Biodiesel Conference Blog

See what's happening at the National Biodiesel Conference…

Wrapping Up The 2011 National Biodiesel Conference

The 2011 National Biodiesel Conference has been a great one according to everyone I have spoken with. To wrap things up I spoke with Donnell Rehagen, COO, National Biodiesel Board. He says that we had approximately 1,100 in attendance and it looked like business was getting done.

Yesterday NBB held its annual membership meeting and approved projects and a plan that will begin this fall. This gives the staff a “play book” to execute initiatives from market development to governmental affairs.

So let’s look forward to next year when the conference will take place in Orlando, FL!

You can listen to my interview with Donnell here: [audio:]

Don’t forget to check out our photo album. You’ll find over 400 photos taken throughout the conference. Feel free to click on them and download if you’d like to have or share one! Use the link below:

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Opening Speech Video And Auction Support

Just in case you missed the opening speech from Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board, I’ve now got it on YouTube for you.

In a couple of other updates:

The National Biodiesel Foundation raised almost $50,000 through an auction and additional fundraising activities during the National Biodiesel Conference. Funds will support biodiesel research and education activities

Also, Leon Akerly, American Biodiesel Energy, Inc. won the Camelback Ford iPod Nano giveaway and John Forrest, Gen-X Energy Group, Inc. won an iPod Nano from SGS Alternative Fuels.

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Our Blog Sponsor – New Holland

I want to say a big thanks to New Holland for their support of the Biodiesel Conference Blog and in particular Gene Hemphill, past Eye on Biodiesel Award winner. I spoke with Gene about New Holland’s support for the industry. He reminded me of a trip I took with him and NBB CEO Joe Jobe to Jay Leno’s Garage where we met Jay and learned about his support of biodiesel. It sounds like there might be some new developments with Jay and biodiesel brewing! Read more about New Holland and biodiesel on their biodiesel support website.

New Holland recognizes the importance of biodiesel as an alternative source of energy and the opportunities that it brings to our customers. We were the first agricultural equipment brand to fully embrace the potential of biodiesel. As the clean energy leader, we support our customer’s fuel choices, and that’s why we provide products with the flexibility to confidently run on everything from plain diesel to 100% biodiesel.

You can listen to my interview with Gene here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Legislative Outlook

Manning Feraci is the Vice President for Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. He took the stage during our last general session to talk about advancing to the next level of effectiveness in the capitol halls of America.

Some current resources regarding legislative issues are available on the NBB website:

* Renewable Fuel Standard – RFS-2 Action Center
* October 3, 2008 Tax Extender’s Package
* Tax Incentive
* Farm Bill
* Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs)

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

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

The Governing Board

The full governing board of the National Biodiesel Board took the stage today for a little recognition during our general session.

You can find a list of them on the NBB website.

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye On Biodiesel Awards

The “Eye on Biodiesel” Awards were presented today during our last general session at the conference. I’m going to list them with their comments from the stage starting with the Inspiration Award. Accepting was Nick Portonova.

Inspiration: Deer Valley Unified School District. This Arizona school district began its biodiesel program in 1999, long before the fuel was a known quantity. Now the district uses biodiesel blends from B5 to B50 in all 236 school buses. Transportation Director Nick Portonova says he routinely takes calls from across the nation, helping answer questions that other fleets have. Portonova added the biggest benefit of using biodiesel is the healthier choice they are making for their students.

Inspiration comments here: [audio:]

Our next award is the Innovation Award. Accepting was Frank Dela Vara, Director of Environmental Affairs, Disneyland Resort.

Innovation: Disneyland Resort. The resort is a national landmark whose effort to reduce emissions through biodiesel use displaces 200,000 gallons a year of petroleum diesel. Their innovative solution saved their iconic steam trains and is a shining example of biodiesel use.

Innovation comments here: [audio:]

Next up was the Influence Award. Accepting was Keith Kerman, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Influence: City of New York.
New York City Department of Sanitation, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. City of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed landmark air quality legislation that includes a provision requiring all heating oil sold within New York City to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel by October 1, 2012. By moving to environmentally-friendly Bioheat TM, the City will annually replace approximately 20 million gallons of petroleum-based heating fuel. The New York City Department of Sanitation uses biodiesel blends of B5-B20 in its 4,000 diesel vehicles, which include many large trucks and snow plows. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has operated its diverse fleet of vehicles as well as more than 130 buildings on B20-B100 blends since 2006. Because of these two departments’ commitment to cleaner fuels, New York City is the nation’s largest municipal user of biodiesel.

Influence comments here: [audio:]

Our next award was the Initiative Award. Accepting were the Grassroots Team Captains and Alicia Clancy-REG.

Initiative: NBB Grassroots Team Captains. The NBB grassroots initiative empowers biodiesel industry leaders and supporters to influence public discussion. NBB’s grassroots success has been heralded by Hill staff and trade groups alike. The successful program centers on team captains who carry out targeted objectives in their states. Since July 2009 the team captains have rallied contacts in key states to support a positive legislative framework for biodiesel. In just six weeks, NBB Grassroots Team Captains generated 8,000 comments on pending federal legislation. Their volunteer efforts have also led to countless earned media placements, successful site visits, and thousands of calls and letters to elected leaders. This group was critical in establishing the policy framework that exists today.

