2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo – Official Blog Highlights from January 28

Posted on January 28th, 2015

nbce_2015_266x200_01Below are highlights from January 28 from the official blog of the 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

The end of 2014 delivered two powerful shocks to the transportation fuels sector. First, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to decrease production to offset reduced demand, leading to the lowest oil prices in years. Then, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would finish the year without setting annual federal renewable fuels volume requirements for gas and diesel distributors.

Those burning energy issues and more were hot topics at the annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo which took place January 19 – 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. This was the 12th straight year NBB produced the premier U.S. biodiesel event, which featured demonstrations and discussions among thousands of biodiesel producers, distributors, and enthusiasts.

Full coverage can be found on the official blog.

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Inspiration

There 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.

Read the full article.

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Innovation

It’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.

Read the full article.

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Influence

Another 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.

Read the full article.

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Sen. Al Franken

More 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.

Read the full article.

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