Merle was Biodiesel Supporter

merle-1Back in the early years of the biodiesel industry, Merle Haggard was one of the stars who came out in support of the American-made biofuel.

The country music legend who died last week at the age of 79 made a legendary appearance at the 2007 National Biodiesel Conference, holding a press conference and performing for those in attendance. During the press conference Merle said that he was learning about the benefits of biodiesel. When asked what attracted him to the renewable fuel source his answer was “the smell.” He also he was happy about how the development of biodiesel was helping American farmers.

Listen to the legend talk about biodiesel with NBB CEO Joe Jobe here: 2007 Biodiesel press conference with Merle Haggard

Check out the photo album from the 2007 biodiesel conference for more photos of Merle.

Groups Ask for Advanced Biofuel Tax Extension

As the advanced biofuel tax credits get closer to expiring, six biofuel trade associations have called on federal legislators to pass a multi-year extension of the credits. In 2015, through the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, several programs were extended including: the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit; the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property; the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit; the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit; and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property. While these were extended through 2019, the advanced biofuels tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year.

The letter sent today to Senate and House leaders, the Senate Committee on Finance leaders and the House Ways and Means Committee leaders and was signed by The Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.29.51 PMThe letter stated, “This short-term expiration of tax incentives is jeopardizing the long-term investment necessary for advanced biofuels. This creates uncertainty for investors and industry about the availability of these credits in the future. As leaders in a critical innovation sector in the United States, we are well aware of the financial constraints facing this country. However, as Congress works on developing energy tax extenders legislation, we urge you to ensure that advanced biofuels are part of the package. Extending some 2016 expiring energy tax provisions and not others creates a piecemeal approach and investment uncertainty across the energy sector and distorts the playing field for biofuel producers.”

Additional comments were made by each of the six organizations that signed the letter. These comments can be found below.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association said, “Short-term tax incentives are akin to new drivers in a stick shift vehicle. The cars haltingly lurch forward for a time, but suddenly stall. The advanced biofuel industry needs certainty if it is to remain commercially viable, as it continues to bring new facilities and technologies online. Longer term incentives would go a long way to making sure the industry continues its growth, and don’t leave consumers stalled along the way.” Continue reading

Work Trucks Favor #Biodiesel

nteaAccording to a new 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the According to a new 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry – biodiesel is now the most commonly used alternative fuel option on the market.

Each December, NTEA conducts a comprehensive Fleet Purchasing Outlook Survey to better understand the commercial vehicle landscape, including interest levels for advanced truck technologies and alternative fuels. The new survey results for 2016 show 18 percent of fleets use biodiesel now – up from 15 percent in 2015 – with more fleets planning to acquire or continue using biodiesel than any other alternative fuel option.

“The evolution of alternative fuel technologies is still triggering change for vocational truck specifications,” says Doyle Sumrall, Managing Director of NTEA. “However, general interest has dropped in recent years due to persistently low oil costs and will likely remain muted until prices rebound. Despite current challenges facing the alternative fuels movement, fleet interest in biodiesel has remained strong, actually increasing in 2016 as compared to the previous year.”

moline-biodieselThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) notes that the City of Moline in Illinois has operated its full fleet of over 102 diesel vehicles and equipment on B20, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel with ultra-low sulfur diesel, since 2006 which has helped the city enhance the performance and minimize the maintenance of its vehicles’ fuel systems at a lower cost than diesel fuel.

J.D. Schulte, Fleet Manager for the City of Moline, stated, “Here in Moline, air quality is paramount to our quality of life. We made the switch to clean, domestically produced plant-based biodiesel ten years ago, not only because it was a good choice for our fleet, but also because it was a good choice for our community. My advice to other fleet managers is, if you are conscious of and serious about air quality and looking for an easy and cost-effective solution to make a positive difference in your community, biodiesel is a natural choice.”

Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel – meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. In the Gross Vehicle Weight Class 5-8 vehicles that account for 92 percent of on-road diesel / biodiesel fuel use, nearly 90 percent of the medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support the use of B20 biodiesel blends.

