Biodiesel Conference Blog

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Next Gen Scientists Causing an Effect

The best and the brightest of the Next Generation of Scientists for Biodiesel were on hand at the 14th National Biodiesel Conference to “cause an effect” in the industry.

The 14 young scientists were both seen and heard in poster displays on biodiesel research and networking with professionals in the biodiesel field. Six of them presented their promising research projects during a session moderated by retired USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Mike Haas.

The students who presented their projects were:

Jesse Mayer, University of Nevada – Reno
Rachel DeMyers, Kansas State University
VINAYAK PACHAPUR, Eau Terre Environnement – INRS
Stanley Terrell Anderson II, Clemson University
Salihu Danlami Musa, Newcastle University, UK
Yi-Chen Lee, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Listen to their brief presentations here: Next Generation of Scientists for Biodiesel panel

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

General Motors Pleased to Take Biodiesel Lead

General Motors was very pleased to announce its expanded portfolio of B20-capable vehicles during the 14th National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego last week, taking the lead among auto makers with 20 trucks, cars and crossovers able to use 20% biodiesel.

“We listen to what our customers are asking us for,” said John Schwegman, GM Director of Commercial Product and Medium Duty Product. “Biodiesel means support for the local economy, especially the farming industry. It helps promote energy security.”

While GM has always been big in the diesel pickup space, Schwegman says they will be introducing three new B20-capable biodiesel cars and crossovers in the next 12 months. “The Cruze and the Malibu will both be starting production this year and then the Equinox shortly thereafter,” he said. “We know that some other OEMs are exiting this segment so it means more opportunity for us.”

Learn more in this interview: Interview with John Schwegman, General Motors

Schwegman also talked about the road ahead for cutting carbon emissions with biodiesel during a session at the biodiesel conference: GM's John Schwegman on NBB17 OEM panel

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

2017 Biodiesel Conference Wrap Up

We still have a few more posts to add here on the blog, but the 14th National Biodiesel Conference is officially history.

Donnell Rehagen has attended the majority of those conference as COO for the National Biodiesel Board, but it was his first as CEO, and he was very pleased with this year’s event and excited about the industry moving forward.

Listen to my wrap up interview with Donnell here: Interview with Donnell Rehagen, NBB CEO

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Meet the New NBB Chairman

Kent Engelbrecht of ADM was elected chairman of the National Biodiesel Board in November, marking the first time that company has moved into the leadership position for the organization.

“We’ve been involved in biodiesel since 2006,” said Engelbrecht. “We’ve got four plants in North America producing a lot of biodiesel, and that uses a lot of soybean oil, and that comes from a lot of soybeans.”

Engelbrecht pleased with this year’s conference is excited about the future for the biodiesel industry moving forward with increased production and use. Interview with Kent Engelbrecht, NBB chairman

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

#NBB17 Spotlight on Washington Session

The room was packed for the ever-popular Spotlight on Washington session at the 2017 National Biodiesel Conference, which was more popular than ever this year with the advent of a new presidential administration.

Back by popular demand for the session were former Sen. Byron Dorgan and former Cong. Kenny Hulshof, and they were joined by other DC insiders Jim Massie, Timothy Urban, and Tom Hance. All offered their opinions and insights into what to expect from President Trump, generally along the lines of Dorgan’s first comments. “I don’t know,” he said when asked by NBB’s Anne Steckel about the election and where we go from here. “My head’s still kind of exploding.”

Listen to the whole conversation here: #NBB17 Washington Spotlight session

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Illinois B20 Club Wins Partnership Award

The Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program and the state’s American Lung Association received the Eye on Biodiesel Industry Partnership Award this year for the very successful B20 Club program.

This program is focused on raising the profile of exemplary fleets that use B20 in any type of diesel engine. Members range from municipalities to school buses to over-the-road trucking companies. Sharing their success stories with other fleet managers and decision makers has had a significant impact on those who have been hesitant to use B20 for reasons ranging from economics to engine warranty questions. The B20 Club showcases real stories of how, when, and why members began using B20, what their experiences have been since the switch, and provides peer support for fleet managers and other decision makers who are considering B20 for their own fleets.

