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Biodiesel Bulletin
The Biodiesel Bulletin is published monthly by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).




August 1, 2018  

Biodiesel Industry Calls on EPA to Raise RFS Volumes

It’s Time to Choose Biodiesel

Incredible Adventures Keeps Fleets Green

Biodiesel Runs Green with Recycled Cooking Oil

NBB Challenges EPA on 2018 RFS Volumes, Small Refinery Exemptions

Arizona Sets New Biodiesel Use Record

Sorghum Oil Approved as Biodiesel Pathway Expands Feedstock Options

 
Biodiesel Industry Calls on EPA to Raise RFS Volumes

Last month, executives from the National Biodiesel Board and its member companies testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Public Hearing for Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020. NBB and its members asked the EPA to set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, based on the agency’s own analysis in the proposed rule showing that volume is achievable next year.

Donnell Rehagen, CEO of NBB, testified, “To provide the certainty that the biodiesel industry needs, EPA should raise the 2020 volume for biomass-based diesel to at least 2.8 billion gallons. That number better aligns with the goals that Congress set for the RFS program. And it will better fulfill the promise of the RFS program.”

Biodiesel industry leaders also testified that the agency must reduce the uncertainty it has caused by issuing retroactive small refiner hardship exemptions. EPA has estimated that the small refinery hardship exemptions it retroactively granted to refiners reduced the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs. NBB estimates the 2016 and 2017 exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons.

Tom Brooks, General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel and chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, noted that the 300 million gallon loss of biodiesel demand happens to equal Iowa’s 2017 total production almost exactly. “The impact of these exemptions is like wiping out a year’s worth of production in the nation’s top biodiesel-producing state.”

Kent Engelbrecht, Biodiesel Trade Manager at Archer Daniels Midland and NBB Board Chairman, stated, “There are many positive elements in this proposal for which we applaud EPA. But these are rendered meaningless unless EPA accounts for waived gallons to make sure the RVO’s are real numbers.”

Across the industry, passionate biodiesel supporters are making their voices heard, and will not stop until these issues are corrected.
 

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It’s Time to Choose Biodiesel

There has never been a better time to choose biodiesel than now. Biodiesel is enjoying a resurgence from its early years thanks to industry quality standards, competitive pricing, and substantial environmental benefits, according to a recent article in Equipment World magazine.

“I’ve been in biodiesel since 2007, and we’ve seen exponential growth,” says Jon Scharingson, executive director of sales and marketing at REG (Renewable Energy Group) in the article. “It’s a mainstream fuel at this point and no longer a niche.”

Each of these contributing factors builds upon biodiesel’s long list of benefits. ASTM quality standards help biodiesel blends perform as well as, or better than petroleum diesel. Increased lubricity, higher cetane, and a higher flashpoint make it an ideal fuel in today’s modern diesel engines and legacy vehicles alike.

The article points out that one of the biggest reasons biodiesel continues to grow is its positive environmental impact. Government and corporate fleets that want to practice environmental consciousness can easily choose biodiesel. Compared to petroleum diesel, biodiesel substantially reduces particulate matter, total hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and more. Additionally, biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable.

As the list of benefits continues to grow, biodiesel is a clear choice for fleets and other users alike. Since biodiesel can be used in any existing diesel engine, companies are continuing to take advantage of America’s Advanced Biofuel every day throughout the nation.
 

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Incredible Adventures Keeps Fleets Green

California adventure travel company, Incredible Adventures, is no stranger to the increased emissions that summer tourism brings across the state. In the midst of their busiest time of the year, Incredible Adventures has announced plans to combat these emissions by using Ultra Clean Diesel from Renewable Energy Group.

“We are minimizing the environmental impact of our business on the destinations we visit by utilizing REG Ultra Clean Diesel,” said Brian Deninger, president of Incredible Adventures. “Using biofuels is a strong contributing factor to ensuring these magnificent areas continue to thrive for future generations to enjoy.”

Incredible Adventures became the first private fleet in the U.S. to convert its entire fleet to nonpetroleum fuel in 2003. The decision was based on the company’s commitment to maintaining the wild lands and National Parks of California and the rest of the world. The company has been using biodiesel blends and will introduce REG’s new fuel into its fleet of 13 to 20 passenger mini-coaches.

