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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




October 2, 2017  
Biodiesel Industry Mobilizes to Respond to Proposed RFS Cuts

Bioheat® Expands in Downstate New York

National Biodiesel Conference Celebrates 25 Years of Biodiesel

A New Look at the Benefits of Biodiesel

Will Tax Reform Happen This Year?

Preserving National Beauty with Biodiesel

Feeding Staff with Fries and Learning About Biodiesel

Biodiesel Helps Local Communities be Sustainable

 
Biodiesel Industry Mobilizes to Respond to Proposed RFS Cuts

The biodiesel industry mobilized to respond to a notice from EPA last week calling for comments on a proposal to further reduce the Renewable Volume Obligations under the 2018 and 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard. The notice called for deeper cuts to the RFS than the levels in its July 21 proposed rule and will trigger a 15-day comment period that will open this month.

“EPA’s proposal earlier this summer was inadequate, underestimating the power of domestic biodiesel production and ignoring the intent of the law,” said Doug Whitehead, National Biodiesel Board chief operating officer. “This additional request for comment is even more disappointing. It is critical that our members, champions in Congress, and stakeholders again demonstrate to EPA during this new comment period the industry’s proven success record, continued growth, and impacts to American workers who were promised that this administration had their back.”

Along with NBB’s formal comments to EPA, NBB is also engaging stakeholders and arming champions in Congress with the data to correct EPA.

“What’s most frustrating is it appears EPA has not bothered to look at the facts we’ve put before them in our formal comments on the original proposal for the RFS – facts that support higher volumes of biodiesel and other advanced biofuels,” said Donnell Rehagen, NBB CEO. “This is not the first year the biodiesel industry has been without the tax credit, or the first year there’s been uncertainty in the biodiesel industry. But every year we have prevailed, providing volumes above and beyond the requirements.”

The announcement by EPA of the preliminary Notice of Data Availability requested comments on options for reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes. 

 

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 Bioheat® Expands in Downstate New York

Heating homes with Bioheat® fuel isn’t just for the Big Apple anymore. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last month requiring B5 Bioheat® in eight “Downstate” New York counties beginning in 2018. The bill will expand New York City’s biodiesel blending standard to 70 percent of the state’s residents, or nearly 14 million people.

As the top heating oil consumer in the country, New York City has held a citywide heating oil requirement of 2 percent biodiesel since 2012. This standard will increase to 5 percent on October 1, 2017, and will extend to three more counties in July of 2018.

“We commend Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill that will provide cleaner air for more New Yorkers by improving emissions from heating oil,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well.”

The recent legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Englebright and Senator Phil Boyle will affect the New York counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester. A wide range of industry and environmental advocates supported the bill.

Biodiesel was the first alternative fuel designated as an “Advanced Biofuel” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been verified to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum.

 

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National Biodiesel Conference Celebrates 25 Years of Biodiesel

The 2018 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo is the premier destination for anyone interested in the biodiesel industry. Every year hundreds gather to listen to industry experts, participate in vast networking opportunities, and see the best that biodiesel has to offer. This year the conference takes place January 22-25 in Fort Worth, TX and will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the National Biodiesel Board.

There is no better place than the conference to celebrate 25 years of biodiesel, and look back on where this industry began, and see where the future will take it. Conference attendees can attend sessions hosted by biodiesel industry leaders from around the country, with topics ranging from biodiesel markets to best business practices and everything in between. The conference will also feature presentations from a list of exciting and impactful keynote speakers.

A new feature this year is Conference Central, which will showcase Main Stage sessions, the exhibit area, and key conference functions all in one convenient location. Conference Central will also bring together businesses looking to connect and students from coast to coast presenting new and exciting research into America’s Advanced Biofuel.

With so much to offer, there is no question that this is the biodiesel event of the year. Online registration is now open, with more updates to schedules and speakers on the way. Reserve a spot today by following the link and join in celebrating 25 years of biodiesel.

 

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A New Look at the Benefits of Biodiesel

The research is clear on the widespread benefits of biodiesel. Less waste, lower emissions, and more domestic jobs cover just a few of the advantages biodiesel has over petroleum diesel. NBB has long touted biodiesel’s benefits by standing behind quantified, scientific analysis and making the biodiesel industry a leader when it comes to bona fide sustainability benefits.

Previous work by US EPA, the California Air Resources Board, USDA, Argonne National Lab, and others consistently show biodiesel lifecycle emissions at least 50 percent better than petroleum. But skeptics wonder about the indirect expansion of global agriculture as US policies have their positive effect on rural farm communities.

According to a recent study published in Biotechnology for Biofuels by Purdue University, biodiesel’s benefits are even better than previous models have suggested. In fact, the latest research suggests that biodiesel’s benefits have been underestimated by 10 percent.

“This latest research verifies biodiesel is an ideal option to support American-made energy,” said Don Scott, Director of Sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. “The more accurate the models become, the more clearly they show biodiesel’s benefits. The power in these new findings is that science is improving. The prediction of economic impacts and land use change is becoming more reliable. More data has been analyzed today than has ever been available in the past. As these models look more and more like the real world, biodiesel’s extensive benefits become clearer.”

 

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Will Tax Reform Happen This Year?

