Biodiesel Conference Blog

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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

Beth Calabotta Receives Biodiesel Impact Award

nbb-16-calabottaBeth Calabotta, former Monsanto Director for Bioenergy and currently serving on the National Biodiesel Foundation, was honored during the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo with the “Eye on Biodiesel” Impact award for her tireless dedication to the advancement of biodiesel.

Beth’s experience in the field of agricultural yield technology and the markets that drive demand for protein give her a rare and valuable knowledge base that she has put 100 percent into her work to advance biodiesel. She has contributed greatly to the sustainability efforts at NBB and projects to analyze the real world indirect effects of biodiesel production. Beth’s knowledge and leadership was instrumental in improving the science used to quantify biodiesel’s growth potential and greenhouse gas benefits. She has also worked aggressively to pursue funding from industry as well as broadening the feedstock organizations that contribute to and benefit from the technical and education programs funded by the National Biodiesel Foundation.

Listen to her remarks on winning the Impact Award here: Beth Calabotta, Biodiesel Impact 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

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

Biodiesel’s Role in Food AND Fuel

Don Scott NBBThe myth that biofuels is a choice between food versus fuel is still perpetuated regardless of scientific data showing otherwise. The true fact about biofuels, including biodiesel, is that they produce food AND fuel. #Biodiesel’s role in both providing food and fuel, as well as in reducing carbon, were the topics of a presentation by Don Scott with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) during the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Scott began his presentation by stating three things:

  • Biodiesel complements the fuel supply.
  • Solar energy is abundant and efficient.
  • Mitigating climate change does not cost. It pays.

Biodiesel, said Scott, produces protein as a byproduct, an essential source of nutrition for humans. However, protein is expensive. But because biodiesel production only uses the oils (fat), protein is produced at a lower cost than average protein sources on the market.

Based on this fact, Scott had a motto, per se, during his presentation: “When we grow protein to feed the world, we naturally get more carbs, fat, and other fiber byproducts than we can eat.” Therefore, he said, it makes sense to use this excess fat to displace petroleum, and biodiesel is the best example of nature’s design for food and fuel. And an added bonus, while today biodiesel represents about 20 percent of the renewable fuel market, it provides 40 percent of the carbon reductions as a result of using these renewable fuels.

Learn more about biodiesel’s benefits by Listening to my interview with Don Scott: Don Scott Talks Food, Fuel and Carbon

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

Making Green Even Greener

Next Gen Scientists for BiodieselThe group of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel can get a little crazy at times. Like in this photo right after their conference luncheon. During their luncheon they heard from a number of professionals in the industry sharing words of wisdom. They were ready to get outside and pose for the camera!

One of those student scientists is Amber White who attends Loyola University. I spoke with her about some of the work she’s doing in the lab related to biodiesel. Right now that focus is on a sustainable treatment system for wash water which is a by-product of the biodiesel production process. Basically, making something green even greener! Amber says funding for her project has come through a large EPA grant to Loyola. Additionally, she was awarded a Fellowship from the EPA this last fall which includes two years of project funding. Way to go Amber.

Listen to my interview with Amber here: Interview with Amber White

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

Student Co-ChairsThe Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program continues to grow and there were 30 student scientists represented at this year’s conference. Here are the Co-Chairs of the program James Anderson, Southern Illinois University, a PhD student in Agricultural Science; Katie Heil, University of Colorado – Boulder, an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering; Mike Morgan, Utah State University, an undergraduate in Biochemistry and Dan Browne, a graduate research assistant in the Dept. of Biochemistry & Biophysics at Texas A&M University.

I asked them to each describe the type of work they’re doing related to biodiesel and then tell me what coming to the conference has meant to them.

Listen to this interview with the student co-chairs here: Next Generation Scientists

The scholarships were supported by the National Biodiesel Board through United Soybean Board funding and the South Carolina Soybean Board. The National Biodiesel Foundation also supported one scholarship through the Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund, in memory of the prominent feedstock researcher from Utah State University.

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Leadership Discussion

NBC LeadershipDuring this year’s conference featured a discussion with industry CEOs led by Joe Jobe. On the panel were Dan Oh, REG; Gene Gebolys, World Energy and Paul Soanes, Renewable Biofuels.

