Biodiesel Board Celebrating 20 Years

Chuck Zimmerman

National Biodiesel Conference Joe JobeThe opening general session of this year’s National Biodiesel Conference was a fantastic look back at 20 years of the National Biodiesel Board and 10 years of this conference. After some opening educational sessions the first general session took place.

Here are some excerpts from this morning’s opening speech by Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB.

In thinking about what I wanted to say today it occurred to me that the past and future of the biodiesel industry can best be described in three distinct eras. These eras are distinct for the biodiesel industry but also distinct as stand-alone eras in history.

The first 10 years, is what I think of as biodiesel’s childhood. The second 10 year era, roughly the past decade, is what I think of as biodiesel’s teenage years. And like many teenagers, the industry was awkward, rebellious, and emotionally unstable during this period.

And then finally I will talk about the next ten years, which I believe is the era where biodiesel enters early adulthood.

Biodiesel will be in its 20’s during this period and like most people in their 20’s, this era will provide a lot of exciting growth, development, and innovation to look forward to – as long as we stay dedicated and unified as an industry.

You can listen to all of Joe’s opening speech here: Joe Jobe Opening Speech

We’ll have more to share from today’s activities as time permits!

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Eastern Winds Report Released

Joanna Schroeder

Eastern Winds ReportAccording to a new report, “Eastern Winds,” analyzing the emerging wind power markets in Central and Eastern European countries, plus Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, wind power will become a significant source of electricity production by 2020. In addition, Turkey’s wind power generation capacity will grow even faster as long as there is a stable legal framework in place. The report was published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

“Wind energy in Central and Eastern Europe, including Turkey, will substantially reduce the fossil fuel dependency of the power sectors, “said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer at EWEA. “But some countries – such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria – are without stable renewable energy legislation, and investors and banks will withdraw unless governments put in place long-term renewable energy policies.”

According to EWEA 12 newer EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe plan to increase wind power capacity from the 6.4 gigawatts installed at end of 2012 to 16 gigawatts by 2020. This is equivalent to the electricity supply of 9 million households. Turkey wants to increase wind power capacity from its current 2.3 gigawatts to 20 gigawatts by 2023.

In 2012, Poland and Romania almost doubled their annual installed wind power capacity in 2012: Poland had 2.5 gigawatts, Romania 1.9 gigawatts, and Bulgaria 0.7 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed.

Alternative energy, Electricity, Energy, International, Wind

DOE Research: RFS a Proven Economic Success

Joanna Schroeder

According to a new article published in the journal Biofuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is producing significant positive economic effects in the U.S. According to the paper, authored by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the RFS is reducing crude oil prices, decreasing crude oil imports, increasing gross domestic product (GDP) and having only minimal impacts on global food markets and land use. The study also found that in the future, full implementation of the RFS’ advanced biofuels requirements will amplify these benefits.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.59.45 PMCommenting on the ORNL findings, Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said, “As Congress returns and hearings are scheduled, Big Oil and Big Food will undoubtedly ramp up their multi-million dollar campaign to smear the RFS. Rather than listening to well-heeled oil lobbyists or giving credence to sham ‘studies’ funded by grocery manufacturers, let’s allow independently funded, unbiased, third-party research — like this study from ORNL — to guide the debate.”

Dinneen continued, “The facts from the ORNL study are: the RFS is reducing oil prices, decreasing oil imports, and creating jobs and economic benefits without the rumored catastrophic effects on food prices and land use. In fact, as the study shows, the RFS barely affects food and land markets. The bottom line is the RFS is an unrivaled American success story. We can’t let profit-protecting fear mongers in the oil and snack food industries scare Congress into changing a flexible policy that is making important contributions to the American economy and environment every day.”

Click here to review the study’s key conclusions.

During the National Ethanol Conference that kicks off tonight in Las Vegas, presenters will discuss in depth various aspects of the RFS along with other key issues facing the ethanol industry.

Ethanol, Research, RFA, RFS

National Ethanol Conference Golf Tournament

Cindy Zimmerman

nec-13-golfThe weather is fabulous here in Las Vegas for the 18th National Ethanol Conference.

About 100 of the attendees took part in the annual golf tournament under blue skies with the mountains as a backdrop. Pictured are Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen, Big River Resources general manager Jim Leiting, and Chris Standlee with Abengoa Bioenergy.

