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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




June 1, 2016  

RFS Proposal Released, Comments Needed

Scientists Agree, Biodiesel A Key to Global Carbon Reduction

Biodiesel Beauty Queen Not Your Typical Pageant Girl

Tax Credit Bill Introduced

EPA Honors Biodiesel Champions

New Co-Chairs to Lead Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

Elon University and the BioBus

RFS Proposal Released, Comments Needed

The EPA has released its latest proposal for establishing volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and opened the comment period for the rule before it is finalized later this year. NBB is urging all biodiesel supporters to make their voices heard by weighing in with comments supporting higher volumes here on our website.

The new proposal covers the 2018 Biomass-based Diesel volumes and 2017 volumes for other fuel categories of the program. It calls for increasing the Biomass-Based Diesel volume from 2 billion gallons in 2017 to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018. Additionally, it calls for increasing the overall Advanced Biofuel volume from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016 to 4 billion gallons in 2017.

While the proposal includes limited growth for biodiesel and the potential for additional biodiesel growth under the overall Advanced Biofuel category, it significantly understates the biodiesel industry’s capacity for growth. Already in 2015, Americans used nearly 2.1 billion gallons through the RFS. NBB has called for a 2018 standard of at least 2.5 billion gallons, with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.

 The good news is biodiesel supporters now have an opportunity to work collectively as an industry during the public comment period to improve the rule before it is finalized later this year. The EPA has said it plans to finalize the rule by Nov. 30. As with past RFS proposals, it is critical that the biodiesel community generate a high volume of strong comments to the Administration to win a higher volume under the final rule.

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Scientists Agree, Biodiesel A Key to Global Carbon Reduction

Scientific experts agree that biodiesel holds significant promise in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. A newly published consensus report from the Coordinating Research Council now adds to the growing evidence in support of biodiesel as a low carbon fuel. Key conclusions from the report show that carbon emissions from biofuels are declining relative to petroleum, and confidence in these results are growing with additional study.  

“When it comes to quantifying carbon benefits, biofuels have been the most heavily scrutinized products in the world market,” said Don Scott, director of sustainability with the National Biodiesel Board. “This heavy scrutiny and improving analysis provide confidence that biodiesel provides significant benefits over fossil fuels.” 

The CRC, whose members include the American Petroleum Institute, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Daimler, and many others, directs engineering and environmental studies pertaining to automotive and petroleum use. Since 2009, the CRC has been organizing biennial workshops to examine lifecycle analysis of biofuels. The new report is a summary document from their fall workshop on life cycle analysis of transportation fuels. 

Last year, biodiesel use in the U.S. cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 18 million tons, or the equivalent carbon emissions of 3.8 million cars.

The growing body of research supporting the use of biofuels to reduce emissions includes noteworthy analysis published by the National Renewable Energy LaboratoryArgonne National LaboratoryUSEPAUSDA, and the California Air Resources Board. Each of these institutions has affirmed that US biodiesel reduces GHG emissions by at least 50 percent and often as much as 85 percent compared to petroleum diesel fuel.

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Biodiesel Beauty Queen Not Your Typical Pageant Girl

Sydney Jaeger, after being crowned Miss Dodge City

Sydney Jaeger is not your typical pageant girl. But if you are looking for her the second week of June she will be competing in the Miss Kansas pageant representing as Miss Dodge City. Drawn in by scholarship opportunities, Sydney says her first year being involved in the pageant world has her hooked with all the possibilities to serve others and the potential platform it creates.

“My many diverse activities and unusual hobbies for a beauty queen help me reach out to lots of different people,” Sydney said. “I feel I'm pretty well-rounded and can talk to people, especially Kansans, about what they're passionate about.”

Some of those unique activities include powerlifting, shooting blue rock, operating heavy equipment on the family farm, and working in the family biodiesel plant, Emergent Green Energy.

“If you ask me, biodiesel is the future,” says Sydney. “Every opportunity I have, I'm out helping with the family businesses. Whether that is running the fuel truck from field to field during harvest to fuel up equipment with biodiesel, overseeing reactions in the biodiesel plant, or even pressure washing a semi tanker in between used cooking oil pick up and fuel delivery.”

She hopes that her unique background will help her stand out in the Miss Kansas competition.

“I am not only hoping to serve others, but also promote renewable fuels, especially biodiesel!” Sydney added.

This fall she will be continuing her biodiesel research as she pursues a degree in chemical engineering at Wichita State University while also serving as a student ambassador and a member of the cheerleading team.

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Tax Credit Bill Introduced

The biodiesel tax incentive is set to expire yet again at the end of this year, and it’s time to begin ramping up advocacy on an extension. Reps. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., recently introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House that would extend the biodiesel tax incentive through 2019 and reform it as a domestic production credit.

