Biodiesel Conference Blog

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Ride & Drive on Biodiesel

Ride and DriveThe NBB featured a “Ride-and-drive” session this morning, where people could get a chance to get behind the wheel see how biodiesel performs in real vehicles… a Dodge pickup truck, a Jeep Cherokee, and a Volkswagen TDI. This is the first year the Ride-and-drive event was opened to the public in an effort to show people that biodiesel needs no fancy conversions because every vehicle that runs on regular diesel will also run on biodiesel.

A press conference kicked off the event with remarks from Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, NBB Chairman and western Minnesota farmer Ed Hegland, John Kellog with World Energy, and country music star Michael Peterson.

Ride and DriveCrotty says the Central Florida continues to be a leader in biodiesel promotion. He says since 2006, the county has replaced 180,000 gallons of petroleum diesel fuel (which the county’s fleet consumes at a rate of 700,000 gallons a year) with cleaner burning biodiesel. Crotty says they will phase biodiesel into 630 more vehicles over the next two years. He points out that the area’s theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, are turning four million gallons of yellow grease into biodiesel.

Ride and DriveHegland told those gathered that biodiesel is a cleaner and quieter alternative to its petroleum counterpart. He says biodiesel producers are facing the challenges of staying profitable even as conventional feedstock prices, such as soybeans, continue to skyrocket. Hegland says producers are finding new feedstocks that will help the industry remain competitive. He also taking a careful look at another vehicle at the show, the TOMCAR, an ATV that runs on biodiesel. Hegland says there are plenty of uses for something like that on his western Minnesota farm (which he points out right now is about 100 degrees colder than sun-drenched Orlando!).

Kellog says biodiesel is becoming more and more accepted, and its use will only expand to more and more vehicles. He points out that a public ride-and-drive event such as this one shows the general public just how easy it is to use biodiesel.

Peterson says that the development of biodiesel not only helps farmers and the environment in this country and around the world, it also gives our generation the best chance to educate youth in the math and sciences it will take to keep biodiesel innovations going. He adds that it’s just a matter of changing your viewpoint. “When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.”

Afterward, the four got behind the wheels of the vehicles and took them around the block.

You can hear the whole press conference here: [audio:]

Link to the “Ride-and-drive” press release here.

See more pictures from the Ride and Drive press conference on theFlicker Photo Album from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Daryl Hannah Makes Appearance

NBB conference 08Green actress and “sustainable summiteer” Daryl Hannah has been a part of every National Biodiesel Conference since the beginning and this year was no different.

“We need to educate ourselves in sustainable feedstocks, production and distribution models,” said Daryl. “We need to take the lead and rebuild the faith and the promise of biodiesel. We need to support the still endangered smaller scale family farmers that are the heart of America, show that garbage can be turned into gold and that we can create a homegrown fuel that reduces emissions and helps preserve the health of future generations.”

Listen to Daryl’s remarks here: [audio:]

Check out the Flicker Photo Album of images from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Leadership Conversation

NBB conference 08The leadership of the biodiesel industry sat down on stage for a “truck stop” conversation.

NBB Chairman Ed Hegland conducted the meeting with Vice Chairman Gary Haer of REG, Inc., Emily Bockian Landsburg of Philadelphia FryoDiesel who is chair of the newly formed Sustainability Task Force, and NBB Secretary Graham Noyes of Imperium Renewables.

The conversation runs a little long but you can listen in on the whole thing here: [audio:]

Check out the Flicker Photo Album of images from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Opening General Session

NBB conference 08National Biodiesel Board Executive Director Joe Jobe got the first general session underway this morning with condolences to New England Patriot fans. Being a Giants fan himself, Jobe was doing the happy dance for his team!

NBB conference 08New feedstocks for biodiesel is really the main focus of this year’s convention, with the theme “Navigating a Changing Landscape.” To emphasize the opportunities, Jobe unvelied a Mercedes Benz C320 that runs on algae-based biodiesel developed by Solazyme. Solazyme hopes to begin mass-producing Soladiesel at a competitive price within three years.

You can listen to Joe’s opening remarks here: [audio:]

Check out the Flicker Photo Album of images from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Foundation Raises Money for Research

Signing of footballs and helmetsOne of the things going on at last night’s Super Bowl party was the National Biodiesel Foundation raising money for research, especially in issues such as feedstock development and climate change.

In charge of that fundraising effort is the NBB’s Tom Verry. We chatted a bit about how the foundation would use the money raised from the donations for autographed footballs and helmets by NFL Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood.

Tom on stageTom told me the foundation is planning on taking the money raised to leverage funds, including state and federal dollars, so that education and research can be continued for the biodiesel industry. He believes that with the right know-how the biodiesel industry can solve some of the issues facing it today, including finding feedstocks (50 cents a pound for soybeans is a killer for too many producers) that will help keep it profitable.

While taking on the issues of feedstocks and climate change seem daunting, Tom feels confident they can meet the challenge.

You can hear my interview with Tom here: [audio:]

Going Nose-to-Nose with Jack Youngblood

Super Bowl PartyWhat a game was last night’s Super Bowl! It was an exciting, hard-fought game that went back and forth, and it came down to heroics from both teams on both sides of the ball. One of the best parts was being able to enjoy the game with a crowd of great biodiesel folks with a great spread thanks to party sponsors Biofuels Automation, Core Ventures Renewable Fuels, Croplan Genetics, NewMech Companies, Inc. and SSOE, Inc.

