Biodiesel Bulletin

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

July 1, 2015  

You Have 27 Days Left: Voice Your Support for Biodiesel Now

Biodiesel Producers, Stakeholders Advocate for RFS on Capitol Hill

Biodiesel Powered Mobile Command Center Redefines Hurricane Response

Biodiesel Empowering Fleets in Phoenix

Advancing Renewable Energy, a Prime Concern for Pope Francis

Two Biodiesel Feedstocks, One Piece of Land

Biodiesel, Renewable Energy Sources at an All-Time High

You Have 27 Days Left: Voice Your Support for Biodiesel Now

It’s now time for the biodiesel community to make its voice heard on the EPA’s proposal for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The formal comment period on the RFS proposal is underway and ends July 27.

In EPA’s recently released draft, the RFS proposal provides modest growth for biodiesel over several years. The proposal would increase the biomass-based diesel sector of the RFS by about 100 million gallons per year to 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. While the growth in the proposal is a step in the right direction, the biodiesel industry is seeking to increase the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.

It is critical that you weigh in with the EPA to press for a stronger biodiesel program. NBB has made it simple for stakeholders to submit comments through our Fueling Action letter-writing campaign. Simply go to NBB's Fueling Action page and click on the tab for submitting a letter. It will take you to our Fueling Action page where you can fill in your name and contact information and click “Submit”. The comments will go directly to the EPA docket.

While the pre-written comments are ready to be sent as-is, we strongly encourage you to personalize them. Talk about your role in the industry and why biodiesel and the RFS are important to you and your local economy. Please think about how important the RFS is to you and take time to tell a compelling story. These personalized comments are much more valuable than template letters. Please ask your friends, co-workers and any other biodiesel supporters you know to join the effort!


Biodiesel Producers, Stakeholders Advocate for RFS on Capitol Hill

 The National Biodiesel Board recently hosted their bi-annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. Nearly 120 members attended the three-day meeting focused on EPA’s recent Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal. The meeting provided a great opportunity for biodiesel supporters and stakeholders to learn more about EPA’s proposal, advocate for higher biodiesel RFS volumes to lawmakers and hear directly from an EPA official about the RFS rulemaking process.

While in Washington, biodiesel producers and industry leaders representing businesses in some 30 states supporting thousands of jobs across the U.S., called on lawmakers to push for a strong RFS as the U.S. EPA finalizes the long-awaited rule. Biodiesel remains the most cost-effective way to ensure continued growing domestic production of Advanced Biofuel, which under the RFS must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent.

The meeting concluded with a keynote address from EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe, whose office oversees and administers the RFS. As such, she has direct oversight over the program and led the effort behind the EPA’s most recent proposal. Administrator McCabe spoke directly to attendees about EPA’s rulemaking process when establishing the proposed RFS volumes and how the industry can best work with EPA moving forward on strengthening the final rule.



Biodiesel Powered Mobile Command Center Redefines Hurricane Response

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) is redefining natural disaster and hurricane relief response. Their new million dollar, biodiesel powered mobile command center is equipped with the latest technologies designed to restore power faster than ever before.

“We are kind of blazing the trail and understanding how we want to be leveraging it,” said Kristi Baldwin, director of power delivery information technology.

The mobile command center is designed to assess damage remotely after a natural disaster. The command center can house up to 13 employees with conference rooms and split work rooms and enables state of the art technology to communicate with crews and get a live look at the system power grid. Cameras that can read license plates nearly a mile away, drones, touchscreen TVs, and other leading technologies make this possible. The command center also comes with its own weather station to provide crews with real time wind speed & direction, temperature, rain sensor and barometer data. The command center can adapt to any situation or level of need and streamline the restoration process.

The Mobile Command Center features an 80-gallon, 500 mile range biodiesel fuel tank. However, the mobile command center isn’t the first biodiesel-powered vehicle belonging to FPL. The organization began using biodiesel in their fleet in 1999, and currently uses nearly 2.5 million gallons of B20 annually. With 1,750 vehicles in their fleet using biodiesel as the primary fuel source, more than 90 million miles have been driven over the last 15 years with no fuel-related issues.

