Biodiesel Conference Blog

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Climate Leader Award Winners

nbb-16-climate-leaderThe National Biodiesel Board recognized three organizations in California this year as the Eye on Biodiesel Climate Leader award winners.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2); and the American Lung Association were all recognized for their environmental leadership to promote all clean fuels, including biodiesel, along the West Coast. These three organizations, along with other NGOs, bolstered and defended Low Carbon Fuel policies in California and Oregon.

NBB Director of Sustainability Don Scott (L) presented the awards to representatives each organization – Mary Solecki of E2, Heather Palmer with the American Lung Association, and EDF’s Timothy J. O’Connor.

After a three year legal battle, California re-adopted its Low Carbon Fuel Standard in September of 2015. California is now on track to reduce its carbon by 10 percent in the transportation sector. Biodiesel is the lowest carbon liquid fuel available today to help meet these requirements. Oregon, faced with legal challenges, voted to implement a similar policy with a 10 percent reduction goal slated for 2025. These organizations and others were on the ground creating reports and other materials that highlighted the rapid growth of the alternative fuels industry and how policies would further greater investment into advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel. Moreover, they worked tirelessly to defend the legal challenges and were instrumental in helping to defend these trail blazing carbon reduction policies.

O’Connor spoke for the group in accepting the award. Timothy O'Connor, Environmental Defense Fund

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

ADM VP Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

nbb-16-livergoodMike Livergood is retiring this year from ADM after nearly four decades with the company and for his many years of service to the industry, he received the Eye on Biodiesel Lifetime Achievement award this year.

Livergood has been at the forefront of helping develop the biodiesel industry, even before it was commercialized in this country. His work to keep the industry unified through the National Biodiesel Board has been essential to growth and success.

In his acceptance speech, Livergood talked about how ADM become involved with the National Biodiesel Board back in 1999. “By 2011, we were running eleven biodiesel facilities on three continents with total capacity of nearly three-quarters of a billion gallons a year,” he said. “Biodiesel was truly the savior of the soybean crushing industry.”

Listen here: Mike Livergood, Lifetime Achievement Award

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

RepublicEn: Conservative Climate Realists

nbb-16-inglisFormer Republic Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina brought his message of conservative climate realism to the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference opening general session.

“Free enterprise can solve the problem of climate change,” said Inglis, who talked about the Energy and Enterprise Initiative he founded in 2012. RepublicEn, as it is called, is a nationwide public engagement campaign promoting conservative and free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing now because it gives me the opportunity to be about something that’s big enough to be about,” he said.

Learn more about RepublicEn and how conservatives can be part of the climate change solution in Inglis’ speech: Bob Inglis Speech

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel and Yogi Berra

nbb-16-jobe-2At the opening General Session of the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa Tuesday, there was a theme of the underdog winning the game – and a promise that biodiesel is in the game to win.

“Last year the biodiesel industry demonstrated more than ever that no matter how beat up we are, no matter how outgunned we are, we don’t back down,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe. “We came together like never before. We stayed true to our principles in the face of deceitful attacks and we achieved the success necessary to put us back on track.”

Though optimistic, Jobe also noted significant challenges still remain. “While our fight is not over, we have a different future. 2016 is going to be our strongest year yet,” he said. “The strategy of disinformation is now being deployed to attack renewable energy and climate change science. Our opponents will continue to use outrageous and desperate tactics as they continue to undermine and work to repeal the only carbon reduction policy currently available in the transportation sector.”

Jobe had a baseball theme to his speech and used many quotes from Yogi Berra, also known as “Yogisms” – and noted that the 5’7″ Yankee was often underestimated. “I bring up Yogi not just because I admire him as a player, a person, a humorist, and a fellow Missouri boy, but because I wanted to illustrate how the biodiesel industry has been underestimated, overshadowed, and underrated,” said Jobe. “And 2016 is the year that we change that.”

Listen to Jobe’s speech here: NBB CEO Joe Jobe Speech

Jobe also offered an entertaining illustration of just how amazing biodiesel really is – watch below:

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Welcome to the 2016 Biodiesel Conference

The sun is shining and the weather is beautiful in Tampa, Florida as the 13th annual 2016 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo gets underway.

nbb-16-jobe-1I had a chance to chat with National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe as he was in rehearsal for the opening general session on Tuesday and he was pretty excited about new EPA data that consumers used a record of nearly 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel last year, demonstrating biodiesel’s rising popularity and really setting the stage for a new optimism in the industry.

