Haer Honored with Eye on Biodiesel Inspiration Award

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Former National Biodiesel Board chair Gary Haer was honored Tuesday with the industry’s Eye on Biodiesel Inspiration Award during the 2021 virtual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo.

Gary Haer is the Vice President, Special Projects for NBB member company, Renewable Energy Group (REG), one of the nation’s largest producers of both biodiesel and renewable diesel in the United States. As the biodiesel industry began to take shape in early 2000, Haer served as the National Sales and Marketing Manager for biodiesel at West Central, a farm cooperative in Iowa. In 2006, Renewable Energy Group, Inc. emerged from the West Central business and Haer took the helm of the Sales and Marketing department, including market and distribution infrastructure development for national and international biomass-based diesel sales.

Haer was elected to NBB’s Governing Board in 2004 as the Secretary and worked his way to Vice Chairman and eventually Chairman of the Board in 2011. He was the first non-farmer Chair of the NBB and led the organization during a time of the industry’s greatest growth in production and membership.

Listen to NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen present the award to Haer and his acceptance remarks:
2021 Biodiesel Conference Inspiration Award - Gary Haer, REG (3:17)

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Rise to Meet New Opportunities

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry kicked off the 2021 Virtual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo Tuesday with an optimistic outlook for the future of America’s sustainable petroleum diesel replacement.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Rise 2021” and in his annual state of the industry address, National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen pointed to several factors contributing to increased demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

“Last year we unveiled Vision 2020, our plan to grow to over six billion gallons by the year 2030, and, with advancements in feedstocks, 15 billion gallons by 2050,” he said. “The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry believes, with strong data I might add, we will have the production and market demand to reach this previously unimaginable goal by 2030.”

Specifically, Rehagen said states across the country have embraced sustainable fuels as part of their own efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions within their borders. Those efforts took on greater significance during the pandemic as Americans witnessed natural reduction of smog and pollution from drivers staying home and using less petroleum.

Beyond the growth in demand for traditional biodiesel and renewable diesel in on-road and off-road transportation applications, the increasing use of Bioheat® as an oilheat replacement, as well as interest in renewable jet fuels, are expanding new markets for the industry.

Rehagen also reminded virtual attendees that at last year’s conference in Tampa, the industry was celebrating the recently reinstated biodiesel tax incentive, which continues to encourage growth.

“By renewing the biodiesel tax incentive through 2022, Congress sent a strong signal that it supports growth in the biodiesel market and provided a much-needed economic lifeline to biodiesel producers and farmers across this country,” he said.

Listen to Rehagen’s state of the industry address and follow up press conference below:
2021 Biodiesel Conference state of the industry address - NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen (18:43)

2021 Biodiesel Conference NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen press conference (28:44)

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Iowa Biodiesel Production Up in 2020 Despite COVID

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Even with two plants out of operation for the year, Iowa biodiesel producers still managed to increase production in 2020, despite market challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued small refinery waivers.

With nine of Iowa’s 11 biodiesel plants in operation, biodiesel production hit 351 million gallons in 2020, the second highest year of biodiesel production in Iowa history behind 365 million gallons in 2018. Total production capacity for the state is over 400-million-gallon.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw credited the bump in production to the reinstatement and long-term extension of the federal biodiesel blenders tax credit in late 2019, which provided a boost for higher biodiesel blends.

“The long-term extension of the biodiesel blenders tax credit gave Iowa biodiesel producers the market certainty to be successful even in a very uncertain year,” Shaw said. “COVID-19 did not hurt the diesel market the same way it gutted gasoline demand and, as result, production went up. Hopefully Iowa can take another step forward and utilize even more of our biodiesel capacity if there is proper implementation of the RFS in 2021.”

Iowa biodiesel production is expected to account for roughly 20 percent of total U.S. biodiesel production in 2020.

Soybean oil continued to be the feedstock of choice for the majority of Iowa biodiesel production, making up over 85 percent. Corn oil was second at just over eight percent. Animal fat, canola oil, and used cooking oil made up the rest of the feedstock used by Iowa biodiesel producers.

Biodiesel

Focus on Biodiesel’s Environmental Benefits

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The environmental benefits of both biodiesel and renewable diesel are in focus this week at the virtual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo.

Matt Herman is the National Biodiesel Board‘s new Director of Environmental Science. Formally with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Renewable Energy Group (REG), Herman has plenty of experience using life cycle assessment to measure the environmental attributes of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and the supply chains which support their production.

Herman helped kick off the traditional pre-conference Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel 101 session on Monday and will be leading the discussion today on Driving Decarbonization: Eliminating Emissions Throughout the Supply Chain. Learn more in this interview.

2021 Biodiesel Conference preview with Matt Herman, NBB (4:59)

Audio, Biodiesel, Environment, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB, renewable diesel

ACE Reacts to EPA Biofuels Proposals

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings was glad to see one of the last minute proposals released by the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, not so pleased with the others.

“ACE strongly supports EPA’s proposal to make E15 more accessible to retailers and motorists, but once again, the Trump EPA has chosen to bundle a promise to do right by ethanol with a poison pill gift to oil refiners,” said Jennings. “Instead of breathing life into unwarranted petitions from refiners and oil-state Governors to waive the 2019 and 2020 RFS alongside its proposal to treat E15 like other fuels, EPA should have denied the waiver requests outright because the petitioners failed to meet the thresholds established by the law and previous precedent. The statute is clear; to secure a general waiver of the RFS, a petitioner must provide evidence to EPA that implementation of the RFS itself is the cause of severe economic harm, not outside factors such as COVID-19.”

