroleum industry has made it very clear that their number one priority is to repeal the RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard),” which Jobe says is working, despite just being fully implemented in 2011. “Two years is not enough to claim, as the petroleum industry has, that the program is broken,” he said. “The program is working as Congress intended it to work.”

Jobe also points to how biodiesel is meeting benchmarks NBB set back in 2005 to have five percent of all on-road diesel be biomass-based by 2015. They met that 10-year vision just this past July, and they want to double that in the next 10 years. “It’s an aggressive goal, but it’s one that we have a lot of confidence that this industry has a very, very bright future.”

NBB now represents both biodiesel and renewable diesel – two green fuels that come from biomass-based products but are made using different processes. Biodiesel feedstocks, fats or oils, react with methanol to make biodiesel and glycerin, where renewable diesel uses that same feedstock but a distillation process similar to petroleum. Each has its own advantages, but both are much greener, domestic and renewable, than petroleum.Interview with NBB CEO Joe Jobe

EPA Indicates Biodiesel on Way to Billion Gallons

nbb-logoThe latest numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency shows 132 million gallons of biodiesel was produced in the U.S. during July. Our friends at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) say that puts year-to-date volumes at more than 768 million gallons, on pace to go over a billion gallons this year:

The production volumes are reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category under the [Renewable Fuels Standard]. To view the figures, visit the EPA’s website here. The latest numbers show a total of more than 166 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel in July, but that total also includes production of renewable diesel. The biodiesel portion of the total was 132 million gallons.

Biodiesel has surpassed RFS targets for two consecutive years and is on pace to do so again this year.

Biodiesel Board Defends RFS in USA Today

asteckelThe National Biodiesel Board is coming to the defense of the renewable fuels standard (RFS) in a national newspaper. In USA Today’s “Your Say” opinion piece asking readers for their thoughts on the importance of biofuels, Anne Steckel, vice president, federal affairs, for NBB in Washington, D.C., made the case that the RFS has helped her industry grow from a niche fuel to a billion gallons a year, while creating jobs and choice in the marketplace:

USA TODAY’s editorial suggests renewable fuels are no longer as vital, thanks to new domestic oil discoveries. But surely your readers have noticed news stories highlighting that consumers are paying near-record prices for fuel despite record domestic oil production.

The fact is that oil is a globally traded commodity whose price is heavily influenced by geopolitical developments beyond our control.

Steckel goes on to say no matter how much oil is drilled in the U.S., drivers will continue to be held “hostage to global oil prices” unless the market is diversified, which the RFS is doing.

EPA Publishes 2013 RVOs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the final 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric blending requirements, or Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO). The EPA determined that based on an evaluation of the volumes of cellulosic biofuel expected to be available for 2013, the 2013 standard for cellulosic biofuel will be 6 million ethanol-equivalent gallons.

The renewable fuels industry has come out in support of the rule. Following are some brief statements from several leading biofuel organizations.

aeclogoBrooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC): “It is clear that U.S. EPA has done its homework when it comes to setting the 2013 standard. The commercial cellulosic biofuel facilities that U.S. EPA projected to start up in 2013 are indeed operating, and the adjusted targets reflect the number of actual gallons expected to be available through the end of the year. We agree with U.S. EPA that there will be sufficient quantities of advanced biofuels in the market to maintain the broader advanced biofuel standard, which is consistent with the legislative intent of the RFS to promote advanced renewable fuels.

nbb-logoAnne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs, National Biodiesel Board (NBB): “With this decision, the EPA is helping consumers, creating jobs and reducing emissions. This target will clearly be met, and it will continue to diversify our fuel supplies so that we’re not at the mercy of global oil markets every time we fill up at the pump.”

Growth_Energy_logo-1Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy: Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy:  “Growth Energy is pleased that the EPA has finalized the 2013 biofuel volumes and has continued to show its strong commitment to the RFS.  We look forward to closely reviewing the final rule and we strongly support increasing levels of renewable fuel into our nation’s fuel supply. The RFS continues to be a resounding success, helping create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced, revitalizing rural economies across the country in addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving our environment, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.”