Celebrate Biodiesel Day Today

9 things about biodieselToday is National Biodiesel Day and the celebration of Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine. Many will remember that similar to the first “gas” engine running on ethanol, the first “diesel” engine ran on peanut oil. In fact, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) notes that when he created his engine, he envisioned a time when vegetable oils would one day be as important as petroleum among transportation fuels. Because of his foresight, and his contribution of the compression ignition engine, Biodiesel Day is celebrated on the anniversary of Diesel’s birthday.

“I can’t imagine what Rudolf Diesel would think if he saw how his vision has come to fruition in today’s commercial biodiesel industry, a more than 2 billion gallon US market,” said NBB chairman Ron Marr. “It is here, now, cutting carbon emissions, supporting domestic green energy jobs, and benefiting consumers from coast to coast.”

To celebrate Biodiesel Day, here are nine facts about biodiesel that will rev you up! But first, a super cool video about biodiesel.

    Continue reading

Become a Next Generation Biodiesel Leader

Jesse Meyer, center, with former co-chairs Dan Browne and James Anderson

Jesse Meyer, center, with former co-chairs Dan Browne and James Anderson

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is calling for the next crop of biodiesel leaders to join the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. NGSB is seeking additional co-chairs to help take this student professional organization to the next level. Working with NBB staff, the volunteer co-chairs help establish direction, assist with planning educational content, recruitment efforts and producing webinars and other events. The co-chairs also review and rank scholarship applications to the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, and attend the event.

“The co-chair position has provided me with a unique opportunity to interface with the commercial biodiesel community,” said Jesse Mayer, a biochemistry student at the University of Nevada – Reno who attended this year’s conference. “You will network with top scientists and energy thought leaders while shaping our generation’s contributions to the bioenergy field. This opportunity is much more than a resume builder.”

To apply: You must be a college/university student in a scientific field of study, and have joined NGSB. Send an E-mail to NGSB@biodiesel.org with:

  • Your resume and contact information (include expected graduation date. We will prioritize applicants who can serve for two years or more.)
  • A 500 word summary of your experience with biodiesel, commitment to biodiesel, and why you want to be a co-chair.
  • A biodiesel-related photograph of yourself (optional).
  • Deadline to apply is April 1, 2016.

Want to get a feel of what participating in NGSB is like? Click here to read a few stories from student biodiesel leaders that came out of this year’s annual conference in Tampa, Fl.

Students Discuss Biodiesel Research Projects at #NBB16

Students who are part of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel had the opportunity to share their research during the recent National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. The students all have one thing in common – their passion for the biodiesel industry.

nbb-16-thomas-kwanI spoke with several of these budding biodiesel leaders during the poster session. Thomas Kwan is a PhD candidate at Yale and is part of the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering. While doing his undergraduate he looked at emissions from diesel fuel, particularly locomotives. He then leveraged this interest into looking not at the tailpipe, but the fuels themselves for emission reductions.

Thomas’s research is framed around an integrated biorefinery with algae as the foundation. In other words, the “plant” accepts some biomass and then produces biodiesel and other biobased products. Enabling technologies for the idea of an integrated biorefinery. Used micro algae that has high content for biodiesel lipids as well as other compounds, in particular, astaxanthin, a powerful antioxident. IN the case of algae, the bioproduct is not yet approved for human consumption but Thomas hopes this research will help change that. Ultimately, they looked at how to tweak the biorefinery to get more lipids for biodiesel, or to get more astaxanthin. To learn more, listen to my interview with Thomas Kwan here: Interview with Thomas Kwan

nbb16-eric-william

Clemson University Biosystems Engineering students Eric Monroe and William O’Connell, present their biodiesel research during the poster session.

William O’Connell is a senior at Clemson University in Biosystems Engineering. He became interested in biodiesel while doing his undergraduate research, and then attended the conference last year. He’s back and this year presented his research during the poster session.