Accepting the award were Illinois Soybean Association board member and farmer Jeff Lynn and John DeRosa, director of the American Lung Association in Illinois. Industry Partnership Award

The B20 Club was also the subject of a panel at the conference, where Sarah Mark with the City of Moline told her story of how they switched to biodiesel. Listen to an interview here with her and Jeff Lynn. Interview with Sarah Mark, City of Moline and Jeff Lynn, IL Soybean Assn.

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Hostage Negotiator Keynotes #NBB17

Chris Voss is founder and CEO of the Black Swan Group and author of “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.” He has used his many years of experience in international crisis and high-stakes negotiations to develop a unique program and team that applies these globally proven techniques to the business world. He was also the keynote speaker at the National Biodiesel Conference this year.

After his address, Voss was asked what he thought about biodiesel’s role in energy security for the nation. “It’s the United States not being held hostage by international interests,” he said. “It makes us more secure by having a stronger economy that’s not vulnerable internationally by foreign oil producers.” Chris Voss comment

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Iowa Governor Branstad Honored at #NBB17

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad received the Eye on Biodiesel National Energy Leadership Award, which the governor accepted via video recording at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Diego. The state of Iowa is a national leader in clean energy production and is the number one biodiesel producing state in the country, thanks in large part to strong leadership within the state.

“The Iowa biodiesel story is one that I am very proud to tell,” said Branstad, who added that he will be heading to the inauguration of Donald Trump this week. “I’m very optimistic that he will be a strong advocate for renewable fuels as president of this great country.”

Listen to Branstad’s comments accepting the award. Gov. Branstad, Energy Leadership Award

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

DC Clean Cities Leader Receives Influence Award

Ronald “Ron” Flowers is the Executive Director of the Greater Washington, D.C. Region Clean Cities Coalition, and the winner of this year’s Eye on Biodiesel Influence Award.

Ron has worked closely with the National Biodiesel Board as well as the National Biodiesel Foundation, resulting in the use of thousands of gallons of B20 blends. His knowledge of fuels and fleets was instrumental in transforming the nation’s capital region from a community of biodiesel naysayers to biodiesel believers. He has been instrumental in the DC Government, Smithsonian Institution, American University and many others switching to biodiesel. With Ron at their side, many of these fleet staff not only switched their own fleets but became champions of biodiesel who mentor their peers to join them in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and improving air quality with biodiesel.

Listen to Ron’s comments accepting the award. Ron Flowers, Influence Award

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

New York City Councilman Honored as Climate Leader

New York City passed a measure in 2016 introduced by City Council Member Costa Constantinides that makes the Big Apple a big leader in the use of biodiesel for heating oil.

The bill created fuel standard that grows the amount of biodiesel in heating oil in the City from the current two percent level to five percent October 1, 2017. The blend level then moves to 10 percent in 2025, 15 percent in 2030, and 20 percent in 2034. It is estimated that the increase from a two percent biodiesel blend to a five percent blend in the city will reduce the emissions equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road with the increase to 20 percent the equivalent of removing more than a quarter of a million cars.

For his strong support of biodiesel, Constantinides received the 2017 “Eye on Biodiesel” Climate Leader Award.

Listen to his comments to the general session and to the media in these audio files:
Costa award comments
Costa media comments

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Record Number of #Biodiesel Vehicles Available

U.S. auto manufacturers have introduced a record number of new biodiesel capable diesel vehicle options, several of which were on display at the 2017 National Biodiesel Conference Vehicle Showcase, presented by NBB and General Motors Fleet.

One of GM’s flagship models, the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup with a 6.6L Duramax® turbo diesel engine, is on proud display in the vehicle showcase, while Ford Motor Company is also showcasing one of its new 2017 B20 capable pickups and Nissan is displaying the Titan XD powered by a Cummins® 5.0L V8 turbo diesel engine.

The showcase also features the John Deere 5045E with a PowerTech® turbocharged diesel engine approved for use with B20 biodiesel blends. John Deere was one of the first original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get involved with biodiesel, approving B5 biodiesel blends for use in its engines in 2001.

“NBB and the U.S. biodiesel industry remain committed to working closely with our partners in the auto and engine manufacturing community to ensure that the high quality biodiesel fuel of today and tomorrow will continue to provide OEMs, fleets, and consumers with a reliable, fit-for-purpose fuel that keeps pace with the nation’s increasing demands for cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable modes of transportation,” said NBB Senior Technical Advisor Steve Howell.

