A new report details how biodiesel could play a significant role in heating oil in the U.S. The congressionally mandated report, titled, “Developing a Renewable Biofuel Option for the Home Heating Sector” from the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) says ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) has been one of the biggest transitions in heating oil, and biodiesel blends at 20 percent (B-20) with ULSHO are lower in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) than natural gas when evaluated over 100 years, while blends of 2 percent (B-2) or more are lower in GHG than natural gas when evaluated over twenty years.
Other key findings in the report include:
– Biodiesel blended at 5 percent would require approximately 300 million gallons of biodiesel produced per year. Assuming the biodiesel industry average of 50 million gallons per year per plant. Bioheat® would be responsible for 6 plants built and continuously operated. Thus, nearly 270 full time jobs can be directly attributed to Bioheat®.
– Studies on the operation of Bioheat® on the basic burner operation with biodiesel blends at B-20 (at least) is the same as with unblended heating oil.
– NORA (the Alliance) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) have communicated the value of using biodiesel and selling Bioheat®. The Alliance features information about Bioheat® on its consumer website, OilheatAmerican.com. The NBB has a webpage, Bioheatonline.com that describes the advantages of Bioheat®. Further, the Alliance and its affiliated state associations have worked to provide education on this product to consumers and retail oil companies through the use of mass media and informational brochures.
– State and local governments have utilized a number of strategies to encourage the use of biofuels in their communities. It is often necessary to encourage its use with incentives or mandates to develop the infrastructure and overall market acceptance for a new fuel.
A major motorcoach company has topped $10,000 in donations to the National Biodiesel Foundation, making US Coachways the single largest donor outside the biodiesel industry to date.
“This donation total to date is a landmark amount, and we are exceedingly grateful for US Coachways’ continued commitment to biodiesel research and outreach,” said John Heisdorffer, Foundation president. “On behalf of the researchers, students, instructors, mechanics and others that benefit from the foundation, we thank this company for its continued generous support.”
Headquartered in Staten Island, New York, US Coachways is a family owned and operated bus and limousine charter company that has made regular monthly contributions to the foundation since 2012. “More people travel by bus than by any other mode of transportation,” said CEO Ed Telmany. “We contribute because we want to see the motorcoach industry become cleaner and more sustainable, and we’d also like to encourage other companies to put their commitment to sustainability into action by making donations to this foundation.”
Telmany said the contributions also show their customers that the company is motivated to help the transportation industry improve air quality.
The 10th annual Biofuels Financial Conference is right around the corner. This year’s theme is “Managing Expectations” and will focus on ways the successful biofuels facilities are watching for ways to manage capital, reinvest profits and help their plants evolve says John Christianson, CPA and Partner at Christianson & Associates, PLLP, based in Willmar, MN. The Biofuels Financial Conference is taking place June 24-25, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN at the Bloomington Embassy Suites.
Speakers will discuss various aspects of creating a well-managed plan for growth and change, and ways to help investors understand the essential components of future success. Christianson says that his company, which is both a CPA firm and a consulting firm that has worked in the biofuels industry for 20 years, understands the importance of providing services and products that can help ensure financial success for a biofuels plant. This year’s Biofuels Financial Conference will focus on creating a financial plan that maximizes profitability while ensuring future stability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.
“It’s important for board members and financial decision-makers to understand the opportunities in the current liquid fuels marketplace,” Christianson added. “What is the impact of the latest legislation changes, what are the marketplace opportunities, what are the technology investments that will bring a plant successfully into the next generation?”
Registration is still open but space is limited. Learn more about the Biofuels Financial Conference and register by clicking here.
A new ad campaign from the National Biodiesel Board is showcasing the success of the green fuel from coast to coast. The “Biodiesel is Getting Us Where We Need to Go” campaign celebrates biodiesel’s benefits that touch cities and towns, fields and farms, water and air.
“Biodiesel shows that forward-looking energy initiatives work to promote new ideas and innovation that deliver results,” said Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “We have a lot to be proud of and want to showcase to leaders in Washington and around the nation the environmental, economic, and energy benefits biodiesel brings right to their communities.”