Initiative comments here: [audio:]

The Industry Partner Award was next. Accepting was Victor Bohuslavsky, Nebraska Soybean Board.

Industry Partnership: Nebraska Soybean Board. The Nebraska Soybean Board has been a leader among state soybean organizations in its support of biodiesel. Staff and farmer leaders regularly support and participate in critical biodiesel projects and events. For example, Nebraska recently hosted a delegation of oil heat leaders, a group that plans to blend 325 million gallons of biodiesel and wanted to see firsthand the source of the product. The Board also played a major role spearheading the largest proactive communications effort in industry history. They introduced new state soybean organizations to the biodiesel industry, and continue to support the industry through major investments in biodiesel projects.

Industry Partner comments here: [audio:]

Our final award was the Impact Award. Accepting was Adam J. Gryglak, Chief Engineer, Powertrain Engineering for Ford. I actually interviewed him so I’ll post that interview here for you.

Impact: Ford Motor Company. As a leader in the automotive industry, Ford Motor Company has again stepped to the forefront with its support for and promotion of biodiesel. Ford undertook the task of designing, engineering and manufacturing its entire lineup of all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with the specific goal of supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends for all its diesel customers, starting in 2011 and beyond. Ford’s investment into the intense research, development and testing efforts that led to that support are now signified by the silver B20 emblem that is proudly displayed on the side of every new Ford Super Duty diesel truck. Ford’s continued support has made a significant impact on the marketplace, instilling even greater consumer confidence in biodiesel.

You can listen to my interview with Adam here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Panel Discussion on Government Policy

During the second general session we heard about the role of government policy in advancing biodiesel from a panel of experts.

Participating on the panel were moderator Shelby Neal – National Biodiesel Board; Eric Bowen – Renewable Energy Group Inc./California Biodiesel Alliance Chairman; Ed Hegland – Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council/NBB Past Chairman; Steven Levy – Sprague Energy; Rebecca Richardson – MARC-IV and Ben Wootton – Keystone Biofuels, Inc.

You can listen to the panel discussion here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Chairman Gary Haer

The Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board is Gary Haer, REG. Before he took the stage I spoke with him and he says that everyone is upbeat here at the conference and excited about the prospects in 2011. He says the RFS provides a demand that biodiesel will fill as the only advanced biofuel. He also says that NBB will be working on getting the tax credit back since it complements the RFS.

You can listen to Gary’s stage remarks here: [audio:]

You can listen to my interview with Gary here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Educational Sessions

Educational sessions are an integral part of the National Biodiesel Conference. The sessions are broken up into different interest areas. As time allows I hope to feature a few interviews from these sessions.

Technical Track

The technical track is targeted primarily to engineers, chemists and other technical professionals. Sessions will cover subjects from a research perspective and will serve as the fundamental basis for the establishment of industry-wide priorities for biodiesel research in the future.

Regulatory Track

The policy track is focused on updating stakeholders on the latest state and federal regulatory developments, including outcomes of the energy bill, status of executive orders and other federal programs and state legislative developments. Individuals interested in gaining a better understanding of national and regional biodiesel markets, as well as policy and regulations, will benefit from the sessions in this track.

Marketing Track

The marketing track examines the various emerging market applications for biodiesel, including heating oil, marine, mines, co-product markets and more. Biodiesel producers/marketers and other service industry stakeholders, as well as those involved in those various market segments, will want to attend these sessions.

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

Inside the trade show during lunch you can find some very interesting biodiesel powered vehicles. The showcase session included comments from various auto company and vehicle representatives, some of whom are revealing their latest products here at the show.

The vehicles themselves will be on display throughout the show so if you haven’t stopped by take time to visit.

Pictured is Jennifer Weaver, NBB OEM Outreach and Education Program. I’ve got photos of the vehicles on display in the photo album in case you miss them.

You can listen to the full presentation from the vehicle showcase here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Conference Trade Show Gets Underway

The conference trade show kicked off at lunch here on day one with a big crowd. This year there’s a lot of optimism in the air and hopefully lots of business to be discussed!

We’ll be enjoying a Southwestern Fiesta Networking Reception in the trade show this evening. Besides all the educational sessions you’ll find here at the conference these networking opportunities are part of what make attending so valuable

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Be Skeptical of Pseudo Science

The keynote speaker at the opening general session this morning was Michael Shermer, Skeptic Magazine. It was important to hear how pseudo science can so easily affect public opinion. It was also entertaining to hear and see some of his examples.

After the session I spoke with Michael and asked him to summarize a key point he made in his comments about the danger of making governmental decisions that will profoundly impact our economy when it comes to things like climate change and carbon footprinting. He says that we can know that the Earth is getting warmer and that sea levels have risen but after that the data gets so fuzzy and the “error bars” get so wide it’s not practical to make political decisions. As he puts it, “It’s reasonable to be skeptical.”