Also on display is a commercial truck that runs on B100, thanks to Optimus Technologies which has begun to manufacture biodiesel conversion systems that enable vehicles to run up to B100—even in the coldest climates.

Listen to the entire vehicle showcase here and learn more: Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

NBB DC Report

Uncertainty and change are nothing new for the biodiesel industry, so the new administration is just one more challenge to overcome.

“While the transition to any new administration brings both challenges and opportunities, this new president comes with greater uncertainty than most,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “Regardless, our past success is a good indicator for how we will achieve our goals in 2017.”

Steckel says successes in 2016 included a favorable increase in volume obligations under the RFS, while a major goal for the coming year is working toward getting a producers tax credit approved by Congress.

Listen to Steckel’s comments at the general session here: NBB DC Update

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

GM Announces 20 for B20 in Diesel Vehicle Lineup

General Motors is fueling America’s future with biodiesel by expanding its B20-capable lineup to include new cars, crossovers and trucks.

John Schwegman, Director of Commercial Product and Medium Duty Product for General Motors, delivered the welcome news to an enthusiastic crowd at the 2017 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Diego.

“Diesel propulsion deserves wider consideration by fleet managers across the country,” Schwegman said. “With biodiesel production and retail distribution expanding, and so many proven benefits, we believe more fleets will embrace the technology as part of their sustainability plans. If our diesel customers fueled exclusively with biodiesel, we estimate that consumption of petroleum-based fuels would be reduced by hundreds of million gallons annually.”

Listen to Schwegman’s announcement here: GM announcement at #NBB17

Learn more about the new GM diesel options.

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

New NBB CEO and Chairman Kick Off #NBB17

National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen and Chairman Kent Engelbrecht of ADM kicked off the 2017 National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego Tuesday with a look at how biodiesel has continued to triumph over the years despite being an underdog.

“NBB was created by a visionary and insightful group of soybean organizations in 1992, before biodiesel even existed in the United States,” said Rehagen, who was just named CEO of the organization in October 2016. “Think about that…a trade association was created for a product that didn’t exist.”

Rehagen noted that the biodiesel industry is preparing for the new administration. “Like so many others we are eager to see what the coming months and the Trump Administration will mean for renewable energy, for tax reform and for the RFS,” he said. NBB will be redoubling its efforts in DC this year by hiring a second lobbyist and a Director of Advocacy whose job will be to increase member company outreach on Capitol Hill.

Engelbrecht, who was elected NBB chairman in November, says they are very optimistic about the future. “We all know the hard fights will continue. But we also understand and appreciate the history and the strengths that the industry and NBB share,” he said. “We are tried and proven underdogs.”

Listen to their comments here: Rehagen and Engelbrecht, general session

Listen to Rehagen’s press conference here: NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen meets the press

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Fueling Biodiesel’s Future in San Diego

Biodiesel enthusiasts are converging in San Diego this week for shows and announcements at the industry’s largest gathering of producers, distributors and fans.

The 14th Annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo officially kicks off this morning with an overview of the industry at the conference’s General Session, which is followed by numerous breakout sessions where experts will present on the latest trends in the industry. Local fans will be particularly interested in the discussion in the session, “California’s Thriving Low Carbon Markets.”

“The General Session is one event attendees won’t want to miss,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, which produces the annual conference. “Not only will they get presentations on what’s been accomplished and what’s expected ahead, we are looking forward to a very special announcement from General Motors that will be exciting news for biodiesel fans everywhere.

Attendees will also enjoy the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase that kicks off Tuesday in the Expo Hall. There they will find the latest biodiesel-capable vehicles, technologies and special announcements on what to expect in the future.

Watch for the latest from the National Biodiesel Conference here.

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Policy Panel at #NBB16

nbb-16-panelBack by popular demand, the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference once again featured a panel of former Congressional representatives to talk about renewable fuels policy and in this election year, presidential politics as well.

The panel featured former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who spoke at the first general session this week; former Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and former Republican Congressman Kenny Hulshof of Missouri.

All of the panelists expressed grave concerns about candidates’ abilities to run this country. “I think my party will either choose well or choose its destruction,” said Inglis.

