New Exec Committee at Nat’l Biodiesel Foundation

nBBThere’s a new Executive Committee for the National Biodiesel Foundation. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said the group was elected during the NBB’s recent fall directors meeting in Washington, D.C., and the foundation is designed to advanced initiatives important to the commercial biodiesel industry.

Industry representatives elected to the board include:

– President: Mike Cunningham is currently a director on the American Soybean Association Board, representing the state of Illinois. Mike is a corn and soybean farmer from Bismark, Illinois. He has been involved with soybean association work at both the state and national level since 2002.

– Vice President: Mark Caspers is currently serving as a director on the United Soybean Board and recently completed a 12 year stint as a director on the Nebraska Soybean Board. He is a fourth generation family farmer operating a diversified crop operation on 600 acres in southeast Nebraska.

– Secretary/Treasurer: Jeff Lynn is from Oakford, Illinois and is a director for the Illinois Soybean Association as well as a trustee for Chandlerville Township in Cass County, Illinois. He is part of a family farm dating back to 1833 that includes corn, soybeans, and seed soybeans.

John Heisdorffer, Matt Jaeger, and David Womack retired their executive committee positions but will continue to serve on the Foundation board.

“We thank them for their dedication to the Foundation and biodiesel education and research over the years,” NBF Executive Director Tom Verry noted. “Their efforts have significantly impacted the growth of this industry.”

New Leadership at National Biodiesel Board

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has four new members and four returning members on its governing board. This news release from NBB says the group was elected during NBB’s latest annual fall membership meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.

“Biodiesel faces many challenges but we have strong leadership from among all sectors of the industry and we are in a position as an organization to face those challenges head on,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “This industry has reached nearly two billion gallons for a third consecutive year and will continue to grow into the future under the direction of the board.”

NBB members voted to fill eight board member spots:

– Kent Engelbrecht, ADM
– Ron Heck, Iowa Soybean Association
– Ed Hegland, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
– Ron Marr, Minnesota Soybean Processors
– Steve Nogel, AGP
– Amy Sigg Davis, Ohio Soybean Council
– Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
– Chad Stone, Renewable Energy Group

Steven Levy, Mike Cunningham, Greg Anderson, Jennifer Case, Timothy Keaveney, Robert Morton, and Ben Wootton also continue to serve on the Governing Board. Four long-time board members retired their positions this year including two past chairs Bob Metz, South Dakota Soybean, and Gary Haer, Renewable Energy Group. Also retiring their positions were Ed Ulch, Iowa Soybean Association, and Todd Ellis, Imperium Renewables.

The meeting also saw discussions on the current state of federal policies impacting the industry, held meetings of standing committees, and began the annual program planning process.

Iowa Biodiesel Makers Take to DC

nafb15-nbb-grantIowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) members joined their National Biodiesel Board colleagues in lobbying lawmakers to renew and restructure the federal $1-per-gallon credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel. IBB pointed to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s proposal that would correct a loophole in the existing program and save U.S. taxpayers $90 million.

“Nowhere is the success of the tax credit more evident than in Iowa. Our state’s 13 plants produced more than a quarter of a billion gallons of biodiesel last year, supporting jobs and economic development while replacing foreign oil and diversifying our fuel supply. The federal tax incentive has played a key role in enabling those plants to stay operating and profitable, benefiting all levels of our economy,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

But Kimberley isn’t just looking at the benefits for Iowa. During an interview with the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, he said that Iowa biodiesel can be a real help to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

“California … wants to have all of their transportation fuels fit under the [LCFS], where it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is better for the environment,” said Kimberley. “Renewable fuels, including biodiesel, can play a key role in that.”

He said biodiesel producers have had to educate California officials just how good biodiesel can be. Initially, California scored biodiesel just above conventional diesel. But education efforts improved that score.

“Now they’ve moved that score higher, so now it’s up to 50-80 percent better than petroleum-based diesel, which means biodiesel can play a really strong role in the [LCFS]. It could be up to 600 million gallons of biodiesel per year that could be utilized in California,” said Kimberley.

He also pointed out that since California doesn’t produce much of the green fuel, it opens up many possibilities for Midwest producers.

