2013 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Highlights – Post-Conference

Posted on March 1st, 2013

nbce_2013_250x138Below are post-conference highlights from the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The theme of this year’s conference, MOMENTUM, is aptly chosen. At 1.1 billion gallons and climbing, biodiesel has become a true force in our nation’s fuel supply. In 2013, the National Biodiesel Board celebrate the 10th National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. This conference has grown from a small gathering at its first event in Palm Springs, California in 2004, to a powerful platform that drives biodiesel business all year long. It is attended by fuel producers, petroleum distributors, soybean growers and agricultural commodity organizations, scientists, policy makers, and alternative fuel users and enthusiasts.

Full coverage can be found on the Official Event Blog.

Clean Diesel Technology: A Winning Combination

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and one could write a book about the organization’s history and its incredible successes. But since I don’t have the space, I’ll let NBB CEO Joe Jobe do that on behalf of the industry. He opened this year’s conference with a look back on the last 20 years. Speaking of 20 years…

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come in 20 years,” said Steve Howell, NBB’s Technical Director during the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase. “Back when we started there was not one engine company that supported biodiesel. It just goes to show you that a lot of hard work, a lot of effort and a lot of cooperation between the engine companies, the petroleum companies, and the biodiesel companies got us to this place today.”

Read the full article.

2013: Most Exciting Year for Clean Diesel Vehicles Ever

A bumper crop of new clean diesel vehicles are beginning to arrive in dealerships across the country and with them a bushel more of fuel choices for consumers is coming to market. Much of this crop can run on biodiesel fuel blends ranging from B5 to B20.

The wide-range of diesel technology was showcased during the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Las Vegas and a major event during the expo was the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase. On hand to showcase their biodiesel friendly trucks, cars, buses and equipment were John Deere, Hino, Volkswagen, Ford, and Clark County School District.

Read the full article.

Slug Bug’s New Color is Green

One of the reasons more American drivers don’t travel the roads using biodiesel is because, well, there are not many options for passenger cars that run on diesel. But this is changing and one of the car companies leading the way is Volkswagen. It looks like the “Slug Bug’s” new color is green.

Scott Monet, with Findlay North Volkswagen, was on hand to showcase two of the seven light duty diesel vehicles heading to American shores that can run on biodiesel. The company offers the widest range of passenger diesel cars in the U.S. (there are diesel choices in Europe for cars like there are gasoline choices in the U.S. for cars). In 2013 VW is offering six TDI clean diesel models: VW Jetta TDI, Jetta SportWagen TDI, Passat TDI, Beetle TDI, Beetle Convertible TDI, and the VW Touareg TDI.

Read the full article.

Next Generation Scientists Display Innovative Research

During the National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo several Next Generation Scientists displayed their biodiesel research through “posters”. These budding scientists are smart, talented, creative and innovative. Did I mention they are innovative? These college students are conducting research that has never been done before and as it moves forward, should help improve biodiesel production. A bit of a plug – if you find the research interesting and of value to the industry, consider supporting the students’ continued work.

Here are several interviews with the Next Generation Scientists that discuss their research, why they became involved in the program, and advice for students who are still looking for their niche.

Read the full article.

Clemson’s Biodiesel Guru’s

If you have a passion for biosystems engineering and biodiesel then you should consider going to college at Clemson University (or transferring there for your advanced degree). Why? Because three of the coolest biodiesel researchers and innovators are currently working together to advance biodiesel. The biodiesel gurus are all members of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel (Seriously students, why haven’t you joined already?): Karthik Gopalakrish, David Thorton and Charles Griffin. These are three smart cookies.

In a nutshell, the team is researching carbon substrates and algae production to be used for biodiesel or other co-products such as animal feed, biochemicals, bioplastics, etc. In other words, they are looking at increasing lipids (more lipids mean more oil) using waste products from different biofuels industries. This poster looked at using ethanol waste, called xylol and biodiesel waste called glycerol. They have discovered some results that no other researchers have found and boy are they promising.

Read the full article.

Students Research Biodiesel from Lab to Dragster

What do Alex McCurdy, Michael Morgan and Robert Willis have in common? They all work in the same lab at Utah State University (USU) and are working on three integrated pieces of biodiesel research. They are members of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, and work in Lance Seefeldt’s lab, a professor in USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a principal faculty mentor on the interdisciplinary project.