As a Democrat, Dorgan said he was worried about both political parties. “All this (the campaign) is very clever and funny but this is really serious business, we’re talking about the future of this country,” he said.

Hulshof said he was personally supporting John Kasich for president, but definitely was not so much for Trump. “I’m sure there are a lot of Trump supporters here – and that’s great …. for you.”

When it came to policy issues for biodiesel, all of the panelists expressed their support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and for a producers tax credit.

Listen to the panel here: Biodiesel Policy Panel

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Policy on Track

nbb-16-steckelBiodiesel policy is laser-focused right now on two primary issues – the RFS and the tax incentive – two policies that drive growth in the industry.

During an address to the membership at the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel said they should take credit in the success of getting higher volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard. “The fact that biodiesel was able to achieve most of its policy goals while others did not…is something we should really be proud of,” said Steckel. “I am proud to say that a two billion gallon standard moving forward is a long way away from the original RFS that flat lined biodiesel at 1.28 billion gallons.”

Steckel noted that they will continue to work toward a producers tax credit. “We were successful in winning a two year extension (of the blenders tax credit) through the remainder of this year,” she said. “However Congress…stopped just short of converting the tax credit into a producers incentive.” She says the fight will continue.

Learn more here: Anne Steckel, NBB VP of Federal Affairs

I also interviewed Anne about the 2015 biodiesel numbers that came out earlier this week and how they show the need for a producers tax credit as more biodiesel is being imported into this country to take advantage of the blenders credit.

Listen to that interview here: Interview with Anne Steckel, NBB

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Maniscalco Receives Pioneer Award

nbb-16-pioneerJohn Maniscalco, who recently retired as the head of the New York Oil Heating Association after more than 20 years was honored with the Eye on Biodiesel Pioneer award at the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference. Maniscalco received the 2013 Industry Partnership award.

Maniscalco was at the forefront of leadership in the heating oil industry, serving as the first treasurer of the National Oilheat Research Alliance before his time at NYOHA. He’s also been at the forefront of the industry’s move to Bioheat®, biodiesel in home heating. He was instrumental in New York City implementing legislation for B2 heating oil citywide. New York City continues to be a Bioheat® leader in the Northeast on both policy and public perception when it comes to cleaning up heating oil.

Listen to his remarks here: John Maniscalco, Biodiesel Pioneer Award winner

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Support the National Biodiesel Foundation

nbb-16-foundationThe president and executive director of the National Biodiesel Foundation gave an update on the organization’s activities during the second general session of the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference.

NBF Executive Director Tom Verry says the priorities for the foundation are sustainability, infrastructure, education and research. “In the past couple of years, sustainability work in California has been a major focus for the foundation,” said Verry, noting that the foundation helped fund research to help the state get a more accurate assessment of biodiesel’s carbon reduction benefits, adding millions of dollars to the value of biodiesel in California’s carbon credit market.

In the education arena, foundation president Mike Cunningham of the American Soybean Association highlighted a $10,000 donation made last year by HERO BX. “With these funds we held a biodiesel workshop for auto technicians at Erie County Technical School in Erie, Pennsylvania,” he said. Other educational activities planned for this year include a Congressional staffer tour to showcase bioheat in New York City.

The foundation started a memorial fund to honor industry champion Dallas Hanks, who passed away in 2014. “We have raised close to $10,000 to pay for scholarships for students to attend this conference,” said Cunningham.

The Foundation holds a fundraising auction at the annual conference but anyone can donate anytime by going to the website – biodieselfoundation.org. You can also follow them on Twitter – @Biodiesel_Fnd.

Learn more here: Biodiesel Foundation Update

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Board Chairman Promotes Teamwork

nbb-16-marrNational Biodiesel Board chairman Ron Marr with Minnesota Soybean Processors addressed the second general session of the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference with the message of teamwork to accomplish industry goals.

“As a team we have a shared drive and commitment to go out and win,” said Marr. “And as an industry, we have fought hard and had many successes but we also face significant challenges in the months to come.”

Marr stressed the importance of each individual member to get involved, particularly on the national level in contacting their legislative representatives. “Never underestimate the vital importance of your individual effort to your team’s success,” he said.

Listen to Marr’s address here: NBB chairman Ron Marr

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album