Biodiesel Bulletin

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

September 4, 2018  

NBB Shows Higher 2020 Biodiesel Volumes are Achievable in Comments

Back to School: Bus Fleets Fill Up on Biodiesel

NBB Thanks 39 Senators for Support of RFS

Diesel Brothers Show Off Power of

Biodiesel Board Hires Communications

Oliver Hazard Perry Named Rhode Island
Flagship and Tall Ship Ambassador

NBB Shows Higher 2020 Biodiesel Volumes are Achievable in Comments

The National Biodiesel Board filed comments on the proposed 2019 Renewable Fuel Standards and 2020 Biomass-Based Diesel volume last month. NBB’s comments respectfully urged the Environmental Protection Agency in the final rule to increase the volumes in both categories and to fully account for small refinery exemptions.

“The biomass-based diesel industry has proven year after year that it can deliver increasing volumes,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for NBB. “We appreciate the agency’s recognition of that fact and welcome the signal of growth in the proposed rule. NBB asks that the EPA fully support the industry’s growth by setting the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020 at 2.8 billion gallons and increasing the 2019 advanced biofuel volume to allow growth.”

NBB’s comments demonstrated that the increased biomass-based diesel volume is achievable with available feedstocks, especially considering the projected growth. Ending soybean stocks for the 2018 marketing year are forecasted at 785 million bushels according the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Distillers corn oil output is estimated to exceed 4.4 billion pounds in 2018, and the global waste oil supply is projected to grow by nearly 3 million metric tons by 2020 according to LMC International. Even the National Renderers Association projects rendered animal fat supplies to increase by 14 percent over the next decade. This feedstock growth leaves ample opportunity for increased biodiesel production.

“Most importantly, once the EPA has set the annual volumes, it must ensure they are met. The volumes EPA ultimately finalizes will be meaningless if the agency continues to retroactively reduce them through small refinery exemptions,” Kovarik continued. “The certainty that biodiesel producers need includes an assurance from EPA that the volumes it establishes will be met.”



Back to School: Bus Fleets Fill Up on Biodiesel

Schools across America are back in session with school buses transporting more than 24 million children to their classes every day. As one of the largest mass transit programs in the United States, it’s no surprise that schools are looking for ways to reduce harmful air pollutants.

School districts in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Nevada, and many more have switched their bus fleets to biodiesel instead of using traditional petroleum diesel, to better protect staff and students. Using biodiesel to power their existing buses is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the air quality to which students are exposed.

“Because it is made from fats and oils, biodiesel is naturally very low carbon, completely renewable, and less toxic than table salt,” said Don Scott, director of sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. “It also biodegrades as fast as sugar, making it far less destructive to the planet.”

According to the American Lung Association, children riding school buses are far more susceptible to poor air quality, due to their developing lungs, higher respiratory rates, and deeper breathing. Studies have shown that the air quality within a diesel-powered school bus is significantly more hazardous than the surrounding outside air.

Based on a complete emissions evaluation of biodiesel by the EPA, it was found that switching to a 20 percent biodiesel blend reduces emissions of particulate matter from harmful emissions by an average of 15 percent. Even greater reductions can be achieved by using higher blends.

Switching to biodiesel now to power their fleets can help protect students and staff from harmful emissions, prolong the life of bus engines, and support the communities that feed these school districts.



NBB Thanks 39 Senators for Support of RFS

The National Biodiesel Board recently thanked 39 U.S. Senators who sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual Renewable Fuel Standards.

“NBB and its members thank all of the Senators who signed this letter and demonstrated their strong support for the RFS and its ability to drive growth in biodiesel production,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for NBB. “We especially thank Senators Murray, Blunt, Heitkamp, and Grassley for their continued leadership.”

Noting that EPA proposes to set the 2020 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons, the Senators wrote, “While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states. We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program’s ability to drive growth."

Calling on EPA to accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions, the Senators also said, “It is critical that the EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met."

“NBB estimates that the exemptions granted by EPA for 2016 and 2017 reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by about 300 million gallons,” Kovarik added. “That lost demand is equal to or greater than the annual production of some of the nation’s top biodiesel producing states. The volumes that EPA sets are meaningless if the agency does not ensure they are met at the end of the year.”

The letter was signed by a broad, bi-partisan group from states including California, Iowa, Rhode Island, and more.


