Annual biodiesel conference examines past years and a look ahead for 2016
From those that grow soybeans to the individuals that market biodiesel, there was a place for everyone at the National Biodiesel Conference.
Farmers, distributors, transporters, technicians and marketers from across the United States joined together in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 25-28 for the annual conference and expo. Filled with educational speakers, networking opportunities and a chance to get questions answered, approximately 1,000 participants attended to learn more about America’s first advanced biofuel.
The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) sponsored numerous participants to attend the conference and see what soybean checkoff dollars are funding within the biodiesel industry.
“My hope is that the Minnesota attendees come away with a better understanding of the biodiesel industry,” said MSR&PC director Jim Willers. “It is important they see where biodiesel began and how it has evolved by using soybean checkoff dollars to fund research and education. This conference is also an opportunity for attendees to get their questions answered and network with others within the industry.”
Sessions and speakers varied to attract those in every sector of the industry. These included panels on the renewable fuel standard and current research, the role of biodiesel in carbon economics and climate change, market outlook, successes within the industry, biodiesel tax incentive and other topics.
One of the struggles that biodiesel is looking to overcome in 2016 is the negative publicity.
“2016 is the year biodiesel will change,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiessel Board (NBB).”We will prevail by telling the truth, staying true to our principles and standing by sound science. We are not only seeking a cleaner, cost-competitive alternative to fossil fuels but also reducing carbon emissions by at least 18.2 million metric tons and creating 62,000 jobs.”
Bob Inglis, former South Carolina congressman and Executive Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, agreed.
“Everyone in this room, whether a farmer or a marketer, shares the same vision,” Inglis said. “It is about creating a cleaner, brighter future.”
Attendees from Minnesota included: Jim Willers, MSR&PC director and chairman of the New Uses action team; Chris Hill, MSGA board member and vice-chair of New Uses action team; Craig Bangasser, MSR&PC secretary; Mark Brown, MSGA board member; Bill Zurn, MSGA board member; Jeremy Aakre, service technician; Pete Bartelt, fuel distributor; Lee Deblieck, service manager; AJ Duerr, biodiesel lobbyist; Kathy Goodyke, farmer; Dan Hennen, fuel distributor; Kevin Kiser, fuel distributor; Kurt Krueger, farmer; Darrin Tucker, diesel technician; Marla Verlinde, fuel distributor; and Ryan Verlinde, farmer.
Meg Corp, a Minnesota based fuel consulting company, was the trip coordinator.
Click here for more information on NBB and summaries from each conference speaker.
12 billion more cleaner miles annually with PACCAR announcement
During the conference, Jobe addressed the attendees by announcing that more than 10,000 trucks joined the renewable fuel family. PACCAR engines, new and old, will be using biodiesel blends. These trucks run 12 billion miles annually.
“We recognize PACCAR today for taking the initiative and endorsing B20 biodiesel blends in their trucks,” Jobe said.
Minnesota Soybean Growers Association director Chris Hill was interviewed by Brownfield Ag Network during the National Biodiesel Conference.
The Minnesota Soybean Growers would like to see the Biodiesel Tax Credit changed from a blender’s to a producer’s credit. Under current law, blenders of biodiesel can claim a one dollar per gallon credit against their U.S. federal tax liability.
“Anyone who blends a gallon of biodiesel can collect (the tax credit),” Hill said. “That includes gallons of biodiesel from overseas.”
He tells Brownfield switching to a producer credit would close an existing loophole to ensure the money is only given to U.S. producers.
President Obama’s two year extension of the Biodiesel Tax Credit ends after 2016 and Hill says the proposed change to a producer credit has gained momentum on the Senate side.
“Last year in the U.S. Senate it made it through some committees and got to the markup, so on the Senate side it’s possible. But we have to do our work on the House side.”