FPL is currently upgrading their fleet to include two mobile command centers and two rapid response vehicles for hurricane preparedness, severe weather, high profile events, or other occasions that may deem them necessary.


Biodiesel Empowering Fleets in Phoenix

 Salt River Project provides electricity to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Biodiesel provides power for more than 900 of the company's vehicles and System Administrator Becky Lawrence provides data proving that, for SRP, biodiesel works. 

“We began our biodiesel pilot program here at Salt River Project in 1999,” said Lawrence. 

She reports that the use of B20 has saved money and allowed SRP to uphold its environmental stewardship. Mechanics are happy, clients are pleased, and they are diversifying their energy supply. For Becky and Salt River Project, the results are pretty powerful! 

“Our drivers and mechanics who work on the vehicles have not seen any problems with vehicles who use biodiesel fuel,” said Lawrence. “Biodiesel is a better solution for our environment. I feel like I’m doing my part to be environmentally responsible.” 

SRP has served central Arizona since 1903, nearly 10 years before Arizona became the 48th state. They currently have more than 980,000 electricity customers and used 603,000 gallons of biodiesel in 2014.

See Salt River Project’s story here.


Advancing Renewable Energy, a Prime Concern for Pope Francis

On June 18, Pope Francis Laudato Si addressed the world about the need for renewed interest in climate change, the environment, and other global issues. An entire chapter in the183-page Encyclical Letter addresses, “the urgent challenge to protect our common home” and the need to limit fossil fuel use.

Pope Francis’ implied it’s time to start investing in renewable, sustainable energies like biodiesel before our planet turns to filth.

"We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels- especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas- needs to be progressively replaced without delay,” said Pope Francis.

The letter called for all mankind to come together to advance renewable, less polluting forms of energy and begin healing the Earth. Pope Francis acknowledged the efforts already being made, but stressed everyone must accept responsibility and accelerate the use of sustainable fuels like biodiesel.

"Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions,” said Pope Francis.

Biodiesel, however is a renewable energy option already available. The progression of biodiesel is a matter of countries coming together and developing urgency in changing their habits for the well being of our planet.



Two Biodiesel Feedstocks, One Piece of Land

Soybean oil in the US makes up almost half of the oil used in biodiesel production. As soybeans are crushed for their protein-rich meal to feed livestock, the remaining oil portion goes into food applications like salad dressing and industrial uses like biodiesel. Recent growth in the biodiesel industry has spurred research into other oilseed crops.

One example can be found in this American Society of Agronomy story where Russ Gesch, a plant physiologist with the USDA Soil Conservation Research Lab in Morris, Minnesota, found encouraging results when growing Camelina sativa with soybeans in the Midwest. Camelina is a member of the mustard family and an emerging biofuel crop. It is well suited as a cover crop in the Midwest.

“Finding any annual crop that will survive the [Midwest] winters is pretty difficult,” said Gesch, “but winter camelina does that and it has a short enough growing season to allow farmers to grow a second crop after it during the summer.”

The camelina was planted in the fall and the soybeans were planted in the spring either after the camelina was harvested, or between the rows before it reached maturity.

“We wanted to find alternative crops that could be integrated into the Midwestern corn/soybean cropping system in a sustainable way that also makes economic sense for farmers,” said Gesch.

The use of camelina as a cover crop with soybeans means farmers could potentially grow two biodiesel feedstocks at the same time.


Biodiesel, Renewable Energy Sources at an All-Time High

Renewable energy consumption is the highest it has been since the 1930’s. Advancing technologies and renewable energy sources like biodiesel accounted for 9.8 percent of total domestic energy consumption in 2014. Renewable energy usage grew an average of 5 percent per year from 2001 to 2014 because the consumption of wind, solar, and biofuels is increasing.

A large portion of that growth is due to the transportation industry. Roughly 13 percent of the renewable energy used in the U.S. is consumed by the transportation industry. The growing demand for liquid biofuels pushed the renewable fuels to nearly 5 percent of the transportation industry’s energy consumption in 2014.

Biodiesel also helped the industrial sector accumulate 24 percent of the nation's renewable energy in 2014. Biodiesel is used in manufacturing processes and in the production of heat and power.

As biodiesel and other renewable energy sources become common practice, renewable energy shares should continue to rise.



For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.



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