The focus on the project is to reanalyze the school’s current process of collecting used cooking oil and converting it to biodiesel. William said they are looking to see if there is a more efficient way to produce the biofuel. What they have discovered is using interesterification is more efficient. To learn more, listen to my interview with William O’Connell here: Interview with William O'Connell

nbb-16-james-davisJames Davis is in his fourth year of his PhD at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has a keen interest in fatty acids of seed crops such as canola or camelina sativa. He explained that his research is focused on altering the lipid profile of camelina sativa.

The idea is to apply a cutting edge gene editing technology to knock out certain genes. Essentially, his goal is two-fold. One, to alter the fingerprint of the lipid profile and they are also trying to eradicate erucic acid, a semi-negative toxic lipid that is bad for livestock making camelina seed meal restricted for use in feeding livestock. James notes that if they can get rid of some of the negative profile, they can create a more high-value byproduct. To learn more, listen to my interview with James Davis here: Interview with William O'Connell

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Two Women Share Their Biodiesel Research

There is a growing number of women who are forging paths and leading the way in innovative biodiesel research. Two such women are Megan Hums, a student at Drexel University, and Jennifer Greenstein, a student at North Carolina State University. They are both members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program and they both presented posters during this year’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. I spent some time with both young women to learn about how they became interested in biodiesel/bioenergy. These are some amazing young ladies!

nbb16-greensteinJennifer Greenstein used to work in bioethanol and she says biofuels is something she can really get behind. As such, she headed to North Carolina State University to pursue her PhD and while there began working for Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel producer. (She will be graduating soon. Contact her here.)

For her research, Jennifer is working on developing lipases, which are a catalyst to make biodiesel. She is looking at an improved production system for making the lipases and immobilizing them. So in other words, she is looking for a way to express the lipases on the surface of the bacteria rather than intracellularly. The cool thing is that the process she is looking at will use an enzyme to replace chemicals in the production process. To learn more about her research, listen to my interview with Jennifer Greenstein here: Interview with Jennifer Greenstein

nbb16-megan-humsAfter Megan graduated with her undergrad degree she said she felt she still had more to learn. With her interest in sustainability and biofuels she found a project at Drexel University (She’s in her fifth year of her PhD program and graduating soon. Contact her here.) that interested her using waste greases for biodiesel production. She has been involved with this project and it was the focus on her poster.

Megan is looking at the environmental impact of using low quality greases, or kitchen waste greases, which have gone down the sink, to produce biodiesel using nonconventional biodiesel conversion. She then takes the whole process and applies environmental impacts to it through a lifecycle assessment and tries to figure out the footprint of production. To learn more, listen to my interview with Megan Hums here: Interview with Megan Hums

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Students Benefit From Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

It’s never too early to encourage the next generation of biodiesel and bioproduct scientists and this is just what NBB is doing through its Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. Several members of the group attended this year’s conference and presented posters, attended educational sessions and networked, networked, networked.

James Anderson, from University of Illinois, serves as co-chair for the group and he presented his research looking at fatty acid profiles and studying divergent plants. His goal was to identify not the fastest growing soybean plant or the plant with the best resistance, but the plant with the best profile. The idea is that they would identify soybeans that would be even better suited to biodiesel production. He and his team checked their results against some USDA studies and found positive results.

James is finishing up his project soon and will be awarded his PhD and will soon be looking for a job…hint, hint. He can be reached via email to discuss both his research and future opportunities.

Listen to my interview with James Anderson here: Interview with Co-Chair James Anderson

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer, from the University of Nevada, Reno, is also a co-chair of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. Originally planning on going to medical, he switched gears when the only lab he could find work in was a plant lab. Well, he got hooked. He said he loves the field and the sustainability aspect of it.

He became involved in the group two years ago through his professor. He encourages everyone to join. “It’s really great opportunity to understand all the different aspects of biofuels. Like the students here you’ve got a lot of different fields…. So finding a student organization like NBB, joining them, and getting an idea of what those other aspects are, talking to people in the industry, really helps diversify you as a student and really helps going on to grad school or into the workforce.”

