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Biodiesel Bulletin


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




November 1, 2017  
Biodiesel Industry Responds to Proposed RFS Cuts

Biodiesel Champions in Congress, Statehouses Make Voices Heard

Student Scientists Invited to Apply for Scholarship to National biodiesel Conference

Biodiesel Industry Celebrates Manufacturing Day

NBB Fair Trade Coalition Finds Success Again in Biodiesel Import Case

Minnesota Students Earn Scholarships for Biodiesel Essays

Busting Myths About Cold Weather Use

 

 
Biodiesel Industry Responds to Proposed RFS Cuts

Last month, the biodiesel industry rallied together to urge President Trump to keep his promises and not roll back volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the end of September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a notice that called for comments on a proposal to further reduce the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2018 and 2019 in the biomass-based diesel category of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The comment period began October 4th and saw hundreds of responses from around the industry. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) had more than 600 advocates respond, sending comments to the EPA, as well as writing letters to both the EPA and the White House. Many other organizations from around the industry joined NBB in submitting official comments to the EPA, pushing back against the proposal and calling for higher volumes.

“We have an incredible industry that showed just how much we can do when our future is on the line,” said Donnell Rehagen, NBB’s Chief Executive Officer. “I want to personally thank all of our members, our biodiesel champions in Congress, and all of our supporters who showed an immense effort to fight back against this proposal to reduce biodiesel volumes.”

After the comment period ended, EPA Administrator Pruitt released a letter addressed to a group of seven senators stating that the RFS volumes would not be rolled back, but he did not to commit to increasing volumes beyond the current proposed amount.

“Although NBB appreciates that further cuts won’t be pursued, volumes higher than 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel are warranted and must be granted for the industry to continue to grow,” said Doug Whitehead, NBB’s Chief Operations Officer. “We cannot settle for the biomass-based diesel volume remaining flat at 2.1 billion gallons.”

 

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Biodiesel Champions in Congress, Statehouses Make Voices Heard

Senator Chuck Grassley Signs a poster urging the President to keep his promises

The biodiesel industry recently saw tremendous support from both senators and governors during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent comment period. These groups advocated for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and for biodiesel through letters, phone calls, and press conferences, proving they are truly champions for the biodiesel industry.

Led by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a bipartisan group of 33 senators signed a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt, calling for higher RFS volumes, and urging the EPA to protect biodiesel.

“Reducing volumes … is disruptive, unprecedented and very troubling,” the senators wrote. “These volumes do not meet actual biodiesel production capacity in the United States, and could have a negative impact on jobs and economies in rural communities across the nation.”

A group of four Republican governors wrote a letter to President Trump, reminding him of his promise to the renewable fuels industry. One of these was Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who received a phone call from President Trump to assure her that he would keep his promise. Both Governor Reynolds and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley went a step further by holding press conferences to speak out on the EPA’s proposal.

Additionally, Senator Grassley joined other legislators in a meeting with EPA Administrator Pruitt to meet face-to-face on their concerns with the latest RFS proposal. Shortly after this meeting, Administrator Pruitt sent a letter to these senators, stating that the RFS volumes would not be decreased below what was proposed in July, which included the same volume that was required last year—2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel. However, the letter failed to commit to increasing volumes beyond the current proposal, so volumes of biomass-based diesel would remain flat at 2.1 billion gallons.

The efforts taken by these senators show how important biodiesel and the RFS is to communities around the country. These champions will continue to fight for higher volumes, more jobs, and increased economic impacts with biodiesel.

 

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Student Scientists Invited to Apply for Scholarship to National Biodiesel Conference

NGSB students attend the 2017 conference

Each year at the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, student scientists from around the country gather to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information, and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry. Once again, the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program is inviting members to apply for scholarships to the conference.

“Having individual scientists take time to talk to me about my research was so rewarding,” said Christopher Carrie, a student at Rowan University in New York who attended in 2017. “It was a humbling experience to listen to the impact each scientist had on the biodiesel industry and to hear their closing words of wisdom. My passion for renewable energy has started; it is time to get to work.”

Sponsored by National Biodiesel Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture Biodiesel Education Program, United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Foundation, available scholarships include free registration ($1,200 value), travel stipends ($600 value), mentoring sessions, biodiesel poster presentations and speaking opportunities. The deadline for application is November 19, 2017.

Student opportunities include a poster session on biodiesel-related research or activities, a student-led breakout session to present their research, a pre-conference biodiesel educational overview and a mentoring session with prominent biodiesel scientists.

Managed by the National Biodiesel Board, the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel is a free student professional organization to help foster collaboration, networking, and career development. Professors are also encouraged to join.

The National Biodiesel Conference and Expo will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, January 22 – 25, 2018. The annual conference delivers the latest in industry news and trends plus the opportunity to network and get business done. Tickets are on sale now, so be sure to reserve your spot today!

 

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Biodiesel Industry Celebrates Manufacturing Day

Thousands of manufacturers across the nation celebrated Manufacturing Day 2017 last month. This annual effort clears common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving the public a closer view of the industry. The growing movement also allows manufacturers to collectively address common challenges so they can help communities and future generations thrive.