The 30 second commercial will air on national television networks, as well as on select local broadcast outlets and cable news programs throughout the summer.
The digital campaign includes banner advertising and a 15 second version of the television commercial presented as a pre-roll to programming on news platforms and as openers to videos on YouTube. Radio and print focused on target areas will round out the comprehensive campaign, anchored by a re-launched website (www.americasadvancedbiofuel.com) that provides videos featuring how biodiesel is making a difference in from coast to coast.
The campaign complements NBB’s efforts to support biodiesel growth through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and is funded by the United Soybean Board, State Soybean Checkoff Boards, U.S. Canola Association, and the National Biodiesel Board.
Petroleum is still tops in transportation fuels, but biodiesel, ethanol and natural gas have taken the biggest bite out of its share since 1954. This report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the numbers harken back to when coal-fired steam locomotives were declining and automobile use was growing rapidly.
After nearly 50 years of relative stability at about 4%, the nonpetroleum share started increasing steadily in the mid-2000s, reaching 8.5% in 2014. Of the nonpetroleum fuels used for transportation, fuel ethanol has grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) between 2000 and 2014. Nearly all of the ethanol consumed was blended into gasoline in blends of 10% or less, but a small amount was used in vehicles capable of running on higher blends as the availability of those flexible-fuel vehicles grew. Consumption of biodiesel, most of it blended into diesel fuel for use in trucks and buses, grew to more than 180 trillion Btu by 2014.
In 2014, transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion Btu, 3.5% of all natural gas used in the United States. Transportation natural gas is mostly used in the operation of pipelines, primarily to run compressor stations and to deliver natural gas to consumers. Natural gas used to fuel vehicles, although a much smaller amount, has more than doubled since 2000.
The U.S. military has added a quality requirement to its biodiesel buys. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board says the Defense Logistics Agency is letting suppliers know that biodiesel must be certified as coming from either BQ-9000 producers or BQ-9000 marketers.
“As the US military continues to move towards more sustainable, American-made fuels, it’s extremely important that they purchase the highest quality fuel possible,” said National Biodiesel Board Technical Director Scott Fenwick. “The inclusion of the BQ-9000 requirement ensures our military bases and others DLA supplies will be able to use biodiesel seamlessly in their operations.”
As America’s combat logistics support agency, DLA provides the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, other federal agencies and partner nation armed forces with a full spectrum of logistics, acquisition and technical services. DLA sources and provides nearly all of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate – from food, fuel and energy to uniforms, medical supplies and construction material. In 2014, they supplied 100 million barrels of fuel.
The BQ-9000 program is a unique combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices.
Those who one day will go off into the wild blue yonder had a chance to test some green fuel – biodiesel. During the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School’s Dean’s Challenge, cadet candidates tested their biodiesel to learn the applied chemistry of making and using the fuel.
During the Biodiesel Run off, 49 teams tested their alternative fuel made of vegetable oil by racing model cars providing by faculty.
“It’s a practical application of chemistry,” said Kevin McGregor, Prep School Science department head. “Students learned crucial concepts throughout the year on alternative fuels and had a week to prepare their own fuel.”
The competition included 13 preliminary rounds, a semi-final and final round. The winning team crossed the 55-yard course in seven seconds, according to McGregor.
“The cars were identical but the teams loaded their fuel,” he said.
Other activities during the Dean’s Challenge included a Poetry Slam and a Knowledge Bowl.
Boats stopping over in North America for an around-the-world race are refueling with biodiesel. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board says the fuel used for the Volvo Ocean 65 race boats that sailed into Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, is made from recycled cooking oil.
As a supporting sponsor of the May 5-17 stopover, the NBB is providing biodiesel blends for the race boats and for all of the diesel generators and land vehicles associated with the shoreside operations — helping the event to obtain certification by Sailors for the Sea as a “Platinum Level” Clean Regatta.
