Positive Legislative Outlook For Biodiesel

Manning FeraciDuring the last general session of the National Biodiesel Conference we got the legislative outlook from Manning Feraci, Vice President for Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. He talked about advancing to the next level of effectiveness in the capitol halls of America.

You can find some current resources regarding legislative issues on the NBB website:

* Renewable Fuel Standard – RFS-2 Action Center
* October 3, 2008 Tax Extender’s Package
* Tax Incentive
* Farm Bill
* Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs)
You can listen to Manning’s remarks here: Manning Feraci Remarks

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Annual Eye on Biodiesel Award Winners

The “Eye on Biodiesel” Awards were presented today during our last general session at the conference. I’m going to list them with their comments from the stage starting with the Inspiration Award. Accepting was Nick Portonova.

Inspiration: Deer Valley Unified School District. This Arizona school district began its biodiesel program in 1999, long before the fuel was a known quantity. Now the district uses biodiesel blends from B5 to B50 in all 236 school buses. Transportation Director Nick Portonova says he routinely takes calls from across the nation, helping answer questions that other fleets have. Portonova added the biggest benefit of using biodiesel is the healthier choice they are making for their students.

Inspiration comments here: Inspiration Comments

Our next award is the Innovation Award. Accepting was Frank Dela Vara, Director of Environmental Affairs, Disneyland Resort.

Innovation: Disneyland Resort. The resort is a national landmark whose effort to reduce emissions through biodiesel use displaces 200,000 gallons a year of petroleum diesel. Their innovative solution saved their iconic steam trains and is a shining example of biodiesel use.

Innovation comments here: Innovation Comments

Next up was the Influence Award. Accepting was Keith Kerman, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Influence: City of New York.
New York City Department of Sanitation, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. City of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed landmark air quality legislation that includes a provision requiring all heating oil sold within New York City to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel by October 1, 2012. By moving to environmentally-friendly Bioheat TM, the City will annually replace approximately 20 million gallons of petroleum-based heating fuel. The New York City Department of Sanitation uses biodiesel blends of B5-B20 in its 4,000 diesel vehicles, which include many large trucks and snow plows. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has operated its diverse fleet of vehicles as well as more than 130 buildings on B20-B100 blends since 2006. Because of these two departments’ commitment to cleaner fuels, New York City is the nation’s largest municipal user of biodiesel.

Influence comments here: Influence Comments

Our next award was the Initiative Award. Accepting were the Grassroots Team Captains and Alicia Clancy-REG.

Initiative: NBB Grassroots Team Captains. The NBB grassroots initiative empowers biodiesel industry leaders and supporters to influence public discussion. NBB’s grassroots success has been heralded by Hill staff and trade groups alike. The successful program centers on team captains who carry out targeted objectives in their states. Since July 2009 the team captains have rallied contacts in key states to support a positive legislative framework for biodiesel. In just six weeks, NBB Grassroots Team Captains generated 8,000 comments on pending federal legislation. Their volunteer efforts have also led to countless earned media placements, successful site visits, and thousands of calls and letters to elected leaders. This group was critical in establishing the policy framework that exists today.

Initiative comments here: Initiative Comments

The Industry Partner Award was next. Accepting was Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board.

Industry Partnership: Nebraska Soybean Board. The Nebraska Soybean Board has been a leader among state soybean organizations in its support of biodiesel. Staff and farmer leaders regularly support and participate in critical biodiesel projects and events. For example, Nebraska recently hosted a delegation of oil heat leaders, a group that plans to blend 325 million gallons of biodiesel and wanted to see firsthand the source of the product. The Board also played a major role spearheading the largest proactive communications effort in industry history. They introduced new state soybean organizations to the biodiesel industry, and continue to support the industry through major investments in biodiesel projects.

Industry Partner comments here: Industry Partner Comments

Our final award was the Impact Award. Accepting was Adam J. Gryglak, Chief Engineer, Powertrain Engineering for Ford. I actually interviewed him so I’ll post that interview here for you.