Biodiesel is a driving force in America’s manufacturing sector; supporting 64,000 good paying, clean energy jobs across the country.

“Manufacturing Day 2017 is an appropriate time to reflect on the biodiesel industry’s economic contributions,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “With nearly 90 NBB-member plants, American-made biodiesel is produced in almost every state in the country. There are countless real-life examples of the power of biodiesel supporting the American economy and jobs throughout the supply chain. From the farmers who grow the feedstocks, to the producers who make the fuel, to the marketers and distributors who ensure it gets to the end users – biodiesel is an economic and job creation success story.”

Manufacturing Day, which occurs on the first Friday in October, is an annual national event executed at the local level and supported by thousands of manufacturers across the nation. Events such as open houses, plant tours and presentations welcome students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members while showcasing modern manufacturing technology and careers. For more information, visit www.mfgday.com.

 

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NBB Fair Trade Coalition Finds Success Again in Biodiesel Import Case

The National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition won a preliminary antidumping determination from the Commerce Department regarding dumped biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The Commerce Department found that biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia are sold into the United States below fair value, and they have imposed preliminary duties on imports from these countries based on the amount of dumping found.

This is the second determination from the Commerce Department that has ruled in the biodiesel industry’s favor. In August, the coalition won a preliminary countervailing duty determination. As a reminder, antidumping petitions address concerns with imports coming into the United States below fair value. Countervailing duty petitions address subsidies provided by foreign governments benefiting imported product.

“It is reassuring with each decision that the Commerce Department is reviewing the data and facts at face value,” said Doug Whitehead, NBB’s Chief Operating Officer. “The law is clear, and violations of trade law shouldn’t be ignored at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of Americans employed or affected by biodiesel.”

As a result of Commerce’s rulings, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.

 

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Minnesota Students Earn Scholarships for Biodiesel Essays

Kaci Gwilt (L) and Abigail Brockhouse (R), winners of the 2017 Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay Scholarships

The school year is in full swing, and Minnesota high school students are once again competing for this year’s Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay Scholarship. The scholarship is administered by the American Lung association and sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

Vehicle exhaust is the largest source of pollution in Minnesota, including diesel engines. To address this issue, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to require nearly all of the diesel fuel sold to contain cleaner burning biodiesel. The Clean Air Choice® Biodiesel Scholarship contest helps teach Minnesota high school students about benefits of biodiesel, encouraging the next generation to make environmentally smart choices.

Last year Kaci Gwilt won first place for her winning essay, which recounted her experiences on her grandparent’s farm in southern Minnesota. Gwilt’s grandfather, a soybean farmer and biodiesel user, explained to her how soybeans from their farm were processed into food, fiber, and fuel for the farm’s diesel engines. Abigail Brockhouse took home second place with her essay which provided an overview of the benefits of biodiesel, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lessening dependence on imported petroleum, and creating new jobs in Minnesota.

“The role of the biodiesel industry is not to immediately replace petroleum diesel, but to help create a balanced energy policy while benefiting the environment and the economy,” Brockhouse wrote. “Biodiesel is one of several alternative fuels designed to extend our energy mix, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce domestic fuel supplies and jobs.”

Entries for the 2018 scholarships are accepted now through April for all high school seniors in Minnesota with plans to attend postsecondary education.

 

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Busting Myths About Cold Weather Use

Many myths exist about how well biodiesel works in lower temperatures, so as winter approaches it’s time bust some of these cold weather myths. The cold truth is that biodiesel can perform well in the coldest environments.

Myth: Biodiesel causes filter plugging in cold temperatures.

Fact: All diesel fuel requires special handling in cold weather. There are many factors that can cause filter plugging in the winter.

When air temperature gets below 32°F, water freezes, including any water in the fuel system. The colder the temperatures, the thicker diesel fuel gets. It doesn’t take much to restrict the flow through today’s tighter fuel filters and any type of contamination will be more pronounced in winter – water, sediment, and oxidation can all lead to filter plugging. Filters in the fueling system are designed to capture these impurities before they reach your engine.

Myth: Even low biodiesel blends, like 5 percent, lead to winter operability problems.

Fact: Biodiesel blends of B5 and lower are physically similar and perform the same as petroleum diesel fuel. In fact, the specification for petroleum diesel, ASTM D975, includes biodiesel blends up to 5 percent for on/off road engines. Whichever methods are used to winterize No. 2 diesel fuel, the same strategy will work with biodiesel blends of B5 or lower.

Myth: Biodiesel causes diesel to look milky and thicken during freezing cold temperatures.

Fact: Paraffin is a naturally occurring material in petroleum diesel fuel. The “cloud point” of diesel refers to the temperature when the first wax crystals appear. When the temperature of the fuel is at or below its cloud point, more paraffin appears, sticks together forming bigger compounds and falls to the bottom of the tank. Wax Anti-Settling Agent additives are used to keep paraffin from combining with each other and suspended in the fuel rather than collecting at the bottom of the tank where they can cause filter plugging.

With just a little bit of care and upkeep that should be taken for all fuels, biodiesel can perform without the slightest issue during the upcoming cold months. For even more information, check out NBB’s cold weather guide.

 

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