“We just came through a two and a half year period of very difficult struggle because of the EPA’s delay in issuing the rule-making on the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe. “We’re positioned to break a record again in 2016.”

The theme of the biodiesel industry’s 13th annual conference this year is Coast to Coast, which Jobe says reflects the diversity of the fuel. “That diversity gives us a certain amount of strength in terms of our policy and how we utilize very diversified regionally abundant feedstocks,” said Jobe.

The conference really gets underway Tuesday morning when the Expo hall opens and Jobe will lead the opening general session with his state of the industry address. “It’s going to be perhaps the best conference we’ve ever had,” Jobe added. Check out the agenda here.

Listen to my interview with Joe here: 2016 Biodiesel Conference preview with NBB CEO Joe Jobe

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

2012 National Biodiesel Conference Preview

Only a couple days now until the kick-off of the Super Bowl – and the 2012 National Biodiesel Conference.

We caught up with National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to get a preview what promises to be a great conference. “Attendance is up, exhibitors are up, sponsorship is up, which is really a reflection of the fact that the industry’s back,” Jobe says. “The industry has come back and it’s really one of the most exciting come back stories since maybe Harley-Davidson.”

Jobe says there’s enthusiasm and excitement, but also a lot of work that needs to be done. “We need to talk about how we think about the industry going forward through the lens of the RFS, which is going to be the cornerstone of the industry moving forward,” he noted.

The conference will be held February 5-8 at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center in Orlando and while on-line registration is closed, there will be on-site registration for last minute attendees.

Listen to an interview with Jobe here: Interview with Joe Jobe

Time to Register for 2011 National Biodiesel Conference

nbb 2011 conferenceIt is time to start thinking about the next National Biodiesel Conference, coming up February 6-9 in Phoenix. Registration is now open with special early bird discounts until available until November 19.

The theme of the 2011 conference is “Advance” – reflecting the fact that biodiesel is classified as an advanced biofuel by EPA under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). “The EPA’s final rule making made it very clear that biodiesel, from all domestically produced feedstocks, is not a conventional biofuel,” says National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe. “It is in the category of advanced biofuel.”

The RFS2 will be a primary focus of the conference in February, according to Jobe. “By the time we get to the conference in February, the RFS2 program will be critically important to drawing demand and getting the biodiesel industry moving again,” Jobe says. “So the centerpiece of this conference is going to be all about the RFS2 and how we’re going to have an 800 million gallon plus market in 2011.”

The last two years have been a struggle for the industry, but there are plenty of people who still believe in the future of the sustainable fuel. The NBB is asking for people who believe in biodiesel to submit brief video statements about why they do. “We’re going to use the most interesting ones to use in video intros and segues at the conference,” said Jobe. More information about the “I believe in biodiesel” video project can be found on the NBB website.

Listen to an interview with Joe Jobe about the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference here: [audio:]

End of 2009 Coverage

NBB conference 09 endThis will conclude our coverage of the 2009 National Biodiesel Conference in San Francisco.

All of the posted audio from the conference is now available in podcast form for subscriber downloading by clicking here. There are a total of 17 audio podcast files this year including interviews, presentations and press conferences.

There are over 450 photos in the Flicker Photo album and over 30 posts so far from the conference, as well as a few videos.

Hope you enjoyed the coverage this year. Join us next year from Grapevine, Texas for the 2010 National Biodiesel Conference.

Evening with Emily and Company

NBB 09 Emily, Jason and ChuckWednesday’s reception was billed as an Evening With Emily Richards but the crowd got more than their money’s worth as they were entertained by many talented musicians. Emily is just incredible by herself, with amazing pipes and keyboard skills, and she has been appearing at the National Biodiesel Conference since 2004.

She was accompanied once again this year by guitarist and vocalist Jason Brock. Together they joined Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell during his set for a rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which I unfortunately did not commit to video.

However, I did get a recording of Emily and Joe Jobe (Piano Lady and Harmonica Man) doing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to rave reviews from the crowd. Joe is a man of many talents.

Watch them perform here:

NBB 09 Ed heglandNBB 09 Joe JobeLater in the evening, NBB chairman Ed Hegland grabbed a guitar and revealed his musical talent as well. He sang a very funny tune called “All Right Guy” which also unfortunately missed being preserved for posterity’s sake to YouTube.

Both Ed and Joe teamed up for a few impromptu numbers before letting Emily and Jason have the spotlight back. All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening with Emily and Company.

No word yet on when Joe and Ed will be leaving their day jobs and going on tour!