RFA-logo-13Bob Dinneen, CEO and President, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): “First and foremost, by decreasing the cellulosic requirement by 99.4 percent to a very realistic, achievable number, the EPA has totally obliterated Big Oil’s myth that the RFS is inflexible and unworkable. As in years past, the finalized annual requirements are a testament to the inherent flexibility that is the backbone of the RFS.”

ACElogoBrian Jennings, Executive Vice President, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE): “ACE appreciates that the EPA has issued the final volumes for 2013, keeping the total volume intact and thoughtfully used the flexibility given to it by Congress to set the final cellulosic target at 6 million gallons. We think that total is realistic to reach this year. To ensure that the RFS drives sufficient demand for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, and serves as a catalyst for innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels, ACE will continue our constructive dialogue with EPA as it considers its flexibility to address the volumes for 2014 and beyond.”

Advanced Biofuels Association LogoMichael McAdams, President of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA): “ABFA salutes the EPA and today’s announcement of the 2013 RVOs. We are delighted to see EPA validate the significant contributions that advanced and cellulosic biofuels are making to the American biofuels sector. Today’s announcement of 6 million gallons of cellulosic fuels should put to an end the argument that refiners are being taxed to pay for phantom fuels.  Advanced and cellulosic biofuels will continue to grow over time, giving Americans a diversity of lower carbon fuels for our future.”

NBB: Biodiesel Headed for Record Year

nbb-logoNumbers from the EPA show that biodiesel production hit record production in the first half of the year and is on pace to have its best year ever. The EPA reports that biodiesel refiners made 636 million gallons through the end of June and is on pace to break the annual record of about 1.1 billion gallons, exceeding this year’s volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and gaining praise from the National Biodiesel Board.

“This is further proof that policies like the RFS are delivering,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, the U.S. biodiesel trade association. “This growth means good-paying jobs, fewer harmful emissions and a diversified fuel market that is helping consumers.”

“Just this week, gas prices were the third highest on record, even as we’re drilling more and more oil here at home,” Steckel added. “It just shows that we need alternatives if we’re going to escape this cycle of price spikes in the oil markets. The American people understand that we need to diversify and adopt an all-of-the-above energy approach, and we need strong domestic energy policy to do that.”

On the down side, some producers are worried that Congress will allow the $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax incentive expire (again) at the end of this year, and that could push production levels down.

“The uncertainty around the tax incentive makes it very difficult to plan for growth,” [Karl Radune, president of BioDiesel One Ltd., a small producer in Southington, Conn.,] said.

Biodiesel Board CEO Tells Congress RFS is Working

rfs-hearing-jobeAs lawmakers debated the value of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the CEO of the National Biodiesel Board made the case on CSPAN that his group’s green fuel is delivering on those RFS promises.

“First, under the RFS, the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel categories programs are working. And second, with the help of the RFS, biodiesel is reducing consumer prices at the pump,” Jobe told a House Energy subcommittee hearing, adding biodiesel is the first and only EPA-approved advanced biofuel produced on a commercial scale and the first to hit a billion gallons of production annually. The industry has also exceeded the biomass-based diesel category every year the program has been in existence, while producing more than 50,000 jobs, diversifying and improving the domestic fuel supply, and reducing pollution. Gadsden, Alabama’s recent conversion of its fleet to a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20) is saving that city $100,000 a year, and the U.S. Navy is saving 13 cents a gallon by using B20. “This is a tremendous success story.”

Jobe went on to point out that biodiesel is actually improving the overall quality of the country’s diesel supply, without reducing performance. And he said many waste products, such as waste fats and oils, are staying out landfills and adding value to agricultural products – increasing the value of cattle by $10 a head, hogs by $1.25 and $.30 for poultry.

Jobe also addressed the issue of fraudulent Renewable Identification Numbers, RINs, pointing out that the biodiesel industry went after the issue aggressively.

“In 2010 and 2011, the biodiesel industry experienced a few cases of criminals generating and trading fraudulent RINs. Our industry took very aggressive measures working closely with EPA and the petroleum industry to address the fraud head on,” deploying a private-sector developed, robust RIN integrity program. Two of the three RIN frauders are now in jail with the third case pending.