The conference officially kicks off this evening with the opening reception, with general sessions tomorrow and Thursday. Domestic Fuel is covering both the ethanol and biodiesel conferences this week in Vegas – first time the two have been held at the same time.

Golf tournament photos have been uploaded and are now available for viewing or downloading here.

2013 NEC Golf Tournament Photo Album

Ethanol, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

Big Oil Continues Attack on RFS

Joanna Schroeder

Big Oil is continuing its attack on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with continued efforts to end the mandate. The biofuels industry had been hopeful after the Super Bowl (the Baltimore Ravens won in case you missed it) that fans who saw the ad by Dodge about American’s farmers would help them realize how important these providers of fuel are to our nation. However, Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) notes that is it no surprise that Big Oil, held a “Cheap Corn Coalition” press event a day later.

mess-rfsJennings notes that the RFS is working and has been the most effective policy enacted by Congress to reduce foreign oil imports. When the RFS went into effect in 2006, said Jennings, oil imports stood at 60 percent. In 2012, net oil imports fell to less than 40 percent. Jennings also points out that unlike oil, ethanol is not subsidized and wholesale prices of ethanol are still 40 to 50 cents per gallon less expensive than unleaded gasoline. Consumers, said Jennings, would pay more at the pump if the RFS is repealed, and the U.S. would return to relying on the rest of the world for more expensive forms of fossil fuel.

“Big Oil built the “blend wall,” by refusing to take any steps toward meeting the RFS while they instead spent millions of dollars on lawsuits and PR efforts like the one they staged again today,” said Jennings. “Even reporters ask if there is anything new in their message. There isn’t – because big oil continues to spend its considerable financial and political capital to block the use of ethanol in gasoline. The RFS was enacted in-part to help break through the blend wall by enabling consumers to have access to more affordable and cleaner choices at the pump.

Jennings says there also continues to be considerable rhetoric and time spent discussing E15 and small engines. “It is illegal for small engines to use E15,” explained Jennings. “EPA approved E15 for the majority of motor vehicles on the road today but did not approve the fuel for non-road engines in part because these engines are not advanced enough to take advantage of ethanol-blends. Small engine owners, including marine equipment owners, should not use E15.”

Jennings added that corn production has expanded and become more efficient since enactment of the RFS. Even with last year’s drought, global grain production still reached one of the largest production totals ever, and ethanol is slated to use about three percent of that total on a gross basis, returning one-third of the corn we process to livestock producers as a valuable feed.

“While these ethanol opponents continue to cast themselves as being concerned about all sorts of different issues, they simply want to eliminate competition for their products. The Cheap Corn Coalition lives to spread even more misinformation,” concluded Jennings.

ACE, Ethanol, RFS

RES Completes Wind Farm in PA

Joanna Schroeder

Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES Americas) has completed the Twin Ridges Wind Farm  located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The 139.4 MW wind farm was completed in December 2012 and is now fully operational.

Twin Ridges Wind FarmRES Americas served as the Balance of Plant Contractor for the project, which was developed and is owned by EverPower.  The Twin Ridges Wind Farm consists of 68 2.05 MW REpower MM 92 turbines that will interconnect to PJM through the Potomac Edison affiliate of FirstEnergy Corporation.

“RES Americas is pleased to have completed construction on the Twin Ridges Wind Farm for our valued client Everpower,” said Andrew Fowler, Chief Operating Officer.  “The continued development of Pennsylvania’s renewable energy resources will bring additional capital investment, jobs and tax revenue to the state.  We are proud to be a member of this community and look forward to continuing our operations in the area.”

RES Americas has now constructed 381 MW of wind projects in Pennsylvania. The 101 MW Armenia Mountain Wind project was completed in 2009 and is located in Tioga and Bradford Counties, and the 140.8 MW Mehoopany Wind Farm, located in Wyoming County, was also completed in 2012.

Alternative energy, Electricity, Wind

Time For National Biodiesel Conference

Chuck Zimmerman

Biodiesel ConferenceHello and welcome to the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference. We’re at the Mirage in Las Vegas and ready to get some momentum going for the industry.

Joanna Schroeder and I will be here providing coverage which will include photos and interviews so check back often. In fact, I’ve already got a photo album started: 2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

While we’re here, Cindy will be over at the Wynn covering the National Ethanol Conference. Yep, they are at the same time this year. It is making it interesting for your biofuel bloggers to get it all done but we will.