One of the biggest outstanding policy questions in Washington, D.C. is whether Congress will successfully navigate a debate on comprehensive tax reform. This would be a potential opportunity to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit that expired at the end of last year. The National Biodiesel Board continues to explore all avenues for reinstating the biodiesel tax credit and changing it to a production credit, by continuing to engage with Congressional leaders on the issue.

In the last month, momentum has begun building for the possibility of tax reform, when just a few weeks earlier, it felt that all hope was lost. There are still many obstacles to successfully passing a reform, but now that many of the big-ticket policy questions don’t have to be dealt with until near the end of the year, there’s more room to begin discussions again on comprehensive reform.

A budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2018 would need to be passed in both the House and the Senate. The worry is that the formal process isn’t very far along, and there aren’t many legislative days remaining to get it done this year. However, even if Congress can’t finish this year, they could always begin the process and work to move comprehensive reform in the first part of next year. After all, many Congressional leaders have recommitted to accomplishing tax reform.

If there is insufficient time, Congress could still take up a package of tax extenders. If this happens, NBB stands ready to answer any questions on the policy and why it is such an integral part of this still-growing industry.

 

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 Preserving National Beauty with Biodiesel

Nestled in the pristine wilderness of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina lies Great Smoky Mountains National Park—a true hiker’s paradise. In fact, more than 11 million people visit the park each year to marvel at its world-renowned beauty and cultural history. However, the lure of these ancient mountains is at risk.

“Because the southern Appalachians are downwind of many urban areas, industrial sites, and power plants in the eastern U.S., the Smokies’ air resources have been significantly degraded by nitrogen and sulfur air pollutants, impacting human health, visitor enjoyment, and ecosystems,” said Jim Renfro, the park’s air quality specialist. “As a result, park staff has an opportunity to educate and demonstrate to the public ways that their actions can help reduce emissions and improve air quality, both at the park and in their own communities.”

Educating the park visitors is easy, when you practice what you preach. Since 2003, the National Park has been using biodiesel blends to power park-owned diesel vehicles and equipment. In 2006, the biodiesel effort spread park-wide. B20 blends now power the majority of the park’s heavy equipment and Bioheat® fuel is used to keep the park headquarters warm.

“At Great Smoky Mountains National park, we have implemented comprehensive strategy to limit our environmental impact and reduce carbon emissions,” said Brian Bergsma, deputy chief of facility management. “Biodiesel and Bioheat® are front and center in that effort.”

In 2016 alone, the park replaced 43,085 gallons of petroleum diesel with cleaner burning biodiesel. This resulted in a 15 percent reduction in carbon dioxide, 12 percent decrease in carbon monoxide, 20 percent less hydrocarbon, and sulfur dioxide, and a 12 percent drop in particulate matter.

“We constantly strive to demonstrate and incorporate technologies that will result in cleaner air,” said Bergsma.

 

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Feeding Staff with Fries and Learning About Biodiesel

The National Biodiesel Board recently hosted its second annual BioFry in Washington, D.C. Two food trucks near the Capitol fired up their fryers and cooked some of the city’s best French fries for Hill staff and the public. NBB gave away free fries and educated attendees about biodiesel’s benefits as a clean fuel.

“It is really important that staff members on Capitol Hill understand all the economic and job creation benefits biodiesel brings to the table,” said Rosemarie Calabro Tully, NBB’s Director of Federal Communications and Public Affairs. “This event provided a fun, casual way for this group of key influencers to create a connection to biodiesel and learn more about our industry.”

The event drew attention to biodiesel and highlighted the fact that biodiesel can be made from all fats and oils, including the cooking oil used to make the French fries. Attendees were able to learn about biodiesel through a fun experience rather than just reading a brochure. They saw the cooking oil that can be recycled into biodiesel and heard how it can be used to power diesel vehicles like the food trucks participating in the event.

Throughout the afternoon, NBB handed out roughly 560 servings of fries to both Republican and Democrat staffers who came out. The event succeeded in generating public awareness and education about biodiesel and the many feedstocks used to make it. Events such as the annual BioFry provide a fun and entertaining platform to draw attention to Americas Advanced Biofuel.

 

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 Biodiesel Helps Local Communities be Sustainable

Blue Ridge Biofuels gives back to its community by producing high quality biodiesel. Woodrow Eaton, CEO and general manager of BRB started business in 2005, and has remained in North Carolina giving back to the community ever since.

Eaton and his BRB team strive to produce a fuel that has less of an impact on the environment. Biodiesel is made from many diverse resources including waste products like used cooking. BRB chooses to produce its biodiesel primarily from recycled cooking oil from local restaurants in an effort to maintain clean air and recycle what they can.

“We are collecting from approximately 1,000 locations, and we bring in, on average, 60,000 gallons of used cooking oil a month from the region,” Eaton said.

The county of Catawba, where BRB is located, has embraced Eaton’s sustainability methods and is a customer. Catawba County Schools Transportation uses a 20 percent blend of biodiesel, providing B20 to all school systems in the county. Blackburn Landfill in Catawba county also uses B10 in all its daily equipment.

“We try to use fuel-efficient vehicles, we use biodiesel in the equipment that we can, and we do it in the most optimal way we can do it to do our part,” said Barry Edwards, director of Utilities and Engineering for Catawba County.

Through sustainability efforts like these, Blue Ridge Biofuels is ensuring that North Carolina communities are healthy, clean, and green.

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