He concluded that the RFS was the right policy when it was signed in 2005 and renewed an 2007, and it remains a sound policy today. Jobe said his industry will work with anyone to make the RFS an unqualified success.

Listen to Joe’s remarks here: Joe Jobe, CEO of NBB, remarks before House Energy subcommittee

And you can see more of that hearing archived on CSPAN’s website.

Groups Applaud EPA’s McCarthy Confirmation

The U.S. Senate has approved Gina McCarthy as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a 59-40 vote. Renewable energy and environmental groups, as well as commercial companies, welcomed her confirmation.

The National Biodiesel Board said it was thrilled by the vote:

nbb-logo“Gina McCarthy is a strong, dynamic leader who knows the intersection of environment and energy issues as well as anyone in the nation. She understands that we must move beyond fossil fuels to meet our objectives on these issues and has demonstrated a practical, balanced approach for doing so, including strong support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) says her confirmation shows a commitment to ethanol and other renewable fuels:

ACElogo“McCarthy understands the Renewable Fuel Standard to be the linchpin to our continued success reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions. She’s also familiar with how E15 passed the tests EPA administered before approving it as a safe option for 2001 and later model year passenger vehicles.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) echoes other groups’ sentiments in pointing out it is already familiar with McCarthy and her views:

RFA-logo-13“In meeting after meeting over the years, we have always found Gina McCarthy to be approachable and open to dialogue. There is no question that she is a thoughtful, solution-oriented professional who will handle the tough job ahead of her with grace.”

Growth Energy‘s Tom Buis sees McCarthy as good choice who will take a fair approach to the RFS:

buis2“President Obama has chosen an excellent and well-qualified individual to lead the EPA and I look forward to working with Administrator McCarthy to continue to advance the growth and development of sustainable biofuels.

Adam Monroe, Americas Regional President for Novozymes, says his company is looking forward to working with McCarthy:

novozymes“The New Administrator understands the importance of stable policy, like the Renewable Fuel Standard. Across the country, smart, stable policy is creating innovation, investment in our communities and jobs for our workers. It’s also protecting cities and towns where our families live.”

Finally, the Sierra Club added its voice to the chorus of support:

Sierraclub“After dedicating her 25-year career to protecting our air and water, Gina McCarthy has a proven record of protecting American families and getting things done. It’s no wonder she received bipartisan support from the Senate today. We look forward to working with her continue the EPA’s vital work of protecting American families and holding polluters accountable.”

Biodiesel Board Welcomes RI Bioheat Mandate

BioheatlogoFolks in Rhode Island will be staying warm in future winters with some help from Bioheat, a blend of biodiesel and heating oil. The governor of that state signed legislation to mandate a 2 percent blend requirement starting in July of 2014 with plans to expand that to 5 percent in 2017. The news was welcomed by the National Biodiesel Board and the state’s heating oil trade association:

“I commend the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island for not sitting back and waiting for change to come to them,” said Paul Nazzaro, who spearheads the Bioheat education program for the National Biodiesel Board. “They recognized Bioheat as the future of their industry that can reverse the contraction of their market, and they took control of their own destiny.”

Julie Gill, executive director and CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island, said getting the legislation passed took persistence and commitment.

“We’re proud that the Bioheat requirement has passed, because it will benefit not only our industry, but heating oil consumers in our state,” Gill said. “Oil heat systems run more effectively with a biodiesel blend, and Bioheat will help heating oil be more environmentally competitive. We will continue to work towards making our product the cleanest fuel available.”

Other states in that region have passed similar measures, but Rhode Island will be the first to implement a statewide Bioheat mandate.

Biodiesel of Las Vegas Becomes BQ-9000 Certified

biodieseloflasvegastanks1Biodiesel of Las Vegas becomes BQ-9000 certified by the National Biodiesel Board. Biodiesel Magazine says the 4 million gallon per year refinery is the first and only biodiesel producer in Nevada to receive this certification and joins a select group of 46 other biodiesel producers in the U.S.

“We are pleased to welcome Biodiesel of Las Vegas into the BQ-9000 program,” said National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission Chairman Scott Fenwick. “Their efforts to become BQ-9000-certified show their continued commitment to fuel quality and will help ensure they are delivering the highest quality fuel to their customers.”