The conference has become very focused on the business of the industry and as you wander around the convention center you’ll see small groups of people having serious business discussions. This is one of the big benefits of attending and this panel was put together to allow everyone a chance to hear some insights from the top level executives at some of the companies that have survived and thrived even with a lot of the uncertainty that has plagued the industry.

Listen to the session here: Leadership Discussion

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Inspiration

nbc-15-andersonThere are many in the biodiesel industry who serve as inspirations, but maybe none as much as Greg Anderson with the Nebraska Soybean Board. The soybean farmer has been a long-time biodiesel advocate and has shown his full-time devotion to his fellow soybean farmers and the biodiesel industry in so many ways. Even after suffering a near-fatal accident involving a propane tank explosion on the family farm back in Nebraska this past August, he remained positive, grateful, and upbeat during his recovery from the painful injuries. And he reminded the group gathered for the Eye on Biodiesel Awards, of which he is the Inspiration winner, of just how safe biodiesel is.

“Biodiesel is the safest of all fuels to handle, transport and store. I’ll be towing biodiesel from now on,” he said with an inspirational smile and applause from the crowd.

Greg said while his recovery was painful, he was helped by all the support of so many people. He found himself thankful for not only his life but a full recovery. He likens his recovery to the recovery the biodiesel industry is having to face now. He also reminded the group not to forget what’s important in life.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what we accomplished or the material possessions that we have. But it’s truly about making others better, inspiring others, really giving back. And I’ve been blessed so much by you all.”

Listen to Greg’s inspiring remarks here: Greg Anderson

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Innovation

nbc-15-butcherIt’s many of the innovations that have helped grow biodiesel from what could be considered just a cottage industry not that long ago to the major fuel it is today. During the conference, Tom Butcher from Brookhaven National Laboratory was recognized for his contributions to the industry. He told the group that as a researcher, he has worked on a lot of different energy technologies and was impressed with biodiesel’s impact.

“The impact that it’s had on the Northeast, the impact on the heating oil industry across the country. This is an industry that because of biodiesel has been rejuvenated,” he said.

Tom played an instrumental role in the technical research that has been done over the last six years that formed the basis for the balloting of performance specifications for 6 percent to 20 percent biodiesel blended into traditional heating oil as a new fuel grade in the ASTM D396 fuel oil standard. His groundbreaking work documenting the positive field experience with biodiesel blends and providing the research background were major factors in addressing questions brought up by the NORA/NBB-lead Bioheat Technical Steering Committee.

He concluded saying he was lucky to be part of this group and is looking forward to the innovations of the future.

Listen to Tom’s remarks here: Tom Butcher

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Influence

nbc-15-schoenfeldAnother one of the Eye on Biodiesel Awards from this year’s conference recognizes a man who has been a great influence on the industry in his home state of Minnesota and across the country. Jerry Schoenfeld of Minneapolis-based Greater States Advisors was instrumental in the development, passage, and defense of landmark biodiesel legislation in Minnesota ever since soybean growers came to him in 2000.

He admits he didn’t know much about biodiesel back then, as there was just 2 million gallons produced nationwide each year – a dramatic difference from today’s 1.8 BILLION gallons annually. Jerry said he had to work with a state legislature that was split between Republicans and Democrats and an Independent governor. The nation’s first 2 percent biodiesel standard for all diesel was finally made into law and served as a blueprint for other states’ mandates.

“In many ways, that measure worked, along with many others in your respective states,” Jerry told the group. He added that working with the split legislature and governor’s office taught him important lessons in legislative matters. “If you work hard and you keep at it, you will succeed. And secondly, you can’t always assume who your friends and who your enemies are, because on any given day, different politicians will be both!”

Listen to Jerry’s remarks here: Jerry Schoenfeld

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Sen. Al Franken

nbc-15-frankenMore recognition from the conference’s the 2015 “Eye on Biodiesel” awards. Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota was honored with the Impact award for his work as a long-time champion for biodiesel in Washington, taking a particular leadership role last year in challenging the EPA’s initial proposal that would have weakened Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes.

Sen. Franken has helped organize his Senate colleagues in holding meetings on the issue with senior Administration leaders. He has coordinated advocacy letters from members of Congress. And he has spoken out publicly to highlight biodiesel’s benefits in Minnesota and across the country as he fought for a strong RFS. Additionally, Sen. Franken has been a consistent and vocal advocate for the biodiesel tax incentive. His advocacy and leadership have been instrumental in helping to develop a policy environment in which biodiesel can continue to grow.