Jesse is also graduating soon and if the networking I saw him doing at the conference is any indication, he won’t be on the market long. You can reach him here.

Listen to my interview with Jesse Mayer here: Interview with Co-Chair Jesse Mayer

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Bringing #Biodiesel to the Northeast

Paul Nazzaro is no stranger to the biodiesel industry and has been a huge champion for the advanced biofuel in the Northeast for nearly two decades. During the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida, Nazzaro participated in several panel discussions focused on how to get more biodiesel into the Northeast as each year, more legislation is passed to curb emissions and ultimately promote renewable energy. BioHeat in particular is really gaining ground.

Paul NazzaroYet distribution challenges need be overcome in order to get more biodiesel products into the northeast. Nazzaro said in an interview after the panel discussion that compared to other areas of the country, there are very few terminals where the fuel can be blended and distributed. When asked who is responsible for paying to get more terminals, such as the biodiesel industry or the petroleum industry, Nazzaro said ultimately the cost will fall on consumers. But if they keep asking for biodiesel products, he stressed, suppliers will listen and down the road, biodiesel is not only more environmentally friendly, it will cost consumers less.

Nazzaro is working with a team to help overcome distribution and supply challenges to help ensure that the biodiesel industry can deliver what they promise: high value, advanced, renewable bioproducts.

To learn more listen to my interview with Paul Nazzaro: Interview with Paul Nazzaro

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye of Biodiesel Winners Announced at #NBB16

nbb-16-livergoodThe “Eye of Biodiesel” awards were announced during the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida this week.

First up was Mike Livergood who received the Lifetime Achievement award. He is retiring this year from ADM after nearly four decades with the company. In his acceptance speech, Livergood talked about how ADM become involved with the National Biodiesel Board back in 1999. “By 2011, we were running eleven biodiesel facilities on three continents with total capacity of nearly three-quarters of a billion gallons a year,” he said. “Biodiesel was truly the savior of the soybean crushing industry.”

Listen to his remarks here: Mike Livergood, Lifetime Achievement Award

nbb-16-climate-leaderThe National Biodiesel Board recognized three organizations in California this year as the Climate Leader award winners. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2); and the American Lung Association were all recognized for their environmental leadership to promote all clean fuels, including biodiesel, along the West Coast. These three organizations, along with other NGOs, bolstered and defended Low Carbon Fuel policies in California and Oregon. NBB Director of Sustainability Don Scott (L) presented the awards to representatives each organization – Mary Solecki of E2, Heather Palmer with the American Lung Association, and EDF’s Timothy J. O’Connor.

O’Connor spoke for the group in accepting the award. Timothy O'Connor, Environmental Defense Fund

nbb-16-calabottaBeth Calabotta, former Monsanto Director for Bioenergy and currently serving on the National Biodiesel Foundation, was honored with the Impact award for her tireless dedication to the advancement of biodiesel.

Beth’s experience in the field of agricultural yield technology and the markets that drive demand for protein give her a rare and valuable knowledge base that she has put 100 percent into her work to advance biodiesel. She has contributed greatly to the sustainability efforts at NBB and projects to analyze the real world indirect effects of biodiesel production.

Listen to her remarks on winning the Impact Award here: Beth Calabotta, Biodiesel Impact Award winner

nbb-16-pioneerJohn Maniscalco, who recently retired as the head of the New York Oil Heating Association after more than 20 years was honored with the Pioneer award. In 2013, Maniscalco received the Industry Partnership award.

Maniscalco was at the forefront of leadership in the heating oil industry, serving as the first treasurer of the National Oilheat Research Alliance before his time at NYOHA. He’s also been at the forefront of the industry’s move to Bioheat®, biodiesel in home heating. He was instrumental in New York City implementing legislation for B2 heating oil citywide. New York City continues to be a Bioheat® leader in the Northeast on both policy and public perception when it comes to cleaning up heating oil.

Listen to his remarks here: John Maniscalco, Biodiesel Pioneer Award winner

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album