“Biodiesel stakeholders are excited to take part in this much-anticipated international regatta,” said Paul Nazzaro, NBB program manager. “It seems fitting that America’s first advanced biofuel will be featured at the U.S. leg of the race, where sustainability is such a prominent theme. Our entire team looks forward to sharing the many benefits of biodiesel over the course of this extraordinary event.”
“We’re in a ‘chicken or egg’ situation where boaters can’t readily purchase biodiesel because it’s not typically supplied by marinas, and the marinas don’t dedicate tanks to biodiesel because they aren’t sure if there will be sufficient demand” said Nazzaro. “We hope Volvo’s show of confidence in biodiesel to help power such a high profile event will help address this conundrum by educating consumers and raising demand.”
NBB points out that biodiesel blends can be used in many types of marine vessel, including inland and ocean-going commercial ships, research vessels, the U.S. Coast Guard Fleet, and recreational vessels.
According to a new report, “How Alternative Fuel Companies Will Compete with $50 Oil,” many biofuel producers are still able to thrive despite dropping oils prices nearing $50 per barrel. Lux Research evaluated 25 alternative fuel producers to identify the ones most likely to compete with cheap oil and found that renewable diesel producers Neste Oil and Diamond Green Diesel, gasification specialist Red Rock Biofuels, and Edeniq, which makes cellulosic ethanol, were among 13 alternative producers of fuels best positioned for cheap oil.
Lux Research analysts used its database of 400 alternative fuel producers to select 25 companies – from seven technology families, four feedstock types and three stages of development – for detailed analysis.
Among their findings:
- Neste Oil, Diamond Green are benefiting from cost cuts. Thanks to lowered production costs achieved through feedstock diversification, renewable diesel producers Neste Oil and Diamond Green Diesel were the clear leaders in Lux’s model. On the other hand, Solena Biofuels and Joule Unlimited were among the laggards on account of delayed production and commercialization.
- Developers move to alternate markets. Amid low oil prices, high-profile companies such as Solazyme, Amyris, and Gevo have shifted decisively toward specialty chemicals and nutraceuticals this year. Sapphire Energy also has shifted away from fuels and now targets nutraceuticals, producing Omega-3 EPA from its algae.
- Oil majors remain a pillar of support. Believing cheap oil to be a short-term phenomenon, oil majors have remained prominent supporters of alternative fuel developers across various technology platforms. For example, Total has added to its existing portfolio in biofuels and bio-based chemical companies by investing in Renmatix, a biomass-to-sugars company.
“$50 oil was never an afterthought for technology developers,” said Yuan-Sheng Yu, Lux research associate and the lead author of the report. “Many companies have technology roadmaps for cheaper alternative fuels. Not all of them will actually achieve that benchmark, but some will – while others will find alternate markets or, ironically, use support from oil majors to survive until prices rise again.”
Germany-based BDI – BioEnergy International AG has completed the expansion of a biodiesel plant in Spain. This company news release says the refinery will turn oils and animal fats with very high FFA-content into the green fuel.
ecoMotion Biodiesel S.A. (a company of the international SARIA Group) commissioned BDI with the installation of a “High-FFA esterification” unit in its plant in Barcelona. This technological in-house development from BDI allows BioDiesel producers to use the most challenging oils and fats available on the market – without a limit on free fatty acids (FFA) – whilst retaining the highest BioDiesel quality. BDI therefore sets again a technological milestone in the future market of the BioDiesel production based on oils and animal fats.
“Biodiesel producers are currently facing major challenges as a result of uncertainties with regard to the future European biofuel policy. However, the use of waste and residual materials is safeguarded due to the positive environmental aspects. With the BDI RetroFit-program, we can already integrate the necessary, well-developed solutions in plants for the requirements of tomorrow. We also managed at ecoMotion Spain to prove again our lead regarding technologies for the BioDiesel production from the most challenging animal by-products available on the market”, says Dr. Edgar Ahn – Member of the Board (CSO).
BDI had already been commissioned with the construction of a multi-feedstock biodiesel plant in Barcelona in 2002. This new capability to accept more raw materials is expected to increase the efficiency and flexibility of the refinery.