Impact: Ford Motor Company. As a leader in the automotive industry, Ford Motor Company has again stepped to the forefront with its support for and promotion of biodiesel. Ford undertook the task of designing, engineering and manufacturing its entire lineup of all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with the specific goal of supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends for all its diesel customers, starting in 2011 and beyond. Ford’s investment into the intense research, development and testing efforts that led to that support are now signified by the silver B20 emblem that is proudly displayed on the side of every new Ford Super Duty diesel truck. Ford’s continued support has made a significant impact on the marketplace, instilling even greater consumer confidence in biodiesel.

You can listen to my interview with Adam here: Interview with Adam Gryglak

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Conference Panel On Government Policy

NBC Panel DiscussionDuring the second general session at the National Biodiesel Conference we heard about the role of government policy in advancing biodiesel from a panel of experts.

Participating on the panel were moderator Shelby Neal – National Biodiesel Board; Eric Bowen – Renewable Energy Group Inc./California Biodiesel Alliance Chairman; Ed Hegland – Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council/NBB Past Chairman; Steven Levy – Sprague Energy; Rebecca Richardson – MARC-IV and Ben Wootton – Keystone Biofuels, Inc.

You can listen to the panel discussion here: Panel Discussion on Govt. Policy

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

NBB Chairman Very Upbeat

Gary HaerThis morning the Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board, Gary Haer, REG, took to the stage. I spoke with him before the general session started and he says that everyone is upbeat here at the conference and excited about the prospects in 2011.

He says the RFS provides a demand that biodiesel will fill as the only advanced biofuel. He also says that NBB will be working on getting the tax credit back since it complements the RFS.

You can listen to my interview with Gary here: Interview with Gary Haer

You can listen to Gary’s speech here: Gary Haer Remarks

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Elixir Bio-Tech Wins Award

A New Mexico Algae Biotech company, Elixir Bio-Tech Inc. (EBT), has been named one of the top 50 winners of the FundingPost’s 7th annual “Pitching Across America” competition. EBT is attempting to demonstrate accelerated approaches in producing algal biofuels with its Algae Biomass Feedstock project and has a patent pending on its Open and Closed Algae Biomass Systems.

FundingPost is a company that introduces entrepreneurs and investors and established the “Pitching Across America (PAA) program, to help emerging companies secure funding. PAA is the largest venture capital competition ever organized, according to its founders and this year judges reviewed more than 300 entries. Entries were judged based on several key points including the professionalism of the written summary, current stage of development, competitive advantage, need in the marketplace, feasibility for success, and whether the company is “VentureWorthy.”

“We’re very pleased to have been chosen for recognition from such an impressive list of companies throughout the U.S.,” said Richard Warren, CEO of Elixir Bio-Tech Inc. “FundingPost has given us an opportunity to reach an excellent selection of visionary investors. While our customer base continues to grow, in the Algae Nutraceutical markets, the right funding partner(s) can accelerate the establishment of the company’s production facility. Our company also plans to benefit from biofuel collaborations with NMSU, Santa Fe College and Sapphire through subcontracting, R&D work study and local employment.”

FundingPost Venture Capital judges found Elixir’s business summary compelling because it expressed the critical need for advanced biofuel production and phytochemical co-products along with reduced carbon emissions and wastewater treatment.

Joe Rubin, Director, of FundingPost, concluded, “Elixir Bio-Tech Inc. has an exciting innovative rural algae biomass thrust and we know that FundingPost and the ‘Pitching Across America’ win will benefit them as they seek funding this year.”

VW’s TDI Runs Clean Diesel But Less Biodiesel?

While Volkswagen has been known for its cars friendly to 100 percent blends of biodiesel, it seems that the last couple of years of the German carmaker’s Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) line of vehicles must run at much lower blends.