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Chile Ramps Up Renewable Energy

Joanna Schroeder

Chile is ramping up its renewable energy sector with two recent project announcements. SunEdison and the Chilean mining and steel group CAP have signed an agreement to construct what the two companies believe will be the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in Latin America and one of the largest on the world. The plant is designed to have an SUNEDISON SOLAR FACILITYinstalled capacity of 100MW (DC) and will be located in the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is estimated that the plant will produce as much as 15 percent of the mining group’s energy needs.

The plant will be built using SunEdison technology. More than 300,000 Silvantis monocrystalline silicon modules will be installed, which according to the company, are made from non-toxic, non-polluting material that can be recycled at the end of its useful life, together with solar trackers designed by SunEdison, for which steel produced by CAP is expected to be used.

Mainstream Renewable Power, has announced they have completed financing and begun construction of its 33 MW Negrete Cuel Wind Farm in southern Chile. The farm is expected to be fulling operational in September 2013. Goldwind is supplying the project with GW87 1.5 MW wind turbines. Mainstream also owns and operates a 150MW Calama Oeste wind farm located in Atacama Desert.

Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said, “I am delighted to announce Mainstream’s fifth project to go into construction across three continents in a period of just six months. Since entering the Chilean market back in 2009 Mainstream has built a very strong and growing portfolio of wind and solar projects, many of which are in the mid to late development stages.

Alternative energy, Electricity, International, Solar, Wind

Akash Energy Partners with Gulf Hydrocarbon

Joanna Schroeder

AkashEnergy logoAkash Energy has announced a partnership with Gulf Hydrocarbon Partners a supplier of renewable fuels including biodiesel. The company has terminals in Houston, Texas and Hartford, Illinois.  The partnership will provide distribution infrastructure for biodiesel blending.

“We are very excited about this relationship as it helps achieve our goals of providing a strong distribution network for our customers, ensuring reliable, consistent supply,” said  Justin Heller, President, Akash Energy.

Akash Energy established one of the first biodiesel track racks in the San Francisco Bay area as well as a truck rack in Elizabeth New Jersey. The focus on the company is to develop efficient distribution infrastructure to provide reliable and consistent biodiesel supply to the end-user market.

Jess Hewitt, president of Gulf Hydrocarbon, added, “Collaborating with Akash Energy has been exciting so far. We have already seen the benefits of working together, and I am optimistic about the additional value we will be able to offer our customers. Akash Energy definitely brings a unique approach, and I enjoy the dynamic feel they bring to the table.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel

Next Generation Scientists Attending NBB Conference

Joanna Schroeder

There are 16 college students who are attending the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Conference that kicks off today in Las Vegas. One student is Jeremy Ferrell, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, who sees great potential for biodiesel to help revitalize rural areas once dominated by tobacco. Today, Ferrell conducts biodiesel research at an industrial ecology project in North Carolina.

“What fascinates me about biodiesel is its diversity across numerous sectors,” said Ferrell. “The opportunity for biodiesel to enhance rural economies is one of the things that drives my career.”

EvanLeUofNevadaReno_sm_01The students are able to attend the conference through a scholarship program offered to members of Next Generation Scientists for biodiesel, an NBB program with the goal of educating and collaborating with young scientists. The United Soybean Board also supports the program through the soybean checkoff.

“They are often called ‘student scientists,’ but the reality is that these are full-fledged scientists, contributing to the large body of work that makes up biofuels research in this country,” said Kyle Anderson, NBB technical project manager. “There is tremendous potential for this NBB program to have a lasting impact on biodiesel research.  It’s a great investment to share solid information and build relationships with tomorrow’s scientific thought leaders.”

Another student who will be attending the event is Nina De la Rosa, an Environmental Studies student at Florida International University in  Miami. She, along with the other students, will present posters on their research during the event.

“I believe the conference will present engaging information and activities that will allow me to solidify my knowledge, and strengthen research and career interests that I hope to pursue in my professional life,” said De la Rosa. “The knowledge and professional network I gain from this conference will only allow my passion for biofuels to grow and strengthen my commitment to continue in a field that will remain of high importance in our quest for global sustainability.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, Education, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB