Past Biodiesel Chairs Honored with Pioneer Award

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Clean Fuels Alliance America, formerly known as the National Biodiesel Board, honored some of the pioneers who got the industry to where it is today during the National Biodiesel Conference celebrating 30 years of cleaner fuels.

The eleven past chairs of the National Biodiesel Board were presented with the Kenlon Johannes Pioneer Award. Pioneering a path forward, the past chairs laid the groundwork from technical and legislative efforts to education and awareness. They overcame some of the industry’s biggest hurdles and delivered on many successes.

Their backgrounds are varied, including both farmers and biodiesel producers, but they all shared a passion for the industry and its success. Current Chair Chad Stone honored these past chairs with the Kenlon Johannes Pioneer Award:

Gary Ellington, 1992 – 1995
Jim Gay, 1995 – 1999
Roger Peterson, 1999
Jack Hartman, 1999 – 2001
Bob Metz, 2001 – 2004
Darryl Brinkmann, 2004 – 2007
Ed Hegland, 2007 – 2010
Gary Haer, 2010 – 2013
Steven Levy, 2013 – 2015
Ron Marr, 2015 – 2016
Kent Engelbrecht, 2016 – 2019

Six of the 11 honorees were able to be present at the conference and receive the award in person. Left to right, they are Gary Ellington, Bob Metz, Darryl Brinkmann, Ed Hegland, Ron Marr, and Kent Engelbrecht.

2022 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

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Biodiesel Inspiration and Influence Awards

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Mahanth Joishy’s mission is to help the thriving city of Madison, Wisconsin, become one of the most sustainable cities in the world — with biodiesel at the heart of the effort. When Joishy became the city’s fleet manager in 2017, one of his first acts was to switch the city’s heavy-duty fleet — about 500 vehicles — to blends of biodiesel fuel. It is that passion that earned Joishy the Biodiesel Inspiration Award this year, presented at the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference.

Under Joishy’s leadership, diesel vehicles, from fire trucks to parks department mowers to the all-important snowplows, now run on up to a 20% biodiesel blend (B20) most of the year. The city is even retrofitting 17 fleet service vehicles to run on 100% on biodiesel fuel (B100) year-round. Joishy’s leadership and passion will continue to inspire other cities and fleets to expand their use of biodiesel fuel.

Joishy was also named a Biodiesel Ambassador just prior to the conference kickoff. Listen to his comments after receiving the Inspiration Award.
Mahanth Joishy Remarks (1:05)

Recently retired as President and CEO of the North American Renderers Association, Nancy Foster was a significant influence in feedstock expansion for the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries. Her leadership within NARA has helped continue to grow and solidify biodiesel’s sustainability messaging throughout the country and is the reason she was chosen for this year’s Influencer Award.

Unfortunately, Foster was not able to attend the conference to receive her award in person but the industry would not have been the same without her voice in D.C. She also worked for the American Soybean Association as their chief lobbyist and director of ASA’s Washington office — where she successfully gained Congressional passage of landmark legislation to establish the national soybean checkoff for research and promotion.

2022 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

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OEMs and Fleets Focus on Clean Fuels Future

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The National Biodiesel Board’s new name, Clean Fuels Alliance America, reflects the organization’s progressive vision and the diversity of clean fuels its members produce – including biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. An expert panel of diesel equipment manufacturers and fleets participating in a Vehicle Technology Showcase event at the National Biodiesel Conference this week acknowledged that these clean fuels are a key part of their current and future product development plans on the path to a low-carbon transportation future.

Speaking on the Vehicle Technology Showcase panel, James Hopkins, Executive Director of Engine Business Strategy for Cummins, Inc. said, “Increasing the utilization of low-carbon fuels, including biodiesel, can make a meaningful impact in reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles already in use. Cummins is committed to supporting the use of biodiesel, and it is an important part of our plans to reduce CO2 in commercial vehicle markets. In fact, almost all our products are able to use B20 biodiesel blends today, and we are working to support increasing blends in the future.”

