2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo – Complete Official Blog Highlights

Posted on February 3rd, 2015

nbce_2015_266x200_01Below are complete highlights 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.

Top Ten Quotes from 2015 Conference

Here is the staff of the National Biodiesel Board. It was a rare moment to have them all together for a photo since they all have so many different duties during the annual conference. So as the conference came to a close here are this year’s top 10 overheard quotes:

10. “I’ve never heard of a farmer planting a roadside bomb by his field to defend his crops.” – David May, of the Iowa Department of Transportation, who spoke in a session where military veterans discussed personal connections between energy security and national security. May is a Biodiesel Ambassador.

9. “Folks in the heating oil industry are pushing hard and fast for Bioheat® fuel. You are changing that world.” – Tom Butcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory, has played an instrumental role in research leading to expected official performance specifications that approve 6-to-20 percent biodiesel blended into traditional heating oil. He made the comment as he accepted the NBB Innovation award.

Read the full article.

Biodiesel Ride & Drive

It was ride and drive time as new diesel vehicles were on display at this year’s conference.

National Biodiesel Conference attendees put some of the latest diesel vehicle models to the test on Wednesday January 21st during the 2015 Biodiesel Ride-and-Drive Event outside the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Read the full article.

Support National Biodiesel Foundation

Just like every year at the conference attendees had lots of opportunities to support the National Biodiesel Foundation. One of those ways is an auction with some very unique items to bid on. The auction is mostly open during the trade show and had a lot of traffic this year.

The Foundation works closely with the National Biodiesel Board to address national issues affecting us all – cleaner air, greater economic development for rural communities, and enhanced national security through energy independence.

Read the full article.

Making Green Even Greener

The 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.

Read the full article.

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

The 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.

Read the full article.

Leadership Discussion

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.

Read the full article.

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.

Farmer Bleeds John Deere Green and Loves Green Fuel Biodiesel

A 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.”

Read the full article.

Hino Hauls Biodiesel Feedstock…on Biodiesel!

Not 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.

Read the full article.

Ford Wants Biodiesel to Fuel Working Vehicles

Biodiesel 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.

Read the full article.

Volkswagen Aims to Offer Diesel Option in Every Model

The Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event at the conference gave attendees a chance to get a sneak peek at what the automakers will be offering in terms of what will be available in the near future, especially in terms of biodiesel compatibility. News from Volkswagen’s Stuart Johnson was certainly music to the ears of those attending.

“Our strategy for Volkswagen is to have a diesel engine in every single model we offer in North America,” Stuart said, pointing out that only one SUV, the Tiguan, doesn’t yet have a diesel option. And he says they also want to have diesel offerings for VW’s other brands, including luxury Audis and even Porsches. “These modern diesel engines are so refined that they fit in a luxury car very well.”

Read the full article.

Quality Brought Biodiesel Industry to Where It Is Today

It’s fuel quality that has brought the biodiesel industry to where it is today. And Scott Fenwick, the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director told attendees of the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event at the conference that the National Biodiesel Accreditation Program (NBAC), better known as BQ-9000, a cooperative and voluntary program for the accreditation of companies that produce, test, and supply biodiesel fuel, serves as a key link between the industry, the producers, the blenders, and marketers with the consumers.

“Up until today, we’ve had programs in place for producers, marketers, and independent labs doing that testing. Today, a new program for BQ-9000 retailers will be the last remaining cog to that continuum of fuel quality,” Scott said.

Read the full article.

Biodiesel & Vehicles Showcased at Conference

One of the highlights of this year’s conference, as it is every year, was the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event, where vehicle makers gave us a sneak peek at what’s coming from them that runs on biodiesel. Steve Howell, the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) senior technical advisor, said when the industry started more than 20 years ago, they had a very modest goal of producing 30 million gallons of biodiesel nationwide annually. Now, an average plant cranks out that much each. He credits working with partners in the automaking industry for the increase.

“We’ve done the work necessary to answer the questions that they have about biodiesel in the engines of vehicles,” he said. “Because if we answer their questions, we know we’ve answered customers’ questions.”

Steve said that close, working relationship is highlighted by the biodiesel industry’s constant outreach to the vehicle makers and the fuel industry to ask what can biodiesel do for them next, such as oxidation stability and metals content.