Listen to all of Cindy’s conversation with Kimberley here: Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board

Biodiesel Leaders Push for Tax Credit Renewal

Biodiesel leaders from across the nation descended on Washington, D.C., to push lawmakers to renew the federal $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax credit. The National Biodiesel Board points out producers have been without the credit for all of 2015, and that’s the fourth time in six years Congress has allowed it to lapse.

nafb15-nbb-gregDuring the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, NBB board member Greg Anderson, a soybean producer from Nebraska, said they’d like to get the tax credit done for two years – retroactive for 2015 and for the upcoming 2016 calendar year. He said it’s important to get this passed.

“It levels the playing field,” said Anderson. “We know that oil is subsidized, and biodiesel is a young industry [in comparison]. It would give incentives and confidence to the plants out there that have the production capacity, want to make new hires, provide great jobs and energy independence. We’re lacking when [the tax credit] is not in place.”

Anderson feels confident it will get done, because he knows the NBB’s Washington office has been working legislators hard. He hopes those lawmakers will realize just how valuable the fuel is and how it fits with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Biodiesel is the tip of the spear toward the RFS’ success. We’re the only advanced biofuel commercially available,” showing success from coast-to-coast, heating homes and fueling vehicles cleanly, he noted.

Anderson added the NBB is also working with the Environmental Protection Agency that could see more aggressive RFS growth for biodiesel than what the EPA is currently proposing.

Listen to interview here: NBB board member Greg Anderson

Biodiesel Conference Builds Power from Knowledge

NBB2016The old saying “knowledge is power” certainly applies to the upcoming National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, Jan. 25-28, 2016, in Tampa. Conference organizers promise expert speakers on forecast markets, explanation of new regulations, and discussions of tax incentives. Among the spotlight sessions: “Anatomy of the RFS Rule: What the New EPA Rule Does and What it Means for Biodiesel.”

It’s still in flux today, but by conference time we will have the latest Renewable Fuel Standard volumes as well as in-depth analysis about how it may affect you and your business. Our team of experts will review what’s in the final rule and look ahead to what it means for biodiesel’s future under the program. We’ll break down the politics shaping the EPA’s decisions and the likelihood of RFS changes moving forward, whether in Congress or under a new Administration.

More information and registration is available here.

NBB’s Jobe Talks State of Biodiesel

The National Advanced Biofuels Conference kicked off last week with a heated discussion about the state of advanced biofuels in the U.S. with a focus on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Following the panel I had a chance to speak with Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board NBB) who was joined on the panel by Micheal McAdams, President of the Advanced Biofuels Association, and Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Beltway Update Panel at Advanced Biofuels Conf 2015Jobe said the panel was heated because biodiesel represents the only commercially available, nationwide advanced biofuel in the market today. He made reference to one group who said that the RFS is no longer the solution but has become part of the problem. “We are very much opposed to the sentiment,” said Jobe. “We believe biofuels groups need to stay together and not segment and bash each other.”

The RFS is poised to get on track despite two years of stumbling said Jobe. The final RVOs (renewable volume obligations) are due from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the end of November and Jobe said at least then the industry will have some guidance. It will also aid their argument that increasing the biomass based diesel and advanced biofuels categories will help strengthen the RFS overall. He’s optimistic.

Jobe also stressed the need to get the biodiesel tax incentive reauthorized and put in place for the next few years. In addition, he spoke about one of the topics that will be of great interest in their upcoming conference in Tampa, Florida at the end of January: the next level of discussion on energy policy and that’s carbon policy.

Listen to my interview with NBB’s CEo Joe Jobe here: Interview with Joe Jobe, NBB

NBB: Survey Supports Increased Biodiesel Volumes

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) says a national survey shows that America should have more biodiesel in its fuel mix. In a news release by the group, NBB pointed out the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) enjoys 80 percent support by voters, something the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should keep in mind as it sits one month away from releasing a final RFS rule.

“This is just more evidence that the EPA should strengthen biodiesel volumes in the final RFS proposal,” said Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs. “There is substantial public support and mounting data behind strong renewable fuel volumes that allow for additional growth in the program. We are hopeful the administration and EPA recognize the opportunity they have to deliver meaningful policy that will reduce carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on oil.”