Diesel Brothers Show Off Power of Biodiesel

The Discovery Channel’s Diesel Brothers aired the long-anticipated two part feature of their biodiesel truck build in August. Their latest custom creation was a biodiesel-powered F550 truck named ‘Indomitus.’ The truck was unveiled at the Commodity Classic and was commissioned by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council as a way to bring attention to biodiesel as the state makes its landmark transition to a B20 biodiesel fuel standard.

“For what started as an idea from a few Council members and staff, to turn into this, it is hard to imagine,” said Kris Folland, MSR&PC director. “We wanted to show it off in Minnesota and bring attention to biodiesel and to B20. I don’t think anyone could have believed it would have been this amazing.”

The Diesel Sellerz and the Minnesota Soybean team have been promoting the truck and the show’s episodes through cameos on Discovery’s Cash Cab, appearances at various fairs, races, industry events, and more.

“I thought this was going to be successful off the bat because of the audience we could reach through just the people who follow DieselSellerz and the Diesel Brothers,” said Pat Sullivan, another director for MSR&PC. “We wanted to reach mechanics, gear heads, fuel guys, and people who maybe heard bits and pieces about biodiesel but didn’t know much about it or were still thinking back to that one bad experience 15 years ago. We’ve definitely captured the attention of that crowd, and we’ve sparked a conversation.”

It’s no wonder Minnesota farmers wanted to tell the biodiesel story on a national level. Biodiesel has helped soybean farmers for years, adding 63 cents per-bushel to soybean values and providing a valuable market for soybean oil, a byproduct of producing soybean meal to feed livestock. Through Indomitus, that story is being played for the world to see. You can check out the episodes now on Discovery.


Biodiesel Board Hires Communications Manager

The National Biodiesel Board recently welcomed a new addition, Communications Manager Samantha Turner, to their staff. Turner comes to NBB from Monsanto, where she served as their Food and Nutrition Engagement Communications Manager.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Samantha to the NBB team,” said NBB Communications Director Kaleb Little. “Our members will benefit greatly from both her technical communications training as well as her experience working with various membership organizations. She will be a key piece in NBB’s efforts to continue to grow the biodiesel industry.”    

Turner grew up on her family’s fourth generation row crop farm in Norborne, Missouri. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After graduation, she returned to her alma mater to receive her master’s degree in Agricultural Leadership, Communication and Education.

In this role, Turner will work to shape the growing biodiesel industry, as well as promote the National Biodiesel Board and its vision. She is responsible for the development of communication strategies for the team and plans to support the industry through content enhancing the biodiesel narrative.

NBB’s communications programs provide coordinated, consistent messaging for the biodiesel industry and help defend against misinformation that would otherwise hamper consumer acceptance and growth. Along with an expert staff, NBB harnesses the power of eight national and specialized public relations and communications agencies to provide access to a substantial network of additional biodiesel and communications expertise on behalf of the industry.



Oliver Hazard Perry Named Rhode Island Flagship and Tall Ship Ambassador

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island has been named Rhode Island’s official flagship and Tall Ship ambassador. Completed in 2015, the OHPRI is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the U.S. in 110 years, and is even powered in part by clean burning biodiesel.

“This is yet another milestone in SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s life,” Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island Chairman Bart Dunbar said. “Oliver Hazard Perry was a dream of a few individuals who then became hundreds of supporters of the cause to build and operate a Tall Ship for educational purposes and represent Rhode Island’s maritime industry and heritage. The ship has brought millions of dollars to the state’s economy and has been serving unofficially in the role of ambassador for Rhode Island for almost a decade now.”

The Oliver Hazard Perry has the profile of a 19th century vessel, yet inside the Newport-based ship lies a modern state-of-the-art floating classroom to host leadership activities and practical sail training. This June, the ship was home to 21 Aquidneck Island students, two faculty members and 19 professional crew members, where they completed a nine-day educational voyage sailing along the coast.

The innovation doesn’t stop there. Newport Biodiesel, a local biodiesel producer, provided 6,000 gallons of B20 at a discounted rate to fuel its maiden voyage. The OHPRI will set sail this month, transporting high school and college explorers from New England, to Florida, and then on to Cuba.

“Supplying this ship with B20 biodiesel gives us a chance to support a worthwhile seafaring mission, while educating the public and marine industry about the environmental benefits of B20,” said Robert Morton, chairman of the board for Newport Biodiesel. “This is the largest deployment of B20 we have ever done for a marine vessel, so it represents a significant step.”



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