Jack & JohnProbably the biggest thrill from the whole night was my chance to spend a few minutes, one-on-one with NFL Hall of Famer, Jack Youngblood. Jack, of course, played 14 years in NFL for the old Los Angeles Rams. He was signing footballs and helmets to raise money for the National Biodiesel Foundation. We talked a bit about how he thought biodiesel was truly the wave of the future and how we had to be stopped being held hostage at the gas pump.

We also got the chance to talk a little football. Jack was known as one of the toughest to ever play the game… even playing in the Super Bowl with a broken leg! Just one look in those sparkling steel blue eyes, and you know his spirit would love to suit up one more time… but, of course, the body just can’t do that anymore (although, he still looks tough enough that ANYONE would have second thoughts about crossing him).

You can hear my interview with Jack here: [audio:]

Hard Rocking Super Bowl Party

NBB conference 08It has become a tradition for the National Biodiesel Conference to really kick off each year with a Super Bowl Party.

This year’s event was held at the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios and the place was packed with green biodiesel backers rooting for teams in red, white and blue. One of the highlights of the evening was a special appearance by Football Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood, who helped to support the National Biodiesel Foundation by autographing footballs and other memorabilia during the party.

NBB conference 08It was great to hear that Jack is a native Floridian and a University of Florida Gator, which is the alma mater of both me and my husband Chuck, who has been the conference blogger for the past two years. Unfortunately, this year the conference overlaps with the National Cattlemen’s conference in Reno – so Chuck is attending that meeting while I am the designated conference blogger this year, with the able help of Domestic Fuel biodiesel expert John Davis.

Meeting Jack Youngblood was a special thrill for sports fan John who got to interview him and will be posting that later.

Be sure to check out the Flicker Photo Album of images from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Green Fuel, Green Conference

NBB conference 08It’s easy being green at Gaylord Palms is the sign that greets guests arriving for the National Biodiesel Conference in Orlando and even Kermit the Frog would agree.

NBB conference 08NBB has retained the services of The Spitfire Agency to ensure that the conference generates as little waste as possible. Greening efforts include waste reclamation, digital marketing as opposed to print or direct mail, tree-free printing, energy offsetting, and donating leftover food to local food banks.

NBB conference 08The Gaylord Palms and guests are cooperating in the effort by avoiding water waste by only washing towels and be linens when needed, not replacing soaps or shampoos unless empty, keeping room lights off and curtains drawn when rooms are empty to conserve energy and having recycling containers throughout the hotel.

The hotel is a gloriously green venue for the conference, featuring a spacious atrium filled with palms, waterfalls and even wildlife including gators and turtles.

Be sure to check out the Flicker Photo Album of images from the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference by clicking here.

Interview with NBB Chairman

Ed HeglandJust after we flew into the sun and warmth of a beautiful Central Florida day, Cindy was off to track down Ed Hegland, chairman of the National Biodiedsel Board. She caught up with Ed at a session on sustainable biodiesel production where a new sustainability task force was announced.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Ed: [audio:]

We’ll be here through almost all of the conference, keeping you up to date on everything going on.

Right now, we’re running out the door to join a Super Bowl Party sponsored by Biofuels Automation, Core Ventures Renewable Fuels, Croplan Genetics, NewMech Companies, inc. and SSOE, inc. Check back for photos and hopefully an interview with NFL Hall-of-Famer Jack Youngblood.

Conference is Underway

NBB conference 08The 2008 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is officially underway in Orlando at the beautiful Gaylord Palms resort. Registration actually got started Saturday with early birds participating in the 2008 Golf Tournament sponsored by BASF.

NBB conference 08Pre-conference sessions were held Sunday afternoon on Train the Trainer/Biodiesel 101, Biodiesel Plant Feasibility and benefits of NBB membership.

Also on Sunday was the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit, where NBB Executive Director Joe Jobe and Chairman Ed Hegland spoke to the enthusiastic group during lunch.

Getting lots of photos around the resort and convention center which will be loaded into a Flicker photo album later. Stay tuned for lots more!

Do You Know This Man?

johndavispic.jpgWell, if you don’t, you will by the end of the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida next week. I’ll be there with Cindy Zimmerman covering the event for and posting on the conference blog as well.biodieselconference.gif

One of the items I hope to see (and bring to you) is a press event that will highlight the use of biodiesel by some of Florida’s biggest fleets, such as NASA and Universal studios:

WHAT: A press event announcing expanded usage of biodiesel in Florida, including some leaders of the local tourism industry. You will meet the innovators and hear news on biodiesel honors and usage from Florida fleets including NASA, Universal Studios and Florida Power & Light. These fleets are using biodiesel blends and leading the way to protect Florida’s delicate ecosystem by reducing their carbon footprint. Vehicles from these biodiesel users will be on display outside at the Gaylord Palms Resort Convention Center Main Entrance and Parking Area.

At the press conference, Universal Studios will announce the expansion of biodiesel to marine crafts.

The press conference will start 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, February 5th in the Miami 2 Room at the Gaylord Palms Resort. Hope to see you there!


NBB conference 08

Ready To Rock In Orlando?

2008 National Biodiesel ConferenceIt’s time to look ahead once again to the next National Biodiesel Conference. Orlando sure sounds good in the winter.

Once again you’ll find all the sights and sounds of the greatest show in the industry right here on the Conference Blog. We’re looking forward to it.

If you haven’t registered then “git er done.”