Biodiesel Advocates Descend on DC

nbb-logoBackers of one of our favorite green fuels, biodiesel, have headed to Capitol Hill. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board says the group of biodiesel producers, distributors and feedstock suppliers representing more than two dozen states, including the delegation from Iowa we previously told you about, are making their case for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“The petroleum lobby is making a lot of noise about renewable fuels and we’re coming to town to make sure that Congress hears the other side of the story,” said Todd Ellis, vice president of sales and business development at Seattle-based Imperium Renewables. “Despite what you might hear, the RFS is working, and we’re building a new American fuels industry that is creating jobs, producing cleaner fuel, and ultimately helping consumers.”

“We’ll be reminding Congress that biodiesel is an EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel that is here today and that is exceeding its RFS targets, with two consecutive years of 1 billion gallon production,” Ellis added.

During their Hill visits, they also will advocate for a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive, which is slated to expire again at the end of the year.

“No matter how much domestic oil and gas we find through fracking or new drilling, consumers will continue getting hurt by unstable global petroleum markets until we develop alternatives to oil,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “That’s why Congress passed the RFS in the first place with huge bipartisan support, and it’s why we can’t let up on these goals now.”

NBB points out that last year the biodiesel industry supported around 50,000 jobs around the country.

Biodiesel Tour de Force

This week, six Iowa biodiesel producers, a soybean farmer and several Iowa Biodiesel Board staff will be visiting Capitol Hill to urge Iowa’s Congressional delegation to continue fighting for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The group joins more than 100 other biodiesel advocates from two dozen states in lobbying for Congressional support.

IowaBiodieselBoardLogo“Oil interests have this policy in their cross hairs, and we need our delegation to continue their passionate fight against such backward-thinking attacks,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “Our message is that the RFS is highly effective energy policy, doing what Congress intended: creating jobs, reducing emissions and building domestic sources of energy.”

Also in the group are leaders from the Iowa Soybean Association, who are visiting D.C. for an annual membership meeting of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). The group will also advocate for a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive that is slated to expire at the end of this year.

“No matter how much domestic oil and gas we find through fracking or new drilling, consumers will continue getting hurt by unstable global petroleum markets until we develop new options besides oil,” added Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “That’s why Congress passed the RFS in the first place with huge bipartisan support, and it’s why we can’t let up on these goals now.”

NBB Unveils New TV Ad Campaign

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has unveiled a new television advertising campaign to make the point that consumers and taxpayers are better protected by a diverse supply of transportation fuels. The 30-second commercial is airing on national TV networks and on Washington, D.C. broadcast and cable news outlets.

“Biofuels are helping to diversify America’s transportation fuels, which protects consumers by freeing the market from the instability of a single liquid energy source” said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. “And because it is diesel engines that move the freight that drives the economy, it begins a positive ripple effect for the prices of just about everything we buy.”

The ad shows what it would be like to be in a world lacking in options as the narrator intones, “Without choice, we’re at the mercy of chance. Why chance our future on only one transportation fuel?” The voice is provided by Will Lyman, best known for his work as the narrator of the PBS series “Frontline.”

NBB also re-launched the website as part of the campaign. The newly re-designed site offers basic information on biodiesel, highlights issues of importance to the industry, and features a documentary expounding on the themes and concepts in the ads. The site also provides links to NBB’s current and past advertising campaigns.

The campaign is scheduled to run into the fall. In addition to the television commercial, the campaign includes print, digital and radio advertising incorporating the importance of transportation fuel diversity.

Jobe added, “We have many sources of fuel for power plants: coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydro, geothermal, wind, solar, and more. Because no single source dominates, we have had stable and affordable electricity. Why would it make sense to rely only on petroleum for our cars, trucks, tractors, trains, planes, barges and buses?”

