Biodiesel Board: Weak RFS Could Cost 8,000 Jobs

nbb-logoA strong Renewable Fuels Standard that sees 2 billion gallons of biodiesel production would mean about 66,600 jobs for the U.S. biodiesel industry. But a weak RFS, producing just 1.28 billion gallons of the green fuel as a leaked EPA proposal would call for, means losing about 8,000 of those jobs. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) says that’s a lot of paychecks as the current record pace of 1.7 billion gallons this year supports more than 62,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in wages.

“This is further evidence that a growing biodiesel industry and a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are good for the economy,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “Biodiesel is a true RFS success story, and we should continue that momentum next year with modest growth that will create even more jobs.”

Biodiesel is made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils and animal fats. The study, which can be found here, found that employment supported by the industry would drop by almost 8,000 jobs if the EPA were to limit production to 1.28 billion gallons, the volume proposal included in a recently leaked EPA document outlining potential RFS standards next year.

“The negative impact of that proposal is clear – it would force biodiesel plants to close and put people out of work,” Steckel said. “The EPA and the Obama Administration can avoid that by supporting a strong 2014 standard that is at least consistent with this year’s production.”

LMC International, a global economic research firm, did the study on behalf of NBB.

Washington Leaders Recognized for Biodiesel Use

GWRCCC logo1Some leaders in the Washington, D.C. area are being recognized for their use of biodiesel. The latest edition of the National Biodiesel Board’s Biodiesel Bulletin says the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) honored the Smithsonian Institution and the District of Columbia Department of Public Works Fleet Management Administration for their part in using the green fuel to achieve “outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to a clean energy future.”

A local pioneer in biodiesel use, the Smithsonian received the Community Outreach Award during the GWRCCC’s Awards Luncheon on October 31. In addition to using biodiesel at the National Zoo and its other facilities, the Smithsonian has hosted a number biodiesel education workshops.

GWRCC also recognized another biodiesel user – the District of Columbia Department of Public Works Fleet Management Administration — as an award nominee. The District has implemented a far-reaching biodiesel program that is helping the city reduce harmful emissions and decrease petroleum use. Introduced in 2011, today biodiesel is fueling the city’s entire diesel fleet of 2,000 vehicles and equipment, including school buses, refuse trucks, street sweepers, emergency vehicles and more. The city used nearly 1.4 million gallons of biodiesel blends in 2012, displacing 202,318 gallons of petroleum in just one year. In addition, the D.C. Department of Public Works recently opened two of its biodiesel fueling sites to federal government vehicles.

The recognition came as part of a ceremony that honored 10 D.C. area leaders for their green energy commitments.

Feds Bust Biodiesel RIN Frauder

scalesofjustice1Federal charges against a company accused of biodiesel Renewable Identification Number (RIN) looks to stop fraud of the green fuel’s federal program. Biodiesel Magazine reports the government is charging an Indiana biodiesel firm with 88 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, false tax claims, false statements under the Clean Air Act, obstruction of justice, money laundering and securities fraud, for an investment scheme of more than $100 million.

The [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] alleges that when Imperial Petroleum purchased Middletown, Ind.-based e-Biofuels LLC as a subsidiary in 2010, e-Biofuels’ owners falsely represented that they were producing biodiesel from soybean oil and chicken fat. e-Biofuels received significant government incentives based on its biodiesel production representations. But e-Biofuels actually used middlemen to buy finished biodiesel and portrayed those purchases in fake invoices as the raw “feedstock” needed to produce biodiesel. e-Biofuels later sold the purchased biodiesel for as high as double the price it paid for it.

The government alleges that Craig Ducey, Chad Ducey, Chris Ducey and Brian Carmichael operated e-Biofuels and conspired with Joseph Furando and Evelyn Katirina Pattison (aka Katirina Tracy)—two executives with a pair of related New Jersey-based companies that operated under the names Caravan Trading Co. and Cima Green—to purchase RIN-stripped B99 from third parties, pretend that e-Biofuels had produced that fuel at its Middletown facility and fraudulently resell that fuel to customers as B100 with RINs and an available tax credit.

The SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Indianapolis charges Imperial Petroleum and [its CEO Jeffrey] Wilson as well as Craig and Chad Ducey and Carmichael, who now lives in Bend, Ore. The complaint also charges Caravan Trading LLC, Cima Green LLC, and Cima Energy Group and their operators Furando and Pattison (Tracy) for acting as the middlemen in the scheme. They allegedly provided false and misleading documents to deceive government regulators and attract investors to Imperial.

“This investigation has been underway for at least two years, and we commend the EPA and other federal authorities for moving it closer to resolution,” said Ben Evans, director of public affairs and federal communications for the National Biodiesel Board. “In two other known cases of similar fraud from this period, the perpetrators are now serving significant time behind bars. If these charges are true, we hope to see similar justice in this case.”

Those indicted could be looking at up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

Next-Gen Scientists to Attend Biodiesel Conference

NBBconflogo2014-1The next-generation of scientists to advance biodiesel will get to network and look beyond the classrooms for educational opportunities. Thanks to donations from state soybean organizations and the United Soybean Board (USB), the National Biodiesel Board announced some selected students, such as Dan Browne from Texas A&M University, will get to attend the NBB’s Conference & Expo this January.

Browne has done just that by attending the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo twice on scholarship. He describes the conference as “a nexus of science, business, and policy where student scientists not only gain access to world-class biodiesel science and engineering, they get to observe the interplay between the key sectors that constitute the industry.”

Students studying a wide array of disciplines have a unique opportunity to grow their passion for biodiesel at the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, January 20-23 in San Diego.

“Attending the conference has provided an unparalleled opportunity to absorb knowledge from industry leaders,” said Browne who is pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry [and who co-chairs the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, an NBB program that aims to educate and collaborate with young scientists.]. “This unique experience helped me to better understand the role of science within the greater framework, while giving me direct connections to the scientists at the cutting edge.”

The biodiesel industry views student participation as key to the future of the industry.

“Many students are already working on exciting biodiesel research that could have a lasting impact on the industry,” said Don Scott, NBB’s director of sustainability. “We believe student participation in our conference is an important investment with the potential for tremendous return in the form of information sharing and relationship building. Each year students bring something new to the table and we’re excited to see what’s in store for 2014.”

More information on the NGSB scholarship program is available at

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.