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

City of St. Francis Gets Even Greener

NBB 09 San FranciscoThe patron saint of the city by the bay must be proud of its incredible environmental achievements. That would be St. Francis of Assisi, of course, who is the patron saint of all things environmental.

The last award to be presented at the National Biodiesel Conference was the Initiative award, given to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. In this largest known city in the world to use B20 fleet-wide, the mayor has had a lot to do with that. In 2006, he issued an Executive Directive designed to increase the pace of municipal use of biodiesel. Today, virtually all of the City’s 1,500 diesel vehicles run on B20.

To top it off, as the conference wrapped up on Wednesday, the National Biodiesel Board celebrated SFGreasecycle, the City of San Francisco’s program to turn waste oil into biodiesel. The innovative program was awarded $1.2 million to break ground for brown-grease-to-biodiesel fuel production, and to build a toolkit that will serve as a blueprint for cities nationwide interested in replicating the program.

St. Francis is smiling down on his city!

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

To Infineon and Beyond

NBB 09 Ed HeglandOne of the pre-conference highlights for the National Biodiesel Conference in San Francisco was “Racecar Driver for a Day.”

NBB Chairman Ed Hegland was among those who suited up at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma to fly around the track in a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Racing Series vehicle and he absolutely loved the experience. “I got to do a couple of laps around the track and it was a real thrilling ride,” Ed said. “In fact, I got in line again after everyone else was done and did it again – I couldn’t get enough.”

B5 will be the official fuel of the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Racing Series and Ed says they are fortunate to be able to be working with a company like Volkswagen. Ed also got to drive one of the VW Jetta wagons up to the speedway. “That was an awful lot of fun, it really had a lot of get-up-and-go,” Ed says. “As the younger generation is wanting to be more green and environmentally friendly, it just seems like a perfect match.”

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Optimism for Biodiesel Market

NBB 09 AwardsThe future for biodiesel is brighter than some might think right now in this economy, according to officials with Renewable Energy Group (REG).

Jon Scharingson with REG gave an overview about the potential for biodiesel during the National Biodiesel Conference this week. “We’re pretty optimistic about the development of the biodiesel market in the US for 2009,” Jon says. “We think about 300 million gallons were consumed in the U.S. in 2008 and we expect that to double in 2009.”

He says a couple of factors will drive that growth, including the Renewable Fuels Standard and the Obama administration.

Listen to an interview with Jon here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Governing Board

NBB 09 BoardMembers of the National Biodiesel Board governing board were recognized during the final session of the biodiesel conference in San Francisco Wednesday for their support and leadership of the organization and the industry.

They include – from left to right – Chairman Ed Hegland, Vice-Chairman Gary Haer, Ed Ulch, Greg Anderson, Darryl Brinkmann, Greg Hopkins, Kris Kappenman, Denny Mauser, Doug Smith, Robert Stobaugh, Jeffrey Trucksess, and David Womack. Hopefully, I got them all right, but please correct me if I didn’t!

I had a chance to interview both the Chairman and Vice Chairman about their thoughts on the conference, the state of the industry and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for biodiesel.

I talked with Chairman Ed Hegland, who is a soybean grower from Minnesota who serves on his state’s Soybean Research and Promotion Council, during our Red and White cruise on the bay and we discussed a number of issues. Among them – the announcement at the conference about Volkswagen using biodiesel in 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Racing Series, how San Francisco is a leader in biodiesel use, and how the stars who support biodiesel use help the industry.

Listen to my interview with Ed Hegland here: [audio:]

Vice Chairman Gary Haer with Renewable Energy Group (REG) sees lots of opportunities for biodiesel in the future, especially in the area of feedstock development and increasing oil content from soybeans. He also talked about support for biodiesel in the new administration and what the biodiesel board is doing in terms of prioritizing programs for the future.

Listen to my interview with Gary Haer here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

More to Come

NBB 09 BridgeI have lots more interviews to post, but right now I have to head out to catch a plane back to the frigid Midwest – leaving my heart in beautiful San Francisco!

Until I can get more posts up, please enjoy the 455 photos in the album – that has been updated through the final general session.

Stay tuned – more to come from the 2009 National Biodiesel Conference!

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Inspiration and Pioneer Awards

NBB 09 AwardsTwo of the last awards to be presented at the National Biodiesel Conference Wednesday were given for Inspiration and industry Pioneer.