You can listen to my interview with Michael here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Petroleum Industry Experts Panel

At this year’s conference we got a repeat of last year’s petroleum industry experts panel. Included are Ron Marr – Minnesota Soybean Processors; David Blatnik – Marathon Petroleum Company; John Cusick – Morgan Stanley Capital Group.; Bruce Heine – Magellan Midstream Partners; Jim Lelio – Kinder Morgan Pipeline Group and C. Mike Reed – NIC Holding Corp.

They discuss the industry in a very informative and entertaining way and you can enjoy listening to them here: [audio:]

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Opening General Session With Joe Jobe

Our opening general session is now taking place and NBB CEO Joe Jobe just left the stage. Joe gave us a rousing opening speech and I’ve recorded it for you so that you can listen or download below.

Joe says the conference will rock and he hopes that all the attendees will have opportunities to conduct some real business as we look at an optimistic year for the industry.

You can listen to and download (mp3) Joe’s opening remarks here: [audio:]

Don’t forget all the photos from the convention and I’ll add some from the opening general session as soon as I can. I’d also like to take this chance to thank our conference blog sponsor once again, New Holland. Thank you for your support!

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Photos From Conference

After the opening Super Bowl Party we had music on stage from Emily Richards and Jason Brock, long time attendees and performers.

Joining them were several members of the Biodiesel Jam Band. Here’s Emily with Scottie Nisula on guitar. We had a number of other folks join in on stage including NBB CEO Joe Jobe.

Here’s the group playing one of their numbers in a video clip:

I’ve now got a photo album started which I’ll be adding to during the convention. Our opening general session is about to start so I’ve got to get over there. I’ll be doing some posts afterward that will include audio from the session. Check back here often for updates.

2011 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Support The National Biodiesel Foundation

During the Super Bowl party you could support the National Biodiesel Foundation in several ways that included buying raffle tickets for a post-half time raffle. Also in progress is a silent auction for some very incredible items like an autographed album by the Beatles. If you’re at the conference the silent auction runs through Tuesday. Hint, hint.

I spoke about supporting the foundation with John Hiesdorffer, Iowa Soybean Association, pictured center. He describes the purpose of the foundation and how you can support it even if you’re not at the conference.

You can listen to my interview with John here: [audio:]

Conference Outlook

The 2011 National Biodiesel Conference is underway and the party has started. The Super Bowl Party that is. Before the game the CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, Joe Jobe, played meet the press in the media room. He’s seen here being interviewed.

I spoke with him to get an “advance” look at this year’s conference. Joe starts out by explaining what the ADVANCE theme means. He also says that there will be a good crowd of the right people who are here to get down to business at the beginning of what looks like a very promising year for the industry.

You can listen to my interview with Joe here: [audio:]

It’s Time For 2011 Conference

Hello biodiesel fans. It’s time for the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference to kick off and we’ll be doing that with a Super Bowl party once again. Over the coming days I’ll be posting photos and interviews so check the blog often to see if you see yourself!

We’ve got a number of resource links for you that include:

The weather has been tough on some parts of the country this past week but the forecast for Phoenix is sunshine and warm temperatures (relatively speaking). So think nice weather thoughts and travel safe. See you in Phoenix.

Conference invests in ‘next generation’ scientists

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo hosts some of the most prestigious biofuels scientists in the world. This year, the biodiesel industry is also investing in tomorrow’s scientists, helping to bring about 10 college students to the event, Feb. 6 – 9 in Phoenix.

Evan Le, a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada – Reno, was chosen by the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel to receive full-ride scholarship to the conference.

“As an aspiring Ph.D. student, this scholarship will be a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of biodiesel and enhance my skills, so that I can make a meaningful contribution to bioenergy research,” Le said.

Led by the National Biodiesel Board, the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel formed last year to demonstrate and grow support for biodiesel among tomorrow’s scientific leaders. Students from a wide variety of colleges and universities have signed a declaration of support for the fuel, which is America’s first and only commercially available advanced biofuel.

Le’s scholarship is supported by the United Soybean Board and the soybean checkoff. The Ohio Soybean Council has also provided a partial scholarship to Qingshi Tu, a University of Cincinnati Environmental Engineering student. The National Biodiesel Board has contributed partial scholarships to several other students, including the four co-chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel:?
Mikkel Leslie, Oregon State University (Environmental Engineering)
Lucas Ellis, Dartmouth (Biochemical Engineering)
Jason Strull, University of Nevada – Reno (Material Sciences and Chemical Engineering)
Bernardo del Campo, Iowa State University (Biorenewable Resources and Technologies)

“These students are the future scientists who will develop and improve energy solutions, and bringing them into the biodiesel community now is a small investment that could yield huge returns,” said Don Scott, NBB director of sustainability. “They have demonstrated such an inspiring commitment to biodiesel, which promises to be here for decades to come, and we look forward to working with them.”

The student scientists will meet with some of the leading biodiesel scientists while at the conference, including NBB technical director Steve Howell; Bob McCormick, principal engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Mike Haas of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Gina Clapper of the American Oil Chemists’ Society.

The Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel initiative is modeled after the Scientists for Biodiesel campaign. Launched in February 2009, 125 scientists have signed on to the declaration.

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:]