Prior to being named CEO of the National Biodiesel Board this week, Donnell Rehagen had been the organization’s number two man for 12 years, the behind-the-scenes guy who got stuff done. In all the years we have covered the National Biodiesel Conference, which Rehagen coordinated as chief operating officer, we have only interviewed him a couple of times. Now that he is the new CEO, we expect this will be the first of many interviews with Rehagen going forward.
Rehagen’s last 12 years as COO have well-prepared him for his new role, replacing Joe Jobe who resigned in May. “It’s given me the opportunity to learn about all the aspects of the National Biodiesel Board…initiatives like the technical research we do on fuel quality, the marketing and advertising we do to promote our product,” said Rehagen.
The industry has experienced some significant highs and lows over the past decade but Rehagen says the state of the biodiesel industry right now is strong. “We believe we could have been way stronger now than we are if we had some consistent policy support,” he said. “Our members struggle to make the proper investments for plant expansions when they’re uncertain about some of the initiatives that support biodiesel – specifically the biodiesel tax credit and the RFS.”
Rehagen is hopeful the EPA’s 2018 RFS volume requirements, due to be announced by the end of the month, will increase biodiesel’s share to 2.5 billion gallons from the current 2.0 billion. “In 2016 we’re going to have production in excess of 2.4 billion gallons,” said Rehagen. “Our concern is they are setting volumes far below what production is.”
Also at the end of this month, NBB members will be heading to Capitol Hill to press Congress for a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive and convert it from a blender’s credit to a producer’s credit.