According to the NBB, to receive accreditation, companies must pass rigorous review and inspection of their quality control process by an independent auditor to ensure the program is fully implemented.

“Becoming BQ-9000-certified shows our industry that we are committed to producing quality fuel for our community,” said Brandon Buff, vice president of Biodiesel of Las Vegas. “This certification also reinforced to our team what we have accomplished and becomes a milestone in our roadmap for the future.”

The BQ-9000 accreditation includes the ASTM D6751 quality standard for biodiesel, as well as considering a system of storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices.

Kansas Farmer Recognized for Biodiesel Board Work

kraus1A Kansas farmer has been recognized by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) for his work for the biodiesel industry. The Kansas Soybean Commission announced that their primary representative on the NBB for the past 12 years, Harold Kraus from Hays, picked up NBB’s Friend of Biodiesel award during a membership meeting in Washington, D.C.:

“Harold has been a tremendous advocate for the biodiesel industry who will definitely be missed,” NBB CEO Joe Jobe said. “The industry has grown out of infancy to a billion-gallon industry due in large part to the efforts of champions like Mr. Kraus.”

“Any time your peers pat you on the back you have to feel better,” Kraus said. “When I came on board, there were 55 members. Now, we’re in the hundreds. We’ve got a good number of people, and they’re doing their job.”

“From the start, the soybean checkoff has played a major role in developing the U.S. biodiesel industry, and soybean farmers like Harold have invested a lot of time, energy and resources into bringing American-made, high-performing biodiesel to the marketplace,” said Dennis Hupe, KSC director of field services. “The award never can express fully the thanks that Harold deserves for his dedication to the development of the biodiesel industry.”

Kraus is retiring from his position on the board.

EPA: Biodiesel, Ethanol Numbers Up

The latest numbers from the EPA say biodiesel and ethanol production is up. For May, biodiesel production hit 135 million gallons, putting it on target to hit more than a billion gallons this year and to exceed annual volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Weekly ethanol production averaged 885,000 barrels per day or 37.17 million gallons daily, up 12,000 barrels per day from the week before and tied for highest weekly average of the year to date. The ethanol industry is projected to hit 13.52 billion gallons of production this year. The news was welcomed by the green fuels’ respective industries.

From the National Biodiesel Board:

nbb-logoBiodiesel, an EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel that has surpassed RFS targets for two consecutive years, is reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category under the RFS.

The numbers show a total of nearly 140 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel for May, but that total also includes production of renewable diesel. The biodiesel portion of the total was 135 million gallons – putting year-to-date biodiesel production through the end of May at nearly 504 million gallons.

And the Renewable Fuels Association:

RFA-logo-13Stocks of ethanol stood at 16.3 million barrels. That is a 1.0% decrease from last week. Imports of ethanol were 38,000 b/d, down from last week. Gasoline demand for the week averaged 373.5 million gallons daily. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 9.95%

The RFA also points out how it is supporting corn farmers, using 13.419 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 98,769 metric tons of livestock feed, 88,053 metric tons of which were distillers grains.

NBB says its industry is supporting some 50,000 jobs across the country.

We Need to Act Now

“Americans are already paying the price of inaction,” said President Obama today during his speech on climate change at Georgetown University. After using the “facts of science” President Obama June 25 2013 Climate Change speechto prove that climate change is real, he asked, “So the question now is will we have the courage to act now before it’s too late. We need to act. “I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixable. And that’s why today I’m announcing a new national climate action plan and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help.”

In anticipation of his plan, groups from around the country reacted to his new climate plan. Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) said, “As a business voice for technology-driven energy progress, AEE believes that President Obama’s plan moves the United States toward a smarter energy future, for economic as well as environmental benefits.”

