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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




July 1, 2016  
Biodiesel Advocacy Heats Up This Summer

Seattle Puts its Fuel Where its Passion Is

National Biodiesel Board Spreads the Word: "More is Less"

Biodiesel Supports American Jobs

ASU Biodiesel Lab Educates Students on Sustainability

Rochester Makes a Change for More Biodiesel

Farm Sector Believes in Biodiesel

Biodiesel Advocacy Heats Up This Summer

Anne Steckel presents to the House Energy and Commerce Committee

NBB and biodiesel supporters have ramped up advocacy efforts in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Renewable Fuel Standard proposal, establishing biodiesel volumes. The industry had a busy month filled with several events surrounding the RFS proposal, in addition to the launch of NBB’s letter-writing campaign to push for higher RFS volumes.

The EPA held a public hearing in Kansas City, welcoming more than two dozen biodiesel supporters testifying on behalf of the industry, including producer, feedstock suppliers, economists and technical experts. NBB and biodiesel leaders spoke on panels to directly voice their concern over EPA’s RFS proposal, urging the agency to increase volumes in the final proposal.

Also in the month of June, NBB’s Anne Steckel testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power at a hearing entitled “The Renewable Fuel Standard – Implementation Issues.” Steckel spoke before the committee to highlight biodiesel’s role as the most successful Advanced Biofuel in the nation. A copy of the full testimony can be found on NBB’s website under the Federal Affairs section, here.

Lastly, NBB launched a letter-writing campaign encouraging all biodiesel supporters to submit comments calling for the EPA to strengthen its RFS proposal. 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. Make your voice heard by submitting comments on the RFS proposal through NBB’s website, here. This is a critical time for the biodiesel industry, as decisions are being made on the RFS that will shape biodiesel’s growth and development for years, making it even more crucial for supporters to weigh in and comment on the proposal. The comment period for closes on July 11, and the final rule is scheduled to be published on November 30th.

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Seattle Puts its Fuel Where its Passion Is

The city of Seattle is looking ahead to a cleaner environment for future generations.  To achieve this, the city fleet directors looked for the best way to reduce carbon pollution and found that biodiesel was their best option.

Seattle realized that 65percent of their greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation as the city burns about one million gallons of diesel fuel per year.  So in 2014, the city enacted the Green Action Fleet Plan and began using cleaner burning biodiesel.  By switching to a B20 biodiesel blend, Seattle now uses nearly 200,000 gallons of biodiesel per year, significantly lowering their carbon emissions.

The city did not have to look far to find a source for the renewable fuel.  All of the biodiesel used in Seattle’s diverse fleet of heavy duty vehicles is made from reused cooking oil, half of which is from the city’s own restaurants.  For a city that prides itself on delivering the best pick-me-ups, biodiesel has become pretty potent.

“We’re really interested in reusing a local feedstock, recycling it and fueling our city vehicles with that feedstock,” says Andrea Pratt, the green fleet and fuel program manager.  “The more biodiesel we use, the less emissions we produce.”

Through the Green Action Fleet Plan, Seattle is looking to reduce their carbon emissions by at least 42 percent by 2020, and biodiesel remains a central part of that plan.  Follow the link to hear more about Seattle’s switch to America’s Advanced Biofuel.

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National Biodiesel Board Spreads the Word: "More is Less"

A new education campaign launched by the National Biodiesel Board communicates how Americans can reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants simply by using more biodiesel in vehicles and fleets. Through the campaign titled “More is Less,” NBB hopes to spread awareness and education on the alternative fuel by showing that biodiesel is easy to use, cost effective, and better for the environment.

Biodiesel is made from a wide variety of available fats and oils including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats. It is a renewable, clean-burning fuel that can be used in any diesel engine. The EPA has determined that using biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent when compared with its petroleum counterpart. This makes it a much more desirable option when considering fuel options.

Included in the "More is Less" campaign is a :30 second television commercial that uses the school bus operations in New Jersey’s Medford Township as an example of a community who has embraced biodiesel, drastically reducing pollutants and lowering operating costs by more than $170,000. 

To further emphasize the benefits of biodiesel, the campaign also includes an interactive website for more in depth information. The site aims to educate users on the features and benefits of biodiesel as an alternative fuel with many vignettes on prominent biodiesel users from coast to coast. Visitors are also challenged to take the fun quiz, “Test Your Bio-Q,” and learn what they can do to support the use of biodiesel in the U.S. 

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Biodiesel Supports American Jobs

A newly released study revealed that the biodiesel industry supports nearly 48,000 jobs. The more than two billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel used last year supported an economic impact of $8.4 billion spread over a wide variety of sectors.

