Biodiesel Fueling Future from Coast to Coast

Cindy Zimmerman

The closing session of the 14th National Biodiesel Conference & Expo last week provided a look back at the accomplishments of the past year and how biodiesel is fueling a low carbon future.

Led by Don O’Connor, a Vancouver-based international expert on greenhouse-gas emissions, the panel discussed biodiesel opportunities from coast to coast.

From the west coast was Simon Mui, Director of California’s Fuels, Energy and Transportation Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who praised the enactment of the state’s latest climate change law that expands on landmark 2006 legislation and now seeks to reduce emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are leading credit generators under the California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and their presence is expected to continue growing with the expansion of this landmark policy,

Jana Gastellum, Program Director of Climate at the Oregon Environmental Council, talked about how her west coast state seeks to reduce the average carbon fuel intensity by 10 percent over a 10-year period under its own Low Carbon Fuel Standard passed last year and how biodiesel will be playing a leading role in the effort.

From the east coast, the panel included Keith Kerman, Deputy Commissioner and chief fleet officer for New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services, who discussed how the city’s entire diesel fleet – the largest municipal fleet in the country – has converted to B20.

Listen to their conversation here: Biodiesel's Low Carbon Future

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB

FS Bioenergia Names CEO

Cindy Zimmerman

FS Bioenergia has announced that international agribusiness executive Henrique Ubrig will serve as the chief executive officer for the corn ethanol production facility being built in Brazil as a collaboration between Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril and U.S.-based Summit Agricultural Group.

“This is an exciting opportunity to make a significant difference in agriculture and renewable energy here in Brazil,” Ubrig said. “FS Bioenergia has assembled an impressive team and I look forward to working with them to ensure the success of this important endeavor.”

Ubrig is founder of Heliagro Agricultura e Pecuaria Ltda. In addition, he garnered more than 20 years of international business experience with DuPont, having served as president of DuPont South America from 1996-2003 and president of DuPont South Asia from 2004-2005.

FS Bioenergia broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility early last year and the facility is expected to begin operations in mid-2017. When fully operational, the facility will employ over 100 people and produce over 60 million gallons of ethanol annually.

Brazil, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, International

No Impact on RFS Expected from Regulation Freeze

Cindy Zimmerman

As soon as he took office, President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on regulations that were promulgated by the federal government before he took office, including the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) requirements for this year under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which were announced in late November.

In a statement, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen said the action by the president is routine and will only delay the rule. “This postponement of the effective date for the 2017 RVO rule is simply procedural,” said Dinneen. “It is not expected to affect implementation, enforcement, or compliance with the RFS.”

The RVO rule is one of 30 published by the Environmental Protection Agency between October 28, 2016 and January 17, 2017 that are affected by the president’s order. According to the federal register, the delayed order will be implemented on March 21.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA

Nebraska Ethanol Board Elects Executive Committee

Cindy Zimmerman

The Nebraska Ethanol Board has elected new officers for 2017.

Mike Thede, who farms near Palmer, Nebraska, and represents general farming, was elected chairman of the board. Jan tenBensel, who farms south of Cambridge, Nebraska, and represents wheat, was appointed vice chairman. Mark Ondracek, business manager for Steamfitters & Plumbers Local Union #464 and represents labor, maintains his seat as secretary.

Nebraska Ethanol Board chair Mike Thede

Outgoing Chairman Paul Kenney, who farms near Kearney, Nebraska, and represents business, was recognized for his eight years of board service. He was recently elected to the University of Nebraska Board Of Regents. Kenney’s vacancy for the business seat will be filled with an appointment by Gov. Ricketts in the next month.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. Established in 1971, the Ethanol Board assists ethanol producers with programs and strategies for marketing ethanol and related co-products.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Former Congressman to Talk Biodiesel at Iowa RFA Summit

Cindy Zimmerman

Fresh off his annual appearance at the National Biodiesel Conference last week in San Diego, former U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof will be heading to Altoona, Iowa next week to talk about “Biodiesel: America’s Advanced Biofuel” at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on January 31st.

While biodiesel is the most readily available source of advanced biofuel, challenges remain. Hulshof will speak on the need for a reinstated and reformed federal biodiesel tax credit that helps protect U.S. producers from highly-subsidized biodiesel imported from countries like Argentina.