Here are some fun facts: McCurdy, Morgan and Willis were all on the team that set a land speed record with a race car design all their own and it ran on 100 percent biodiesel developed by the team. The team is also perfecting the production of fuel using yeast and bacterial platforms and also developing fuel from cheese waste, carbon dioxide and the sun using microalgae platforms.

Read the full article.

Children Breathing Easier with Biodiesel Bus

You wouldn’t think so, but Nevada is one of the true pioneering states for biodiesel. Many years ago, before many knew about the benefits of biodiesel, Las Vegas began a citywide campaign to lower air emissions. The solution: biodiesel. One of the earliest adopters of biodiesel in the country was the Clark County School District who began using biodiesel in their school buses. One major benefit: the children who ride the buses are breathing easier because using biodiesel blends reduces harmful tailpipe emissions.

Jon Howard, with the Clark County School District, told the tale of the adoption of biodiesel and with its success, they are now using B20 in their buses. During the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase, held as part of the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference, he presented their new Thomas Built hybrid diesel school bus powered by B20.

Read the full article.

I’ll Take a Hino Truck Please

I’ll take a Hino truck please. During the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase held during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Glenn Ellis, Hino Trucks’ Vice President of Marketing and Dealer Operations presented a game changer: the 2013 Hino 195h hybrid truck. And its already making its mark in the medium duty truck segment. The truck runs on a hybrid system of electricity and B20.

Hino Truck is the fastest growing truck manufacturer in the U.S. and hearing Ellis discuss the company’s vehicle platform that includes biodiesel capability to run on higher biodiesel blends such as B20, it is no wonder why. And like most customers who try out biodiesel, Hino’s customers are so happy with their biodiesel products they are asking for more.

Read the full article.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Using Biodiesel

Nothing runs like a Deere. Especially a Deere running with biodiesel. John Deere demonstrated its vast array of diesel equipment able to run on biodiesel during the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase. Why Biodiesel? Well, in addition to security benefits for Americans, it also improves lubricity, reduces sulfur emissions, and reduces aromatics. Biodiesel has a high cetane content for faster ignition. These are just a few of the reasons that Don Borgman cites when telling attendees during the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase John Deere approves the use of biodiesel in all its equipment. Up to B20 blends can be used.

Here is something neat that John Deere does that I learned during Borgman’s presentation. When new equipment is ready to leave the factory, it’s filled with a biodiesel blend. Deere has coined this the “biodiesel factory fill.” Now if that doesn’t prove biodiesel is safe and beneficial to run in their equipment, nothing will.

Read the full article.

Ford Committed to Biodiesel

Ford Motor Company showed off its new 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty truck that can use up to B20 during the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase in Las Vegas. Part of the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference, the showcase featured consumer and fleet vehicles that can be powered by biodiesel.

During the event, Gerald Koss, Fleet Marketing and Product Strategy Manager unveiled the F-250, which has been America’s best selling truck for 35 straight years. He also announced that Ford’s new 2014 Ford Transit full size van will also be approved for use with B20 blends and will feature a B20 badge to promote the feature. This, he said, is part of the company’s commitment to providing reliable, alternative fueled vehicles for their customers.

Read the full article.

Soybean Farmers See Fruits of Labor in BioVegas

Ever wondered about the fruits of your labor? Soybean growers from around the country had the opportunity to see all the different products made from soybeans during the Farmers Las Vegas Tour (or should we say BioVegas tour) where they visited the Rebel Oil Fuel Terminal, the Biodiesel of Las Vegas plant, and the SYNLawn showroom, where where soybeans are used in the backings of carpets and artificial grass. The tour took place during the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Conference & Expo in Vegas.

While en route to the locations, I visited with two soybean farmers. Dan Brandt is with the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). He and his wife farm 650 acres, half soybeans and half corn near Yoda, MN. As co-chair of domestic marketing for MSGA he works closely with the National Biodiesel Board and the United Soybean Board to enhance and develop programs to increase the use of biodiesel and other products made from soybeans.

Read the full article.

Vilsack Awarded with National Energy Leadership Award

The National Biodiesel Board praised Sec. Vilsack as one of the strongest advocates for renewable fuels in the nation, and presented him with the National Energy Leadership Award during the final day of the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

“I’ve witnessed the beginning of a rural renaissance that is remarkable, and you, sir, have presided over it,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “You went to bat for us in the successful expansion of the RFS, and for an issue like ours to go all the way to the top is extraordinary. We can’t thank you enough for your leadership.”

Read the full article.

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