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Biodiesel Bulletin


The Biodiesel Bulletin is published monthly by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).




January 5, 2015  

With Current Low Oil Prices, Long-Term Solutions Still Necessary

Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reinstated for 2014

Biodiesel Magazine Highlights Climate Change Inconsistency

National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Just Weeks Away

Biodiesel Blends: High Performance in Low Temperatures

Biodiesel Science Supported on Giving Tuesday

Advanced Energy Employment is on the Rise

 

With Current Low Oil Prices, Long-Term Solutions Still Necessary 

According to a recent Reuters article, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (who account for a third of global oil output) decided this fall to block cuts in production in the member countries. Their effort to maintain output despite oversupply has sent crude oil prices plunging to a four-year low.

According to the article, oil producing countries in the Gulf could withstand a battle over market share and lower prices in the short-term. A price war would also make some future US oil projects uncompetitive due to higher production costs, easing pressure on OPEC in the long term.

"Why would Saudi cut production in the current environment? Why would they want to support Iran, Russia or U.S. shale producers? So they must have decided: let the market establish the price. Once the market goes to a new equilibrium, prices will go higher," said Dr. Gary Ross, chief executive of PIRA Energy Group.

In the piece, Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix Consultancy added, "We interpret this as Saudi Arabia selling the idea that oil prices in the short term need to go lower, with a floor set at $60 per barrel, in order to have more stability in years ahead at $80 plus. In other words, it should be in the interest of OPEC to live with lower prices for a little while in order to slow down [shale oil] development projects in the United States."

From this article and many others, it is easy to see petroleum does not operate in a free market system. Instability of oil prices is one of the most important reasons the US needs to continue developing more diverse, renewable, cleaner burning fuel options like biodiesel.

 

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Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reinstated for 2014

The Senate passed the tax extenders package December 16 with resounding support. The biodiesel tax incentive was among nearly 50 tax breaks included. President Obama signed the tax extenders bill into law, reinstating the biodiesel tax incentive for 2014. Though the National Biodiesel Board strongly pushed for a longer-term package to cover both 2014 and 2015, this is a victory for the biodiesel industry. The one-year, retroactive tax credit should prove beneficial in an otherwise difficult year for the industry.

The uncertainty surrounding the tax credit was challenging for the biodiesel industry as companies tried to plan for the future. Dysfunction in Congress forced widely supported bills, such as the tax extenders, to be crammed into messy year-end deal making.

Nonetheless, NBB continues to advocate aggressively for a forward-looking, multi-year tax package that provides more stability and certainty. NBB will continue to call its members and industry supporters to unite advocacy efforts when Congress convenes in the New Year.

The passing of the biodiesel tax incentive shows how crucial the industry’s grassroots advocacy efforts are when getting Congress to act on important legislation. The resounding legislative support for biodiesel is a testament to the strength of the diverse yet united industry supported by bipartisan lawmakers across the country. Due to the tireless support from industry stakeholders, biodiesel is poised for continued growth and success in the New Year.

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Biodiesel Magazine Highlights Climate Change Inconsistency

In case you missed it, Biodiesel Magazine posted an excellent analysis of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes. In a post titled, “The White House Climate Change Paradox,” Ron Kotrba, Editor, highlighted the aggressive push the Administration has made on some climate change issues and the weak, delayed approach it has taken on establishing RFS volumes.

In the article Kotrba cited the White House’s recent recognition of the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of California as one of 16 Climate Action Champions for their use of biodiesel, even though the RFS decision-making process left the biodiesel industry in disarray.

“The incongruity of the situation is baffling,” Kotrba wrote. “If the White House were serious about climate change and its recognition of biodiesel as a way to combat it, then it would finalize the RFS rule immediately with a significant increase in the biodiesel mandate and stop succumbing to the heavy-handed, deep-pocketed lobbying pressures of Big Oil—the industry that produces the fuels from which the White House is trying to mitigate emissions.”

“This industry has shown time after time that it can exceed any production challenge put to it. President Obama, let biodiesel do what it does best while accomplishing important items on your presidential agenda [like significantly reducing noxious and greenhouse gas emissions, creating American jobs, reducing dependence of fossil fuels and foreign oil, and building out the green economy].”

Kotrba’s complete post can be found online.

 

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National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Just Weeks Away

Join us January 19-22 for this one-of-a-kind conference, specifically designed to gather biodiesel decision makers from throughout the United States and the world in one place and for one purpose. It simply can’t be missed.