“In Iowa alone, biodiesel production since 2010 has increased six fold, from 48 million gallons to 297 million in 2016,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Consumers are recognizing the economic and environmental value of this fuel. But if the market is cornered by Argentina or the EPA refuses to set aggressive biodiesel standards, U.S. production will be stunted. Mr. Hulshof will delve into how we can overcome these challenges.”

Hulshof represented Missouri’s 9th congressional district from 1997 to 2009 and currently serves as vice chairman of the consulting firm Kit Bond Strategies.

Biodiesel, Iowa RFA

2016 #Biodiesel Market Hits Record Highs

Cindy Zimmerman

The good news is that the amount of biodiesel and renewable diesel available to U.S. consumers last year increased by almost 40 percent. The bad news for domestic producers is that imports increased by more than 50 percent in 2016.

“We are proud to be delivering record gallons of American made biodiesel, but that success is undermined by the fact our members are losing more than a third of the market to foreign imports,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen.

According to numbers released by the EPA Thursday, the 2.9 billion gallons was an increase of 800 million gallons from 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel in 2015. At the same time domestic production rose from about 1.4 billion gallons in 2015 to more than 1.8 billion gallons in 2016, well below available capacity. Imports increased by more than 50 percent from an estimated 670 million gallons in 2015 to over 1 billion gallons in 2016, shortchanging potential economic benefits to U.S. producers.

Rehagen says the numbers show the importance of reforming the biodiesel tax incentive as a domestic production credit. “If we want to see more jobs here in the United States…we need those gallons to be produced here in the United States,” he said during a meeting with reporters at last week’s National Biodiesel Conference. NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen meets the press

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Meet New NBB Chairman

Cindy Zimmerman

Kent Engelbrecht of ADM was elected chairman of the National Biodiesel Board in November, marking the first time that company has moved into the leadership position for the organization.

“We’ve been involved in biodiesel since 2006,” said Engelbrecht. “We’ve got four plants in North America producing a lot of biodiesel, and that uses a lot of soybean oil, and that comes from a lot of soybeans.”

In this interview, Engelbrecht talks about last week’s 14th National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego and his excitement for the future of the biodiesel industry. Interview with Kent Engelbrecht, NBB chairman

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference

John Deere Continues Biodiesel Support

Cindy Zimmerman

John Deere green was on display at the National Biodiesel Conference Vehicle Showcase last week in San Diego.

Chuck Studer, Director of Industry Relations, highlighted John Deere’s vast diesel equipment product line and long-standing involvement with biodiesel. John Deere was one of the first original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get involved with biodiesel, approving B5 biodiesel blends for use in its engines in 2001. It was also one of the first off-highway equipment manufacturers to factory fill biodiesel blends in North America. Since then, John Deere has continued to conduct biodiesel research and perform lab and field tests using biodiesel fuel, and now supports up to B20 or higher biodiesel blends in its equipment.

Studer featured the best-selling garden tractor in the San Diego area, John Deere’s 5045E, approved for use with B20 biodiesel blends.

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, John Deere, Video

2017 Biodiesel Conference Wrap Up

Cindy Zimmerman

Another successful National Biodiesel Conference wrapped up last week in San Diego, the 14th one for the industry.

Donnell Rehagen has attended the majority of those conferences as COO for the National Biodiesel Board, but it was his first as CEO, and he was very pleased with this year’s event and excited about the industry moving forward.

Listen to my wrap up interview with Donnell here: Interview with Donnell Rehagen, NBB CEO

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Be sure to check out the Biodiesel Conference Blog for lots more from the 14th annual conference.

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

#NBB17 Spotlight on Washington Session

Cindy Zimmerman

The ever-popular Spotlight on Washington session at the 2017 National Biodiesel Conference was more popular than ever this year with the advent of a new presidential administration.

Back by popular demand for the session were former Sen. Byron Dorgan and former Cong. Kenny Hulshof, and they were joined by other DC insiders Jim Massie, Timothy Urban, and Tom Hance. All offered their opinions and insights into what to expect from President Trump, generally along the lines of Dorgan’s first comments. “I don’t know,” he said when asked by NBB’s Anne Steckel about the election and where we go from here. “My head’s still kind of exploding.”

Listen to the whole conversation here: #NBB17 Washington Spotlight session

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB, policy, politics