Read the full article.

Eye on Biodiesel Award – Pioneer

Last year the biodiesel industry lost a pioneer who has had a huge impact. He was honored with this year’s Eye on Biodiesel – Pioneer Award. On stage to honor him were several people for whom he had a very personal impact and accepting the award was his brother Scott Hanks.

Dallas Hanks.

The biodiesel industry lost a true pioneer with the passing of Utah State University’s Dr. Dallas Hanks last June when he succumbed to cancer. For those that knew him, Dallas was a brilliant scientist, educator, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and all around good person.

Read the full article.

Legislative Update and Panel Discussion

Conference attendees got a very good legislative update this morning from Anne Steckel, NBB, Vice President of Federal Affairs. Her session included a question and answer session with Byron Dorgan, a senior policy advisor, author, professor, and former Senator from North Dakota and Kenny Hulshof, Vice Chair for Public Policy at Polsinelli, and is a former Congressman from Missouri.

Anne told us that like last year, the two big battles will be for a strong RFS rule and for reinstatement of a longer-term tax incentive. She then shared the NBB plan for how to work on accomplishing victory this year.

Read the full article.

Former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

Former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt joined us during the conference today. Here he is pictured with a few members from the Missouri Soybean Association right after doing a ride & drive with some new biodiesel powered cars and trucks. Matt is now the President of the American Automotive Policy Council and lives in Virginia. By the way, he also has a small herd of beef cattle.

Matt took the stage today to deliver a powerful speech. Here are a few excerpts from it and you can listen to his full speech below.

“American ingenuity and perseverance are expanding energy supplies across the board – and biodiesel is no exception. Americans would much rather have American farmers working to fuel our transportation industry than foreign leaders who do not share our values or our commitment to free government.

“As both a former governor and a Naval officer I can tell you energy security remains among biofuels’ most important benefits.

“Sending billions of dollars every year to nations that do not share the interests of the United States is clearly not an ideal public policy.”

Read the full article.

NBB Chair Encourages Members

The Chair for the National Biodiesel Board is Steven Levy, Sprague Operating Resources. He took to the stage this morning in our general session to provide an inspiring message to members who have been facing some serious odds in the last couple years. But he told everyone about how important it is to keep trying in order to obtain success using a quote from Thomas Edison.

“Across the biodiesel industry, we’re not just trying to accomplish something – we are delivering. Part of the impetus for our success is the strength of our combined expertise and collaboration.

“Ultimately, Edison didn’t succeed alone. He pioneered the concept of a collaborative lab, drawing on the knowledge and talent of a diverse group of creative scientists and engineers.”

Read the full article.

First Day of Activities

The first day of activities are about to conclude here in Ft. Worth. Things got kicked off with a number of sessions on different topics before our general session featuring the speech from Joe Jobe. I have some additional items from today I’ll be posting as time allows and hope to have all coverage completed by the end of the week. From today this includes a leadership discussion with industry leaders and some special recognition for a very special person.

Read the full article.

Meet the Press with Joe Jobe

After this morning’s general session NBB CEO Joe Jobe met with the press. This gave reporters a chance to ask specific questions about not only his earlier speech but also more background and details on what is happening (or not happening) with the RFS and tax credits.

Listening in will give you a good sense for what kinds of questions reporters are asking.

Read the full article.

NBB CEO Fires Up Conference Attendees

Talking about how much the truth matters and calling once more for cooperation from the petroleum industry on the RFS, Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board, got attendees fired up this morning during his opening general session speech. He received a standing ovation at the end of the speech when he loudly proclaimed:

“2015 is the year we get back to the future of this program. Back to the future of this industry and this country. We are the ones on the right side of history, and we have a powerful force on our side. The truth. So rise up with me people. Rise up and tell our story. Rise up and take the RFS back in 2015.”

Only by diversifying the transportation fuels market and providing competition to crude oil can the U.S. truly achieve energy security, he explained.

Read the full article.

Starting Off the 2015 Conference

The 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is just kicking off in Ft. Worth, Tx. We’re at the Fort Worth Convention Center and our opening general session will take place this morning. Keep an eye here for information from the sessions as they take place over the next couple days.

Read the full article.

Leave a Reply