This year it’s in Fort Worth. With amazing restaurants of every flavor and several hotels in walking distance, the venue is perfectly positioned for participants to host key clients, engage new contacts and interact with biodiesel leaders.

Participants will experience the depth and expertise of the biodiesel industry and trade associations. Features include political leaders, industry experts, influential CEOs, NBB leadership, and insightful and relevant keynote speakers. Dr. Valerie Patrick, Founder and President of Fulcrum Connection LLC is just one of the many significant speakers to address the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

Some Texas natives will also have the floor. Texas is home to some of the longest-serving, most ambitious biodiesel champions around. Come hear from biodiesel fleet managers as they share their experience in implementing biodiesel.  A full breakout of speakers and session can be found on the conference website.

There is no question this is the biodiesel event of the year. Sign up to seize upon the opportunities that it offers.

 

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Biodiesel Blends: High Performance in Low Temperatures

High quality biodiesel blends can be used successfully year-round, even in the coldest climates. Like regular diesel fuels, biodiesel can gel at very low temperatures. But, with good fuel management and fuel that consistently meets the ASTM specifications, B20 users can count on a trouble-free winter.

If you’re a biodiesel user -- whether it’s in your own vehicle or an entire fleet -- rest assured that biodiesel blends will perform regardless of the temperature. Being prepared, as with any preventative vehicle maintenance, is the best defense. So, be sure to develop a cold weather management plan well before cold weather sets in.

And follow these simple steps to avoid gelling and ensure success all winter:

  • Use high-quality fuel that meets the ASTM spec purchased from a reputable supplier.
  • Be sure to discuss fuel options with your supplier to ensure that both the diesel fuel and biodiesel are blended only after meeting their respective specifications.
  • Develop a good fuel management plan, in partnership with your supplier, that includes additization (just like for regular diesel) to improve cold weather operability.
  • Test fuel periodically to verify its cold weather properties.
  • Make sure you understand your fuel’s cold flow characteristics and have appropriate fuel handling and storage plans in place.
  • Remain diligent on your tank maintenance program to help ensure fuel cleanliness.

For more information check out these hot tips for using biodiesel in cold weather.

 

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Biodiesel Science Supported on Giving Tuesday

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. The two well-known consumer shopping holidays that follow Thanksgiving are now being accompanied by a day of charitable giving. Known as, Giving Tuesday, supporters of the biodiesel industry were encouraged to participate by supporting biodiesel science through the National Biodiesel Foundation.

“Despite the clear benefits of biodiesel, its continued use is threatened. Biofuel opponents are backed by deep pockets and unsubstantiated messages,” stated NBF Executive Director Tom Verry. “We need to work together to assist scientists in providing irrefutable data to show that biodiesel is improving the air we breathe, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and safeguarding our environment.”

The National Biodiesel Foundation is a non-profit organization that works closely with the biodiesel the National Biodiesel Board for the advancement of biodiesel. Through outreach, education, research, and demonstration activities, the foundation works to address national issues affecting us all. Clean air, economic development for rural communities, and enhanced national security through energy independence are all issues the two organizations address.

Giving Tuesday officially began in 2012 and was designed as a day for charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world to come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity.

 

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Advanced Energy Employment is on the Rise

Employment opportunities in the advanced energy sector are expected to grow in 2015. This is according to a series of surveys performed by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. In a recent survey of job growth in Iowa; biodiesel, ethanol, wind, and energy efficiency are leading advanced energy sectors. And advanced energy employment overall is expected to rise 6 percent in the coming year. The Advanced Energy Economy Institute says those industries employ more than 22,000 people.

“In states from coast to coast and in between, the advanced energy industry is substantial and growing,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. “This first-ever survey of advanced energy firms in Iowa shows that energy efficiency, biofuels, wind power, and other advanced businesses are creating jobs and contributing to the Iowa economy.”

A similar survey performed in California shows in a survey of more than 2,000 companies, advanced energy employment in the state is currently at 431,800, an increase of 5% over last year. Half of all firms surveyed are expecting to add employees during the coming year, for more than 70,000 new jobs – a 17% projected increase.

Given the projected growth of advanced energy employment, 2015 is shaping up to be a positive year for domestic jobs in the industry.

Prepared by BW Research Partnership, a leading workforce and economic development research firm, the Iowa Advanced Energy Employment Survey report is available at http://info.aee.net/ia-jobs-report-14. The AEE Institute published a similar report on California’s advanced energy industry, California Advanced Energy Employment Survey is available at http://info.aee.net/ca-jobs-report-14.

 

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

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Past issues are available upon request.