The study published by LMC International, which was commissioned by the National Biodiesel Board, found that biodiesel production has a significant positive impact across a variety of economic sectors, including processing and manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and animal processing.  Members of these sectors recently gathered in Washington DC in order to fight the growing problem of foreign imports drawing money away from these jobs.

“Ending our dependence on oil is an opportunity, not just for the environment and our national security, but for the economy and for American workers,” says Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “This industry is supporting tens of thousands of jobs from coast to coast, and we’re just getting started.”

Biodiesel imports have begun to eat into the domestic industry’s production and economic impact.  The LMC study found that the industry would have supported 21,200 additional jobs last year if all the biodiesel and renewable diesel used in the US had been produced domestically.

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ASU Biodiesel Lab Educates Students on Sustainability

Professor Humphrey at the ASU farm

The Arkansas State Red Wolves are learning all about sustainability thanks to a biodiesel lab on campus.  Professor Kevin Humphrey began a project in 2008 to work with biodiesel and by 2010 was producing the fuel himself.  Humphrey realized that he could help students produce the fuel with the soybean oil gathered from the campus farm. 

“When soybeans are harvested from the farm, I’m provided with whatever isn’t needed from research plots,” says Humphrey. 

After extracting the oil, Humphrey is able to send the soybean meal back to the farm to feed the animals on campus, or it is sold to the city of Jonesboro. 

“So, say I received 200 bushels from the last harvest. I get 131.2 gallons of soybean oil and about 5.5 tons of soybean meal. Converting that to biodiesel with about a 96 percent return on the oil means about 126 gallons of biodiesel. That’s used on the farm and soybean meal is either provided to the farm — about 21,000 pounds at last count — or sold.”

News of ASU’s biodiesel lab has begun to spread to the city, with the mayor coming to visit in order to learn about the benefits of biodiesel.

“They’re going to do something similar for the city. I’m helping them establish the biodiesel and oil-pressing capabilities. They’ll use that for the municipal and county fleet of vehicles. They’ll also incorporate waste vegetable oil and work out a system where they can do some recycling. That means transportation costs would be lower and needed jobs could be generated.”

Professor Humphrey is committed to teaching the students at ASU about the many benefits of biodiesel.  By seeing such a sustainable fuel in action, he hopes that students will want to use biodiesel for themselves and continue to spread the use of renewable energy across the nation.

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Rochester Makes a Change for More Biodiesel

Rochester Minnesota recently made a switch to using 20 percent biodiesel in their public transit buses.  According to Tony Knauer, Rochester Public Transit Director, the 49 bus fleet will use a blend of 20 percent biodiesel throughout the warm weather months.  Although Minnesota already has a state law requiring blends of 10 percent biodiesel in the summer, and 5 percent in the winter, the city of Rochester wanted to take their use of clean-burning biodiesel a step further.

"Using this higher biodiesel blend will have an immediate effect on the air pollutants these buses emit, reducing particulate matter, hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions," said Kelly Marczak, regional senior director for clean air at the American Lung Association in Minnesota. "It also represents another step away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner, more sustainable fuels produced here in Minnesota.” 

According to ALA, using the higher blends of biodiesel will result in a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  According to Knauer, “We just thought all the arguments were in favor of it.”

In addition to the air quality benefits, the city’s decision also comes with some economic savings.  No change was needed to the buses or fueling infrastructure and the public bus line expects to achieve a 2 to 5 cent per gallon savings in fuel costs while using the higher percentage of biofuel.

The city of Rochester is taking the right step toward a cleaner, brighter future by using clean, renewable biodiesel.

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Farm Sector Believes in Biodiesel

Illinois farmer Jeff Lynn

Illinois soybean farmer Jeff Lynn spends lots of time promoting biodiesel. He also puts it to use on his seventh-generation family farm growing soybeans and corn in western Illinois.

“I’m a firm believer in using what we grow and what we produce,” Lynn said.

Lynn has been a supporter of the biodiesel industry as it provides a more sustainable fuel option than petroleum diesel, provides jobs in his home-state of Illinois, and adds value to soybean oil which reduces costs for feeding livestock. His support has led to him volunteering to serve on the Illinois Soybean Association biodiesel committee and as the National Biodiesel Foundation secretary-treasurer.

Agriculture equipment manufacturers were among the first to support biodiesel in their equipment including New Holland who supports the use of B100 in all of its engines, Case IH who approves B100 for more than half of their models sold globally and B20 in more than 90 percent of US models, and John Deere who was the first off-highway equipment manufacturer to factory fill their equipment with biodiesel blends in North America.

The ease of use is one of biodiesel’s big benefits for users.

“We’ve used B20 for two years now and have never had any problems,” Lynn said. “It is a clean-burning, renewable fuel source. It’s a big deal.”

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

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