NBB is working to get a strong showing of cosponsors on the bill, HR 5240, to demonstrate to House leaders that it has strong bipartisan support across the country and deserves to be passed.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the tax incentive, biodiesel that is produced overseas and imported to the US can access the credit. This has fueled a surge of imports in recent years. Much of which already received some sort of subsidy in its country of origin, creating an uneven playing field.

In addition to extending the credit for three years, the Noem/Pascrell bill would restrict the credit to biodiesel produced domestically in the US.

NBB is urging supporters of the tax credit to contact their U.S. Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. H.R. 5240 can be found here on the House website. Biodiesel supporters can call their U.S. representative by calling the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 or visiting the House website here to do a zip-code search to find their local congressman and contact information. 

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EPA Honors Biodiesel Champions

David Harris (left) and Joe Biluck (right) receive awards from the U.S. EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently honored two long time biodiesel leaders for their outstanding commitment to the environment. David E. Harris Jr. of the Harvard University Fleet Management Division, and Joe Biluck of Medford Township Public Schools in Medford, NJ are the visionaries behind their fleet’s move to environmentally-friendly biodiesel fuel.

Medford Township Public Schools was the first school district in the country to use biodiesel starting in 1997. Today it is the nation’s longest continuous user of biodiesel in a student transportation fleet. By using biodiesel, Joe Biluck has helped Medford eliminate 123,376 pounds of smog forming emissions, and reduced the fleet operation cost by $170,000. On May 13 the EPA presented Joe Biluck and Medford with the 2016 Environmental Champion Award in New York City.

In 2004, Harvard was the first Ivy League school to power its diesel vehicles with cleaner burning biodiesel. Now Harvard operates a fleet of about 75 service vehicles, as well as an additional 25 pieces of off-road maintenance equipment, all running on biodiesel. In total, Harvard University uses over 100,000 gallons of biodiesel per year. David Harris and Harvard University accepted the 2016 Environmental Merit Award on May 10.

“The National Biodiesel Board is proud to work with both David Harris and Joe Biluck, and their leadership and vision is helping to improve environmental quality and lower emissions through the use of America’s Advanced Biofuel” says Ron Marr, chairman of the National Biodiesel Board.

Biluck and Harris also serve as “Biodiesel Ambassadors,” a volunteer program run by NBB to help spread awareness of biodiesel and to ensure understanding in their communities and nation-wide.

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New Co-Chairs to Lead Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel 

Jennifer Greenstein of North Carolina State University is one of two new co-chairs selected for Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, a program that promotes understanding of scientific facts behind biodiesel and fosters academic collaboration, has selected two new student co-chairs as leaders. The NGSB program, led by the National Biodiesel Board, has chosen Jennifer Greenstein of North Carolina State University and James Brizendine of Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Brizendine, who majors in Environmental Engineering, first became interested in biodiesel during an experimental entrepreneurship course. His project simulated a biodiesel start-up business model. That led to an internship in which he often talked to biodiesel production companies, trucking companies, soybean farmers and grease collectors, as well as a trip to visit the National Biodiesel Board in Jefferson City, Mo.

“Being a co-chair of NGSB is an amazing opportunity to become deeply involved with the biodiesel industry and the people that run it,” James said. “I am also already involved in spreading the word about biodiesel and being co-chair will really help me gain momentum with my current campus efforts, which include trying to build a biodiesel reactor.”

Greenstein is pursuing her PhD in Plant and Microbial Biology. While a student, she began working for Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel producer. For her research, Greenstein is working on developing lipases, which are a catalyst to make biodiesel. Listen to interview with Jennifer Greenstein.

Greenstein and Brizendine join two other existing co-chairs: Jesse Mayer, University of Nevada – Reno, and James Anderson, Southern Illinois University. 

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Elon University and the BioBus

Elon University is one of many colleges with an eye on sustainability.  In January of 2007 Elon University began operating its first BioBus on a blend of 20 percent biodiesel in an effort to use a cleaner source of fuel than traditional petroleum.  Once the university saw the success of biodiesel, they quickly began to invest more.  With the help of a federal grant, Elon University is able to operate its own refueling station on campus.  They also now operate a fleet of 11 BioBuses that transport students and faculty as well as community members around the town of Elon, North Carolina.

In addition to Elon University’s BioBuses, the school also operates more than 55 alternative fuel vehicles as they try to use every option available to reduce their carbon emissions.  The university found that in 2012, commuter travel accounted for 10 percent of their carbon emissions, with the university fleet adding on another two percent.  With the use of alternative, renewable fuels like biodiesel, the school hopes to reach a goal of climate neutrality by 2037.

Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum according to the US EPA.  Elon University has embraced these reductions and continues to try to find even more ways to reduce their carbon footprint.  Elon University is getting where it needs to go with cleaner burning, renewable biodiesel.

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

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