In recorded remarks played for the crowd gathered at the conference, Franken thanked the group for the honor and reiterated his opposition to the Obama Administration’s proposal to cut biodiesel requirement under the RFS to 1.3 billion gallons annually.

“Our annual biodiesel production meets and even exceeds the expectations set in the [RFS]. Last year, you produced 1.8 billion gallons – each one of those gallons is helping improve our energy security and creating good jobs here at home,” said Franken, pointing out that he’s talked with anyone who would listen in the administration, including President Obama, telling them all how opposed he was to the proposal. “We need a strong RFS, not a weak one.”

Franken vows to keep fighting for the biodiesel industry, also working to reinstate the federal biodiesel tax credit.

“It doesn’t make sense for taxpayers to spend billions of dollars each year subsidizing Big Oil, while letting investments in clean, homegrown energy, like biodiesel, lapse.”

Listen to Franken’s remarks here: Sen. Al Franken

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Farmer Bleeds John Deere Green and Loves Green Fuel Biodiesel

nbc-15-greg-grevingA Nebraska farmer who proudly admits he bleeds John Deere green also admits a pretty high affection for the green fuel, biodiesel. Greg Greving, who farms in Central Nebraska and is a board member of the Nebraska Soybean Board, told attendees of the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event, that biodiesel is what powers his equipment.

“This fall, my two boys, two hired men and myself, harvested 11,000 acres in 56 days [all running on biodiesel], and the only time we shut down was when we were tired,” he said. “We have not had any trouble running biodiesel.”

But Greg was doing more than just bragging about his Deere equipment and biodiesel. He was invited to the showcase to show off his 1980 Oldsmobile 98 Regency with a 5.7 GM diesel engine, in which he also uses biodiesel. Whether it’s his car or the farm equipment he runs, fuel quality is of the utmost importance. That’s important to hear, as the National Biodiesel Board announced its new BQ-9000 Retailer Program to make sure consumers get the appropriate industry specifications when it finally goes into their fuel tanks.

You can hear to Greg’s remarks here: Greg Greving, Nebraska Soybean Board at Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Hino Hauls Biodiesel Feedstock … on Biodiesel!

nbc-15-spencer-nicolNot only does Hino want its trucks to haul the feedstocks that go into making biodiesel, but the big truck maker wants them to get there on biodiesel.

“Our 33,000-pound diesel truck can be used by you guys hauling bio stock, and you can run it on a B20 blend, anytime you want,” Spencer Nicol, Hino’s senior manager for strategic product applications, told attendees of the conference’s Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event, thanking the National Biodiesel Board folks who have helped bring Hino’s biodiesel-compatible trucks to Midwesterners’ attention.

Spencer also made sure to point out that Hino, a division of Toyota, builds many of its models in the U.S. at a plant in West Virginia and components in Arkansas.

During the Ride-and-Drive event at the conference, Hino was also able to show off its new 195h hybrid diesel medium duty truck.

You can hear to Spencer’s remarks here: Spencer Nicol, Hino, at Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Ford Wants Biodiesel to Fuel Working Vehicles

nbc-15-jon-colemanBiodiesel has long been a workhouse of the nation’s renewable fuel industry, and Ford Motor Company wants to make sure the green fuel is used in work vehicles that also get things done.

“When you think about those trucks, they might not be your daily driver, but you rely on those trucks every day. Those are the trucks that repair your roads. Those are the trucks that work on the oil and gas industry. Those are the trucks that repair your utility lines,” said Jon Coleman, Ford’s sustainabliity and technology manager, pointing out this his company has been working with biodiesel for 20 years to help people who keep America running. “The plumber, the florists, the bakers, and the guys who fix your air conditioning, they need to be able to use biodiesel, too. So we launched the new Transit [van] this year that [has options to run on seven different fuels], including biodiesel.”

Jon said Ford is all about choice, and he hopes workers will consider Ford options, especially those that run on biodiesel. He also told the audience that the new biodiesel-compaitible F-650s and 750s coming this summer will be built in the U.S., just like biodiesel, bringing jobs back to America.

You can hear to Jon’s remarks here: Jon Coleman, Ford, at Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album