As the Inspiration award winners, Bryan Peterson and Pete Bethune shared their inspiring stories with the conference this morning. Fourteen years ago Bryan Peterson made his way around the world in a small boat powered by a little-known fuel at the time – biodiesel. He completed the 35,000 mile, 2 year trip in a boat called Sunrider. Peterson’s successful adventure generated some of the earliest news on biodiesel, and it paved the way for a world record last year. New Zealander Pete Bethune made headlines for breaking the world speed record for circumnavigating the globe in his Earthrace expedition in 60 days. Both men’s biodiesel message circumnavigated the globe with them.

Listen to an interview with Bryan and Pete here: [audio:]

In addition, the NBB presented the Pioneer Award – a special honor to an individual or group who has served the industry – to Kenlon Johannes, the first Executive Director of the National SoyDiesel Development Board, which later would become the NBB. Johannes, a soybean farmer when he represented the board, continues to promote biodiesel through the Kansas Soybean Commission.

Listen to an interview with Kenlon here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Rolling Stone Rocks for Biodiesel

NBB 09 Chuck LeavellA highlight of the last evening of the National Biodiesel Conference was an appearance by Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, sponsored by New Holland.

Chuck is not just an awesome keyboard player, he is also an avid environmentalist, a tree farmer and a proponent of biofuels. He also recently started the Mother Nature Network, which just launched last month and features environmental news and information “that makes sense.”

Chuck says it was a great pleasure to engage with people who are excited about the changes coming in energy usage. “I’m here to tip my hat to the biodiesel industry,” Chuck said.

Listen to an interview with Chuck here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Red and White and Green All Over

NBB 09 Red and WhiteFounded in 1892, the historic Red and White Fleet is legendary for its premiere San Francisco Cruises. Family owned, the Red and White Fleet is committed to environmental sustainability and community education – and to that end the cruises run on B20.

NBB 09 Red and WhiteThe fleet sponsored a trip for biodiesel board members and the media to tell how and why they chose to run their boats on biodiesel. Joe Burgard is vice president of operations for the Red and White Fleet. In this interview, he talks about why it is so important to them to make a difference by using this environmentally-friendly fuel.

Listen to Joe’s interview here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Many Shades of Green

NBB 09 Sustainability SessionBeing green for the biodiesel industry doesn’t just mean producing a renewable, alternative fuel. It means being green in many other ways as well.

For example, one of the presenters at the conference this year wasn’t actually on site here in San Francisco. North Dakota Governor John Hoeven presented his remarks via remote telecast through a technology called LifeSize, which the National Biodiesel Board is utilizing in its new Jefferson City, Missouri and Washington DC offices to help save travel costs, which ultimately reduces their environmental footprint. NBB Chairman Ed Hegland is shown here on stage talking with Governor Hoeven, who is also the chairman of the Governors Biofuels Coalition.

The new office in Missouri is green in many other ways, such as remodeling an old office building rather than bulldozing new property and using recycled material carpeting. And of course, the National Biodiesel Conference itself is once again this year committed to being green by recycling and using only biodegradable supplies and materials wherever possible.

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Indirect Land Use Challenge

NBB 09 O'ConnorLife cycle analyst Don O’Connor presented some of his assessments of indirect land use and how it could impact the biodiesel industry during Tuesday’s general session at the National Biodiesel Conference.

O’Conner says that life cycle assessment is a very challenging and complicated process. “The first thing that is important is that life cycle analysis needs to be relative,” O’Connor said. “The question for alternative fuels is should we be compared against the average of all petroleum or against the incremental or marginal supply of petroleum, and that is one of the issues that is not being properly addressed.”

Another big issue is transparency and a third issue he addressed was the priority of scientific approach. He believes that the bottom line is that there is lots of potential for increasing the amounts of soybeans or rapeseed being produced in the world on the same amount of land and the United States can be a leader for other nations to do so.

Listen to O’Connor’s presentation here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Sustainability Task Force Update

NBB 09 EmilyThis time last year, Emily Bockian Landsburg with Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel was just appointed as chairman of the newly-approved Sustainability Task Force for the biodiesel industry. There were no other members and just a vague idea of what they hoped to accomplish.

This year, Emily stood before the conference to provide an update on what the task force has accomplished in the past year – and it was pretty significant. The task force, which represents a cross-section of the industry, has held a conference call every Wednesday afternoon since they were assembled in April. “The task force undertook many initiatives,” said Emily. “We launched websites, started a coalition with strategic non-profits and academics, we created an on-line sustainability discussion group.”

The first order of business was a definition of sustainability, which Emily outlined as having three components – environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and quality of life – “this is sometimes called the triple bottom line,” she said. “People, Planet and Profit.”

Listen to Emily’s presentation here: [audio:]

2009 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album