“Energy efficiency standards will save money as well as energy,” Richard continued. “Utilizing public lands for their solar and wind resources follows in the footsteps of mineral resources and forestry products and should be pursued in the interest of national prosperity. New regulations on emissions will accelerate the replacement of outmoded power plants with high efficiency and low emitting technologies. All of these steps will make the U.S. more of a leader in advanced energy, which is a $1 trillion global market opportunity for American companies and American workers.” Continue reading

Industry Congratulates NY on 2% Bioheat Mandate

nbb-logoThe biodiesel industry and environmental groups expressed their pleasure with the New York state legislature’s passage of a 2 percent biodiesel in all heating oil (Bioheat) mandate. Leading those congratulations was the National Biodiesel Board:

“America’s advanced biofuel and Bioheat are a great fit for New York’s heating oil market” said Shelby Neal, NBB Director of State Governmental Affairs. “Creating a standard that includes at least 2 percent biodiesel will replace about 30 million gallons of petroleum annually with a cleaner burning, renewable fuel.”

“New York State’s crop farmers are growing more and more soybeans every year,” said Julia Robbins, Executive Director, New York Corn and Soybean Association. “This policy will help provide New York farmers with a new market for the state’s soybean oil.”

New York City, the largest municipal consumer of heating oil in the country, has already taken advantage of biodiesel’s benefits by instituting a citywide 2 percent biodiesel requirement in October of 2012.

“Extensive testing has clearly shown that biodiesel blended with traditional heating oil is safe, seamless, and actually improves fuel efficiency through cleaning and preserving equipment,” said John Maniscalco, CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association. “This law extends these tremendous benefits to all New Yorkers and will provide the state with the cleanest, most sustainable heating oil in the country.”

Other Bioheat backers pointed out that the statewide mandate will provide a uniform standard throughout the state, while increasing overall economic activity.

The legislation says all heating oil sold in the City of New York, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland counties will need to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel by October 1, 2014, with the rest of the state adopting the standard by July 1, 2015. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

Former EPA Official Joins Biodiesel Board DC Office

nbb-logoA new face will oversee the National Biodiesel Board’s regulatory affairs in Washington, D.C. The NBB has hired Lindsay Fitzgerald, who comes from the EPA, where she served as a specialist in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality working on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“We are excited to hire someone of Lindsay’s skills and experience and to be expanding our office to better meet the needs of our growing industry,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Biodiesel is already a great RFS success story, and adding Lindsay to our team will only build on that success.”

“Her extensive knowledge of the RFS will be a tremendous benefit to our industry and to our members as they navigate the program,” Steckel added. “We look forward to working with EPA to ensure that advanced biofuels and the RFS continue meeting our goals of increasing U.S. energy security, strengthening the economy and reducing emissions.”

Fitzgerald has previous experience as a research analyst and legal assistant and graduated Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

Biodiesel Board Taking Renewable Diesel Members

nbb-logoIn a reflection of how really closely related the two industries are, the National Biodiesel Board opens up its membership to qualified renewable diesel producers. This NBB news release says the move is expected to unite the advanced biofuels industry in the diesel sector under one tent and creating a stronger and more effective voice for both.

“We are excited to expand our membership to include renewable diesel producers,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of NBB, which traditionally has represented only biodiesel interests. “While produced with different technologies, biodiesel and renewable diesel are close cousins with a lot of shared interests, particularly in policy areas such as the RFS and the blender’s tax incentive. Joining forces puts us in a much stronger position as a coalition to make our voice heard and spread the word that these policies are working and that advanced biofuels are here today.”

Jobe noted that with the change, NBB will represent the entire biomass-based diesel category under the Renewable Fuel Standard…

Representatives of the renewable diesel producers echoed Jobe’s statements.

“We have long been impressed with the work NBB does to represent the biodiesel industry and felt that joining forces was the next logical step,” said Randall C. Stuewe, President and Chairman of the Board of Darling International, Inc. which is a 50% equity owner in Diamond Green Diesel, a Louisiana-based Renewable Diesel plant with annual production capability of over 136 million gallons coming on line shortly. “Many of the same issues face both biodiesel and renewable diesel producers and we’re glad to be speaking with one voice on these issues.”

NBB points out that biodiesel and renewable diesel are both made with renewable resources such as soybean oil, animal fats and recycled cooking oils. The difference comes through the process that turns those materials into fuels, with biodiesel produced through a natural chemical reaction that takes place when alcohol is introduced to oils or fats in the presence of a catalyst and for renewable diesel, hydrogen is added to the oils or fats under high pressure and temperatures, converting it to a hydrocarbon very similar to diesel fuel refined from petroleum crude.