This piece from EnergyDigital.com says that while VW’s Super Bowl ads were winners, the “upgraded” TDIs from 2009 and newer are losers when it comes to biodiesel, running just 5 percent of the green fuel:

What we have here is a classic example of environmental protection regulation backfiring. While it is absolutely necessary to ensure that industrial practices are as minimally destructive to the environment as possible, it is also counterintuitive when the regulations created actually promote increased fossil fuel consumption over biofuels. Several TDI aficionados have expressed their disappointment in the new TDI engines in blogs and Internet comment boards, even forming grassroots associations calling for biodiesel-compatible TDI engines to return to VW’s lineup. There were several instances in 2009 where buyers of the new TDIs were uninformed of the engine’s inability to use higher blend biodiesel—the whole reason they bought the car in the first place! VW is currently in the process of approving the new TDI engines for B20 biodiesel blends, but true-blooded biodiesel supporters—the “B100 or nothing” crew—are turning to older TDI models to get their biofuel fix.

Hmmm… maybe we can get that little Darth Vader kid to fix this problem (he won the Super Bowl ads competition as the most creative of the night, right?).

Iowa State to Hold Wind and Solar Energy Conference

While Iowa might be best known for its ethanol and biodiesel industries, the Hawkeye State is also a leader in wind energy (with more than 1,100 wind turbines across the state) and would like to become bigger in solar. So it only makes sense that Iowa State University Extension will be sponsoring a Wind and Solar Energy Conference on March 2 at the Le Mars Convention Center, in Le Mars, Iowa (not too far from the Northwest Iowa wind turbines in the photograph):

“The conference addresses the latest research in Iowa’s alternative energy,” said Sherry McGill, ISU Extension regional director. “It gives Iowans the opportunity to learn how these alternative energy methods affect them legally and financially.”

Speakers from the Iowa Energy Center, USDA Rural Development and Iowa State University will address various wind and solar energy topics, including legal considerations, planning and zoning, financing Iowa’s energy industry and utility companies information.

Presentation highlights include Bill Haman of the Iowa Energy Center with an overview of wind and solar energy resources in “Wind Energy Resources in Iowa-The Bolts and Nuts” and “Solar Energy Resources in Iowa-An Alternative to Wind Energy”.

Other conference speakers include Aaron Chittenden, city of West Des Moines; Erin Herbold, Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation; Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development; Mark Reinders, MidAmerican Energy Co. and entrepreneurs Gregg Heide and Paul Rekow.

Registration is just $35 before Feb. 22 ($45 after that). More information and registration is available here.

New Products In Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

Biodiesel Vehicle ShowcaseDuring the National Biodiesel Conference some of the latest biodiesel powered vehicles are on display inside the trade show. Like last year, a presentation was made that included comments from various auto company and vehicle representatives.

Pictured is Joe Jobe, CEO, NBB, welcoming everyone to the showcase. I’ve got photos of the vehicles on display in the photo album. Emceeing the event was Jennifer Weaver, NBB OEM Outreach and Education Program.

You can listen to the full presentation from the vehicle showcase here: : Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Skeptic Publisher Keynotes Biodiesel Conference

Biodiesel Conference PanelBe skeptical of phony “science.” Good advice and I wish more people who take it, especially when it comes to biofuels and issues like climate change. Today’s National Biodiesel Conference keynote speaker provided lots of examples of how people are easily fooled. He was Michael Shermer, Skeptic Magazine.

After the session I spoke with Michael and asked him to summarize a key point he made in his comments about the danger of making governmental decisions that will profoundly impact our economy when it comes to things like climate change and carbon footprinting. He says that we can know that the Earth is getting warmer and that sea levels have risen but after that the data gets so fuzzy and the “error bars” get so wide it’s not practical to make political decisions. As he puts it, “It’s reasonable to be skeptical.”

You can listen to my interview with Michael here: Interview with Michael Shermer

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album