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Biodiesel Keeps Moving Forward Despite uncertainties 24  years ago, a trade associaƟon was created for a product  that didn’t exist. Today, the NaƟonal Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the industry it represents remain commiƩed to the cause – increasing producƟon, usage, and support of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Such was the message at the NaƟonal Biodiesel Conference and Expo held in mid-January in San Diego, California. “We’ve come far, but we’re sƟll big underdogs,” declared NBB Chief ExecuƟve Officer Donnell Rehagen as he kicked off the three-day event. NBB was formed in 1992 as a research organizaƟon to determine if biodiesel could be made from soybean oil, Rehagen explained to the 850 aƩendees. The organization spent several years funding and overseeing research at the University of Missouri to determine the viability of turning soybean oil into fuel. Early pioneers like Ag Processing Inc., Renewable Energy Group, and others invested in some of the first biodiesel plants in the late 1990s. “The industry started to really grow aŌer the passage of the biodiesel tax credit in 2004,” Rehagen stated, sharing stories of biodiesel producers who built faciliƟes in rural communiƟes across the country and lent their voices and advocacy in federal and state government policy. “In less than a decade, we went from just a few major producers to 89 NBB member producƟon faciliƟes across the country and a mandate for billions of gallons of producƟon,” NBB Chairman Kent Englebrecht, Archer Daniels Midland Company, told aƩendees. “But we were not always victorious.” He shared the challenges NBB and member companies have continually battled through – recession, expiration and reinstatement of tax credits mulƟple Ɵmes, and lenders who didn’t understand the industry. “It’s important to remember that even through the worst of Ɵmes, even when we were pushed down, we’ve managed to rebound and conƟnue on a path of growth,” Englebrecht said. Today, biodiesel and renewable diesel producƟon supports 47,400 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages in the United States (US). The industry’s total economic impact is $8.4 billion across many sectors, which could escalate to $14.7 billion and 81,600 US jobs if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligated volumes for biomass-based diesel increased to 2.5 billion gallons per year, according to NBB. Rehagen announced that the associaƟon is expanding its staff in Washington, DC, with the addiƟon of another lobbyist and an advocacy director for outreach to naƟonal and state By Tina Caparella elected officials. NBB state legislaƟve efforts currently account for one billion gallons of incenƟvized demand for biodiesel in the United States. “It’s certain that these are uncertain Ɵmes,” Rehagen commented. “But as Albert Einstein said, ‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.’ And there’s no quesƟon that NBB is moving forward to fuel the future.” Anne Steckel, NBB Federal Affairs, shared the industry’s success stories in Washington, DC, over the past year, including a 280,000-gallon increase in the RFS advanced biofuel volumes aŌer a record number of senators signed on to the NBB’s leƩer supporƟng stronger growth. She said despite the “noise” in the US Capitol and the expiraƟon of the tax credit, “We’ve been here before…and we prevailed. “While I am proud of our conƟnued efforts, we can’t let up,” Steckel conƟnued, highlighƟng three important things the industry and NBB must do in order to be successful in 2017. First, key messages must conƟnue to be heard and understood by policymakers, such as the 47,000 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages the biodiesel/renewable diesel industry supports; that a producer’s tax credit would be a powerful economic sƟmulant by creaƟng thousands of addiƟonal jobs and billions of dollars in economic acƟvity; and that biodiesel and renewable diesel are key to diversified fuel opƟons that increase America’s energy security. Second, support of the NBB PoliƟcal AcƟon CommiƩee allows aƩendance at events with members of Congress to discuss the benefits of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Third, NBB and the industry must conƟnue to be highly engaged poliƟcally with allies on Capitol Hill and those inside President Donald Trump’s administraƟon. “By conƟnuing to stay unified, we can conƟnue to be a posiƟve and effecƟve force,” Steckel concluded. John Schwegman, director of commercial and medium duty product for General Motors, took the stage at the opening session to announce the automaker is expanding its support of B20 (20 percent biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel) to its enƟre line of diesel vehicles. With eight new diesel vehicle opƟons hiƫng the market in 2017-2018, General Motors now offers a full line of 20 different diesel models, from passenger cars, pickups, and sport uƟlity vehicles, to commercial vans and low cab forward trucks – all of which are approved for use with B20. 10 February 2017 Render www.rendermagazine.com


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