Danan Dou, Manager of Advanced Technology and Innovation for John Deere said, “As John Deere works to help farmers address the rising demand for farm productivity to feed and fuel the world, there is no doubt that advances in technology will continue to play an important and necessary role. Dou continued, “We are committed to innovation for a sustainable future, and we consider low-carbon fuels such as biodiesel an important avenue to reduce CO2 while also maintaining our commitment to our customers. John Deere fully supports the use of B20 biodiesel blends in all of our diesel equipment.”

The vast majority of OEMs, including Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, FPT Industrial and many more, currently support the use of B20 biodiesel blends in their diesel equipment. B20 is a fuel blend containing 20% biodiesel and 80% ultra-low sulfur diesel. However, forward-looking fleets from coast to coast – including California, New York City, Chicago, Madison, Washington, D.C., and beyond – are looking to higher blends of biodiesel, even up to B100, to lower their carbon footprint even more dramatically.

Check the Biodiesel Conference Blog for the latest news from the event.

2022 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

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Biodiesel Industry Honors Broadcaster Mike Adams

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Recently retired farm broadcaster Mike Adams was honored by the biodiesel industry this week at the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. Adams was presented with the Biodiesel Impact Award.

“As I look back, I remember those soy diesel days,” said Adams. “It made so much sense to me I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever be against either ethanol or biodiesel.”

“I appreciate, as we’re here in Las Vegas, those early pioneers who took the gamble and stepped out and made the commitment to get this industry started,” he said.

Adams retired last month after nearly 50 years behind the microphone. He has been a well-known face at national ethanol and biodiesel conferences over the past 20 years as host of daytime nationally syndicated agriculture talk shows Agri-Talk and Adams on Agriculture.

Adams is a past recipient of the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year award, past NAFB President and a member of the NAFB Hall of Fame.

Mike Adams, retired farm broadcaster, Impact Award Recipient Remarks
Mike Adams Remarks (4:20)

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Biodiesel Board Rebrands as Clean Fuels Alliance America

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The National Biodiesel Board today unveiled its new name and new brand, Clean Fuels Alliance America, during the opening session of the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. The transformation to Clean Fuels helps the industry represent all its industry members: biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels.

“Our industry has seen and will continue to see significant growth as the world around us focuses on clean energy,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of Clean Fuels. “We are an integral part of the solution for sustainable energy that’s not only affordable but also scalable and available now. Further, our new name and brand represents the connected energies of our members and positions our industry for a clean fuels future.”

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo’s theme for 2022 is “All In” and represents the momentum being carried by all players in the biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel industry. This year, more than 600 attendees are hearing from experts on supply and decarbonization and the opportunities ahead for the industry as a whole.

Listen to Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Clean Fuels Alliance America – Opening Speech
Donnell Rehagen Speech (24:22)

2022 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Conference Blog

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Fleet Leaders Named ‘Biodiesel Ambassadors’

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The National Biodiesel Board has named two nationally recognized fleet leaders as Biodiesel Ambassadors and both will be taking part in the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo kicking off in Las Vegas today.

John Benish Jr. is the second-generation executive of Cook-Illinois Corporation, a family-owned and operated school bus company based in Oak Brook, Illinois. He began powering his fleet of more than 2,200 school buses with biodiesel blends in 2005.

“The day we began using biodiesel, we began reducing harmful emissions immediately, with no modifications needed to our buses,” Benish Jr. said. “For us, safety and reliability are everything. With biodiesel, our feeling is why not use a fuel that’s better for our engines, better for the students and supports Illinois farmers?”

Mahanth Joishy became the fleet manager for Madison, Wisconsin in 2017, and one of his first acts was to switch the city’s heavy-duty fleet — about 500 vehicles — to blends of biodiesel fuel.

“We are not powerless in facing climate change, which is a threat not just to Wisconsin, but to the world,” Joishy said. “We can choose to take action by using better technologies and fuels, including biodiesel. Our community wants this and demands even more.”

The Biodiesel Ambassador program is supported by the United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff.