EPA announced three proposals at the end of last week to seek comments. One would extend compliance deadlines for 2019 and 2020 renewable volume obligations and one is in response to requests from refiners and oil state governors to provide a general waiver from 2019 and 2020 RFS renewable volume obligations due to COVID-19. The third would remove certain barriers to expand sales of E15, including E15 label revisions and underground storage tank compatibility.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol

Mixed Bag of Last Minute EPA Proposals for Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

With just days before a new administration takes office, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday issued a mixed bag of last minute proposals for biofuels producers.

First, in Friday’s Federal Register, EPA proposed to extend compliance deadlines for 2019 and 2020 renewable volume obligations, stating that the agency would “take no position on the availability of SREs for the 2019 compliance year.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper saw that as good news. “We do agree with EPA that the outgoing administration should refrain from any further action on the pending small refinery petitions. To that end, we see EPA’s statement in this proposal that it is not taking a position on 2019 SREs as a good sign.”

Also on Friday, EPA announced a final determination that no additional measures are necessary to mitigate “potential adverse air quality impacts” associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard, and Cooper says RFA agrees. “We agree with EPA that no additional ‘fuel control measures’ are necessary to mitigate ‘adverse air quality impacts’ from the RFS, because there are no ‘adverse’ impacts!”

However, Cooper says they do not agree with a proposal to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register to seek public comments on requests from refiners and oil state governors to provide a general waiver from 2019 and 2020 RFS renewable volume obligations due to COVID-19. “This is nothing more than one last desperate attempt by the refiners to undermine the RFS and protect their chokehold on the nation’s fuel markets. But it cannot succeed because EPA has no authority to waive RFS volumes unless the petitioners show that the RFS itself is the cause of the ‘severe economic harm’ to a state, region, or the nation.”

The final proposal out of EPA to be published on Tuesday would remove certain barriers to expand sales of E15, which Cooper says is strongly supported by the industry. RFA will be providing comments on all of these matters and testifying at the public hearings scheduled on several of these proposed actions.

Cooper summarizes RFA’s reaction to all of these proposals, in addition to the Supreme Court taking up the Tenth Circuit Court decision on small refinery exemptions, and rumors EPA would grant waivers on the way out the door.

RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper summarizes week of ethanol news (9:36)

Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Ethanol Report 1-15-21

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2021 is getting off to a whirlwind start for the ethanol industry. The year is barely started and the industry has already seen an unexpected Supreme Court unexpectedly taking up the Tenth Circuit Court decision from last January, heard rumors of last minute granting of small refinery waivers, and then got hit with four proposals from the outgoing EPA related to the Renewable Fuel Standard and E15.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper provides an update on the latest developments and RFA chief economist Scott Richman talks about what President-elect Joe Biden could do on Day One in office to reduce carbon emissions by 12 million metric tons.

Ethanol Report 1-15-21 (21:37)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, RFS

Biodiesel Conference to Spotlight Policy

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

National Biodiesel Board Director of Regulatory Affairs Kate Shenk will be moderating a panel at the 2021 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo called “What to Expect When You’re Expecting an RFS Rule” and with all of the turmoil going on right now regarding what the Trump EPA may do before leaving office, that landscape is changing daily.

Shenk says a proposal released this week by EPA to extend 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard compliance year deadlines due to the “uncertainty” surrounding small refinery exemptions may not preclude the administration from granting last minute waivers. “This notice may have been written prior to the potential decision to grant the 2019 SREs, as we are hearing in the rumor mill,” she said.

In this interview, Shenk talks about policy issues facing the biodiesel industry right now.
2021 Biodiesel Conference preview with Kate Shenk, NBB (9:41)

Audio, Biodiesel, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB, RFS

EPA Proposal May Mean No Last Minute Waivers

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule Thursday that would extend 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard compliance year deadlines due to the “uncertainty” surrounding small refinery exemptions.

EPA notes that the Tenth Circuit Court case, which is now pending on the Supreme Court’s docket, has the potential to impact the availability of SREs going forward. Because of the uncertainty, “we do not believe it would be appropriate to require small refineries to demonstrate compliance with their 2019 obligations pending ongoing appeals.”

Further, the proposal states, “Due to the ongoing litigation, we take no position on the availability of SREs for the 2019 compliance year,” a sign that biofuels supporters hope means the rumored last-minute approval of pending small refinery waivers will not happen after all.

The new RFS deadline for the 2019 compliance year and the associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports would be November 30, 2021, and June 1, 2022, respectively. The new deadlines for 2020 would be January 31, 2022, and June 1, 2022, respectively. A virtual public hearing on the proposal will be held on February 9, 2021.

Read the proposed rule.

Biodiesel, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS

Virtual Biodiesel Conference Starts Next Week

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The virtual 2021 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo officially launches next Tuesday, January 19th, with a full agenda on-line to allow participation from anywhere.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Rise” and National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Chief Operating Officer Doug Whitehead says it reflects the resilience of the industry. “We’re rising up to meet the challenges of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

The conference grand opening on Tuesday will focus on the Dawn of a New Era for Low-Carbon Fuels, with NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen offering his State of the Industry remarks, followed by a panel of experts to discuss the opportunities that exist for biodiesel and renewable diesel in this low carbon transformation.

Whitehead says timely topics for the conference will address the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), bioheat, and working with a new presidential administration and Congress.
2021 Biodiesel Conference preview with Doug Whitehead, NBB (11:47)

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