Biomass-based Diesel Imports Jump in March

eiaWe’re seeing a big spike in the amount of biomass-based diesel imported into the U.S. Biodiesel Magazine reports the latest numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show gross imports at 17.3 million gallons in March… a more than eight-fold increase above February’s 2.2 million gallons, and it marks the first biomass-based diesel from Argentina in about four years and the first time ever for the green fuel from Indonesia:

The two major biodiesel-exporting countries supplied the EU with much of the continent’s imported biodiesel in 2011 and 2012 until the trade war that began last year culminated late last month with the European Commission levying provisional tariffs on Argentine and Indonesian product. In March, Argentina shipped approximately 6.3 million gallons of biomass-based diesel to the U.S., while Indonesia exported about 2.1 million gallons to the U.S.

“We’re clearly seeing some small volumes of imports starting to come in given market economics with the tax incentive,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, “but we expect the vast majority of production will continue to be from domestic producers. We have always advocated that the biodiesel tax incentive be structured for producers instead of blenders, and we will continue to push for that change.”

Another 5.5 million gallons of biomass-based diesel was imported from Germany, and more than 3.3 million gallons came from Canada.

The EIA defines “biomass-based diesel” as “biodiesel and other renewable diesel fuel or diesel fuel blending components derived from biomass, but excluding renewable diesel fuel coprocessed with petroleum feedstocks.”

April Biodiesel Production Hits 110 Million Gallons

nbb-logoNew numbers from the EPA show that biodiesel production in the U.S. hit 110 million gallons in April … staying on pace to hit more than a billion gallons for this year. The National Biodiesel Board hopes the green fuel can exceed targets set under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for a third consecutive year:

The numbers show a total of more than 118 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel for April, but that total also includes production of renewable diesel. The biodiesel portion of the total was 110 million gallons – roughly the same production as in March and putting year-to-date biodiesel production through the end of April at almost 369 million gallons.

NBB also points out that the biodiesel industry supports about 50,000 jobs across the country.

Ethanol, Biodiesel Groups Welcome New Energy Sec.

moniz2The U.S. Senate today confirmed Ernest Moniz to replace Steven Chu as the Nation’s Secretary of Energy. The 96-0 vote was welcomed by biodiesel and ethanol groups:

steckel2“Throughout his career, Ernest Moniz has supported efforts to move beyond fossil fuels to a cleaner, more secure energy future in which renewable sources play a prominent role,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “He knows that advanced biofuels like biodiesel are critical to our long-term energy and environmental security, and he has supported practical policies aimed at developing renewables in order to reduce our dependence on petroleum, create jobs and reduce harmful emissions.”

mcadams3Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, issued a statement in support of the confirmation. “We are pleased that President Obama tapped such a strong advocate for policy that supports solid energy growth and is a friend of the advanced biofuels community.”

buis2“I would like to congratulate Ernest Moniz on his confirmation as the Secretary of Energy. President Obama has chosen an excellent and well-qualified individual to lead the Department of Energy and I look forward to working with Secretary Moniz to continue to advance the growth and development of sustainable biofuels,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

dineen1.jpgThe Renewable Fuels Association also congratulated Moniz. “Given his background and expertise in energy, we look forward to the secretary’s first visit to an ethanol plant. We are eager for him to see firsthand the positive economic impact the renewable fuel standard has had in creating new jobs and revitalizing rural economies,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA.

brookeBrooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, added his praise of the pick. “Secretary Moniz has just the right combination of technical expertise and political experience to be very effective as the new Secretary of Energy. He clearly understands what it takes to commercialize new energy technologies, and we look forward to working with the Secretary and his colleagues going forward as the advanced ethanol industry deploys commercially in the United States and abroad.”

NBB Welcomes Progress on Farm Bill’s Energy Parts

wash-watchBy a 15-5 vote, the Senate Agriculture Committee sent the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 and its commitment to renewable energy to the full Senate, which could take it up next week. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the move, especially the part that funds the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program to the tune of $1 million a year through 2018, with another $1 million a year in discretionary funding for that same time.