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Biodiesel Conference to Usher in New Era of Clean Fuels

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The biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel industries will come together this week at the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Jan. 17-20, to usher in a new year and a new era of clean fuels.

“This year, our industry celebrates its 30th anniversary, and with that, we will formally announce an organizational name change that capitalizes on the connected energies of everyone in the industry working together toward a clean fuels future,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. “The new name reflects the evolution and growth in demand for all of the products we create – biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Our membership spans North America and represents nearly all of the companies that are producing the most sustainable fuels on the planet. This new name will position us for growth in the clean energy ecosystem and continue building on our longtime role as the voice of this industry to markets, stakeholders and policymakers.”

Learn more about what’s on the table at the 2022 Biodiesel Conference from Brad Shimmens, NBB Director of Operations and Membership, in the interview below and stay tuned to the Biodiesel Conference Blog for the latest news from the event.

Biodiesel conference preivew with Brad Shimmens, NBB (3:05)

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Plasma Blue Back at Biodiesel Conference

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Plasma Blue on display at 2020 National Biodiesel Conference

Plasma Blue debuted at the last in-person National Biodiesel Conference in 2020 and the novel process using electricity and liquid plasma to induce the transesterification process will be back at the 2022 conference next week in Las Vegas.

Plasma Blue CEO Tom Slunecka says they are excited to be back with a slightly different show unit to display. “This unit will show plants how we can expand to larger capacities,” said Slunecka. “We’re going to be there with our technical people on hand to have a conversation with anybody who’s interested in doing something new and different and more cost effective.”

Learn more in this interview, stop by and see them at the Biodiesel Conference next week, and check out their website

NBB2022 Interview with Tom Slunecka, Plasma Blue (5:58)

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Iowa Governor Prioritizes Biofuels for 2022

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During her 2022 Condition of the State speech this week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds highlighted biofuels and her commitment to expand consumer access to E15 and B20 as one of her top priorities for this legislative session.

“I am introducing new legislation that will improve access to E15 and B20 and upgrade Iowa’s fuel infrastructure to offer higher blends,” said Reynolds. “And I’m proposing that we invest in carbon-capture solutions to sustain and build on our leadership position in renewable energy.”

Iowa Gov. Reynolds (1:59)

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association noted two new studies showing the positive economic and health benefits if consumers were to transition to regularly using E15 instead of E10.

The studies conducted by national experts looked specifically at what the economic and environmental impacts would be from E15 replacing E10 as the most commonly purchased fuel in Iowa. Over 95% of vehicles on the road today are approved by the EPA to use E15. Key findings included saving consumers nearly $134 million at the pump each year, supporting almost 4,000 jobs, and reducing 258,894 tons of CO2 annually.

An economic impact study conducted by John Urbanchuk, ABF Economics, found consumers would realize nearly $134 million in savings at the pump. Dr. Steffen Mueller, Univ. of Illinois – Chicago, studied the health and environmental benefits and found Annually reduction in CO2 emissions by 258,894 tons.

Governor Reynolds will once again be addressing the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, coming up on January 25.

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Nebraska Ethanol Helps Raise $11K for Cancer Research

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The Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska joined together to raise almost $11,000 during the “Fuel the Cure” promotion last year in conjunction with retail stations.

During October, when drivers chose higher blends of ethanol fuel like E15, E30 and E85 at participating retail locations, gas stations donated 3 cents for each gallon sold, resulting in a total of $10,827 which was donated to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. The promotion has now raised nearly $30,000 for cancer research over the past four years.

“Ethanol producers and sellers have been the biggest proponents of providing an environmentally friendlier way to power our vehicles for many years,” said Jessica Sodeke, program manager for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We commend these retailers for making higher ethanol blends available and giving consumers a choice in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Supporting ‘Fuel the Cure’ is a step beyond because the funds are directly impacting lives of patients at the Buffett Cancer Center.”

Preparations are already underway for Fuel the Cure 2022 and Nebraska fuel retailers who sell higher ethanol blends are encouraged to join the effort by contacting the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

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