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.”

California LCFS Opens Opportunities for Biodiesel

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is very pleased with the decision last week by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to readopt the Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the increased role biodiesel will play in that standard.

The new standard finds that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and often by as much as 81 percent versus petroleum, giving it the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board director of sustainability. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources. This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

Scott took part in a conference call today with University of California-Davis Extension Agronomist Stephen Kaffka, who is director of the California Biomass Collaborative. “The production of low carbon intensity feedstocks from all sources is important,” said Kaffka. “The fuels that have the best carbon performance are the ones that should have a market in California.”

Kaffka adds that the standard allows for “innovation and competition” to create new fuels from new pathways. “These fuels can come from any number of sources, including agricultural crops, but also the conversion of forest residues, lumber harvesting and thinning, and the recycling and conversion of organic wastes from urban sources,” he said. “Diesel can be made from both crops and from residues of various sorts.”

Listen to the conference call here: National Biodiesel call on California LCFS

Biodiesel Board Responds to EU Protectionism

nBBThe European Union has extended its protectionist trade duties that have kept the American green fuel out of the continent since 2009. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is calling on Congress to reinstate the U.S. tax incentive now to help counter what NBB sees as unfair trade practices.

“The European Commission has decided to continue a policy that is clearly aimed at giving European biodiesel producers an edge over their competition and a lock on the European market. It is disappointing, and we will continue evaluating our options for fighting these protectionist duties,” [said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for NBB.]

“This decision highlights why the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive should be reformed and converted into a domestic production credit so that we have a level playing field. When the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive is in effect under the current structure, European biodiesel can be shipped to the United States only to be rewarded with a $1-per-gallon incentive, while at the same time U.S. biodiesel shipped to the EU is slapped with punitive duties. This is obviously unfair to American companies and workers.”

The punitive duties were first imposed by the European Commission on July 7, 2009, and were slated to expire last year. However, in July 2014, the European Biodiesel Board pushed to extend them for another five years, and the Commission has been conducting an “expiry review” for this purpose. The EU has cited the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive in the U.S. as a reason to extend the duties, ignoring the fact that the biodiesel tax incentive is currently expired and that European biodiesel was eligible to receive the tax credit so long as it was blended in the U.S.

NBB pointed out that European biodiesel producers are able to sell biodiesel in both Europe and the United States without duties or limitation and can freely participate in U.S. policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and, before it had expired, the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive.

Everyone Wins with Bioheat

Paul Nazzaro said that Bioheat has been a win, win situation for marketers, the biodiesel industry and the petroleum people as well during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum that recently took place in Mankao, Minnesota. Nazzaro is the President of Nazzaro Group, who is a liaison between the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and companies who want to, or do sell Bioheat. Specific to Bioheat, he said the product has allowed the biodiesel industry to reinvent itself and produce a product that is more accepted by consumers.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-nazzaro“In the past, heating oil was dirty, prehistoric and linked to to big oil,” said Nazzaro. “They’re finding out Bioheat is the next generation fuel for them and they are valuing the benefits that come with it.”

He said that education has been very important for the increased adoption of Bioheat and that NBB has been leading the way. But he noted that the education is not coming from newspapers and radio ads and stories, its coming from “gorilla marketing”. “It’s a fuel dealer talking to a consumer about the Bioheat and its benefits.”

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Paul Nazzaro: Paul Nazzaro, Nazzaro Group

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

#Biodiesel Supports #AgMedia

ams15-nbbThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was proud to once again be a part of the Ag Media Summit last week and share their positive message about the biodiesel industry.

“AMS is really a great gathering of a wide variety of publications across the ag industry,” said Jessica Robinson of NBB. “It’s a good opportunity to talk with people and let them know that biodiesel is growing and as we grow we’re playing a larger role in these spaces.”

NBB exhibited in the InfoExpo and also sponsored some of the professional improvement workshops at the event. They had a special focus this year on the livestock industry and how biodiesel is helping to make producers more profitable. “We know people are always looking for new and interesting stories and this is definitely a good one and one we’re happy to share,” said Jessica.

Interview with Jessica Robinson, National Biodiesel Board

2015 Ag Media Summit Photo Album

NBB Cites Biodiesel Benefits of RFS

The comment period has officially ended for the final 2014 and 2015 final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule as set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The National Biodiesel Board submitted comments but has a different take on how to keep the legislation moving forward and successful.

Biodiesel at the pumpBiodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal, which is slated to be finalized in November, would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion gallons in 2016.

NBB wrote in their comments, “The growth and expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry in recent years represents a tremendous success story under the RFS. Today, nearly 2 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel displace an equivalent amount of petroleum diesel. This has resulted in significant reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact across the nation.”

“The industry now has production plants in nearly every state in the country making fuel from an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, including recycled cooking oil, plant oils such as soybean oil, and animal fats,” the comments state. “In short, the biomass‐based diesel program has exceeded expectations and is achieving the goals that Congress outlined in creating the RFS. As a result, it warrants additional volume growth to meet the objectives of Congress in expanding renewable fuel use in the diesel market and in promoting advanced biofuels under the program.

NBB’s comments follow a letter from 36 U.S. senators last week calling for increased biodiesel volumes, and add to thousands of comments submitted by biodiesel supporters to the EPA in recent weeks. The comment period on the EPA’s pending proposal closed at midnight Monday.

“The EPA’s proposal is an improvement over its initial draft, but the agency can and should do much better,” said Anne Steckel, NBB vice president of federal affairs. “We have presented credible, compelling reasons for increasing biodiesel use under the RFS, and we hope the EPA carefully reviews our comments and those of thousands of other biodiesel supporters who have weighed in.”