During an interview with Chuck at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) Washington Watch, Anne Steckel vice president of federal affairs for the NBB said she is also hopeful Congress preserves the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

steckel“The RFS is really the backbone of the biodiesel industry,” she said. “It’s been incredibly successful for our industry, and it’s been very beneficial for consumers in general. We’re supporting over 50,000 jobs. We’re diversifying off foreign oil, and we’re helping better the environment.”

Steckel went to say that biodiesel enjoys a broad base of bipartisan support in Washington, and she is optimistic that support will continue and help that green fuel sector grow.

“The biodiesel industry is going to continue in its steady growth pattern, [producing] 1.3 billion gallons this year,” and the support of the RFS and biodiesel federal tax credit will help the industry and consumers as well.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Anne here: Anne Steckel, NBB

2013 NAFB Washington Watch Photo Album

Intertek Biodiesel Lab Earns BQ-9000 Certification

IntertekThe Intertek biofuels lab in Romeoville, Illinois has earned an important designation from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). This company news release says the Intertek lab is now listed as a testing facility on the BQ-9000® website and is a preferred lab for BQ-9000® producers and marketers by the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission (NBAC):

NBAC, a committee of the NBB, reviews and approves laboratories interested in becoming a BQ-9000® Certified Laboratory. The laboratory must have a quality management system that meets the requirements of the NBAC, and analyze biodiesel following the ASTM D6751 Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels, and follows various ASTM, UOP and EN test methods referenced within the specification.

Jeff Kaylor, Regional Vice President for Inland Waterways, stated, “The award of the BQ-9000® certification for biodiesel testing is an honor for our staff and the biodiesel laboratory. Intertek is committed to providing our clients with reliable, high quality, biofuel testing and inspection services, in the USA and on a global basis.”

Intertek has a network of biofuel laboratories that test a wide range of renewable fuel products and blends, including biodiesel, ethanol, and biomass fuels.

Researcher Honored for Biodiesel Byproduct Innovation

nbb-logoA researcher from India is honored for her work to use a biodiesel byproduct to replace chemicals usually used in biodiesel production. The National Biodiesel Board and the American Cleaning Institute honored Dr. B.L.A. Prabhavathi Devi from the Centre for Lipid Research at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India with the 2013 Glycerine Innovation Award Annual Honor for using glycerol-based catalysts to replace more traditional sulfuric acid and alkali catalysts.

The ACI/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.

Dr. Prabhavathi said she and her group have been researching how glycerol can be utilized for the development of novel value added products.

The use of such glycerine-based products can enhance the economies of the oleochemical and biodiesel industries.

The award includes a plaque and a $5,000 honorarium. It was presented at the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division luncheon during the 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.

Jobe Defends Biodiesel in Wall Street Journal

Joe Jobe1The head of the National Biodiesel Board is making his case in defense of the green fuel. NBB CEO Joe Jobe recently responded in the Wall Street Journal to a previous article that tried to claim advanced biofuels aren’t being produced on a commercial scale:

Biodiesel is an EPA-designated advanced biofuel that’s made from an array of resources including waste fats and greases and agricultural oils. For the past two years, our industry has exceeded national targets and produced more than one billion gallons annually of clean, renewable fuel.

With production plants in nearly every state, the industry’s success is creating thousands of jobs in communities across the country. Furthermore, biodiesel often saves consumers money. This week, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus testified on Capitol Hill about one Naval facility saving 13 cents a gallon by purchasing 20% biodiesel blends for its heating oil, for a total reduction of some $30,000 for the winter.

Most importantly, however, the Renewable Fuel Standard is good policy because it is working to address the fact that our transportation fuel supply, which drives our economy, is reliant on a single source.

Jobe goes on to say that the price of petroleum is not based on supply and demand factors in the U.S., but on economic and political factors in “unstable and hostile regions of the world.” And he says this will continue, even if there is more domestic production of petroleum. He adds that diversifying into renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, will break the addiction and risk of having petroleum as a single transportation fuel source.