Moore Information conducted an online survey of registered voters nationwide on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board. The survey showed continued support for a national renewable fuel standard to support increased biodiesel use in the U.S. After hearing a description of biodiesel and its uses 80 percent of voters in the United States support a renewable fuel standard for biodiesel and just 10 percent oppose. The remaining voters are unsure. This is up from just 70 percent support two years ago.

The survey also showed that despite drops in oil and gas prices, public support for renewable fuels has not been adversely affected. On the contrary, it appears the public is increasing its support for renewables, like cleaner burning biodiesel.

“Voters clearly support biodiesel and the RFS. The policies are working,” Steckel said. “Now is the time to build on that success.”

Biodiesel Board’s Steckel Honored by Clean Cities

asteckelA leader from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has been recognized by a group working in public-private partnership to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector. The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition on Wednesday honored National Biodiesel Board Vice President Anne Steckel with its Initiative of the Year Award for her work promoting biodiesel on the local and national level.

Steckel was presented with the award at GWRCCC’s 3rd Annual Awards Luncheon at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va. The award recognizes an alternative fuels team leader who played a key role in closing a significant and complex alternative fuels challenge during the past year.

“Anne’s leadership has brought about greater sustainability to the biodiesel market as a result of her efforts in release of the new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Ron Flowers, Executive Director for GWRCCC. “And her work with GWRCCC has gone a long way in increasing the use of biodiesel in the Washington area to over one million gallons per year.”

Steckel’s leadership and advocacy in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the biodiesel industry resulted in many important initiatives, including a comprehensive campaign demonstrating the benefits of increased biodiesel volumes under the RFS. The EPA’s latest RFS proposal would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. Steckel and the NBB team have vowed to continue working to strengthen biodiesel volumes in the final proposal set to be released in November…

“I want to thank Ron Flowers and the board of GWRCC for this award and for the incredible work they do to promote clean energy in the nation’s capital,” Steckel said. “We absolutely would not have made the progress we’ve made in this area without their leadership. The bottom line is we now have more fleets using biodiesel in the region and we have more mechanics trained in understanding biodiesel’s benefits. The air is cleaner as a result, and hopefully we can continue moving forward with stable federal policy that paves the way for even greater use.”

Get Set to Go to the Biodiesel Conference in Tampa!

NBB2016It’s that time of year again! Time to register for the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, going on Jan. 25-28, 2016, in Tampa, Florida. Organizers promise networking and educational opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else.

This year, we are on the water in Tampa, and you’ll see some big differences to our format. First, we’ve expanded meeting and sitting space to make our Expo Hall an easy place for you to meet clients and do business. Second, new sessions and schedules recognize one of the most valuable assets of this event is the people you see and meet. With many restaurants in easy walking distance, the venue is perfectly positioned for evenings to host key clients, engage new contacts and interact with biodiesel leaders. We encourage you to consider a sponsorship this year; we have a host of great options to showcase your company or can build one to meet your specific needs.

This event has proven time and again your investment in time and money to make the trip will return value to you and your organization in both dollars and your role in the industry. There is no question this is the biodiesel event of the year, only a question of how you’ll capitalize on the opportunities it presents.

Young Scientists Can Apply for Biodiesel Scholarship

next_gen_scientists_logoCollege science students are being invited to apply for scholarships to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 25 – 28 in Tampa, Florida. The National Biodiesel Board, the United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Foundation are offering a $500 travel scholarship with the application deadline of Nov. 12.

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel is an NBB program intended to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry.

Student opportunities include a poster session and breakout session to present their research, a preconference biodiesel educational overview and a mentoring lunch with prominent biodiesel scientists.

Last year, more than 30 students attended the event from schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado – Boulder, the University of California – Davis and Appalachian State University, among others.

Many of the students, who came from a wide range of disciplines, noted the intellectual impact the event made on them.

“By communicating with people directly involved in the biodiesel industry, I learned more about biodiesel than I ever would from reading an article or watching a video,” said Courtney Swink, an undergraduate marine science major at the University of South Carolina. “I had no idea that the biodiesel industry was so huge and rapidly expanding, from the farmers producing feedstock to the engineers selling pumps to the owners of production plants and the transportation of fuel.”