“We are excited to work with Incredible Adventures,” said Gary Haer, vice president of sales and marketing for REG. “Providing REG Ultra Clean Diesel to fleets will go a long way to improving air quality and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ultra Clean Diesel is a fuel made from blends of renewable diesel and biodiesel, approved by the California Air Resources Board for year-round use in California. Blending clean burning biodiesel with renewable diesel instead of petroleum allows for even more carbon reduction while maintaining all the benefits that biodiesel provides.
 

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Biodiesel Runs Green with Recycled Cooking Oil

When the average American eats a fast food burger and fries, they may be contributing to one of biodiesel’s greenest feedstocks. Recycled cooking oil is a popular feedstock for biodiesel that takes leftover restaurant grease and transforms it into America’s Advanced Biofuel.

A typical busy restaurant might use ten or more gallons of oil to operate a deep fryer. Yet, after only a few batches of chicken, fries, fish, or hush puppies, the grease must be replaced. In the past, these frying oils were simply thrown away, but with the growing popularity of biodiesel, a great deal of this “waste” is collected and transformed into fuel.

Biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil has even been featured in the Discovery channel documentary Hot Grease. The documentary, now available on iTunes and DiscoveryGo, showcases how this recycled oil has made an impact in the biodiesel industry by providing jobs and an abundant resource for producers.

Through biodiesel, what once was simply discarded can now be productively reused. The same recycled cooking oil now powers diesel engines in a sustainable way, producing less harmful greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum. One of these harmful emissions is carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that creates smog, which is linked to many health problems. By reducing the amount of emissions, biodiesel is providing health benefits on the road, especially in big cities.

These factors all mean that recycling used cooking oil into biodiesel keeps waste out of our nation’s landfills and sewers, protects the environment with cleaner air, and helps to keep America healthier.
 

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NBB Challenges EPA on 2018 RFS Volumes, Small Refinery Exemptions

The National Biodiesel Board recently filed an opening brief in a lawsuit objecting to EPA’s methodology for establishing the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards, calling for higher volumes of advanced biofuels like biodiesel, and highlighting other concerns.

 “EPA unlawfully has failed to account for all small-refinery exemptions it awards, violating its duty to promulgate percentage standards that ‘ensure’ all aggregate volumes are met. Unaccounted for small-refinery exemptions reduce aggregate volumes, and EPA’s approach creates a new, de facto waiver authority contrary to Congress’s design. Despite knowing those consequences, EPA declines to adjust percentage standards to account for that shortfall, either before it is likely to happen or after it actually does.”

NBB specifically disputes three issues with EPA’s final RFS rule for 2018, arguing:

  • EPA must account for all small refinery exemptions in the annual percentage standard;
  • the agency acted arbitrarily when it set the 2018 advanced biofuel volume below what it found to be “reasonably attainable;” and
  • the agency set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on impermissible considerations.

NBB’s brief is the first the courts will consider in arguing that EPA must account for all small refinery “hardship” exemptions – including retroactively granted exemptions – when it sets the annual RFS volumes and Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).

EPA disclosed that it recently retroactively granted 48 small refinery hardship exemptions, which NBB estimates reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons. Every 100 million gallons of increased biodiesel production supports some 3,200 jobs. The small refinery hardship exemptions could put hundreds of new jobs at risk.
 

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Arizona Sets New Biodiesel Use Record

The state of Arizona recently reported a new sales record of 45 million gallons of B99 biodiesel across the state. Through the Greater Phoenix, Central, and Northern Arizona regions, biodiesel is becoming the fuel of choice for many diesel users.

While biodiesel’s story is well known across the Midwest and along the coast, Arizona has been steadily using more and more of America’s Advanced Biofuel. This achievement is just another milestone in their increased use of renewable fuels.

“Valley of the Sun Clean Cities put the legislation for biodiesel sale to the public through both houses of State Legislature, and to the Governor,” said Bill Sheaffer, Executive Director for Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition. “We couldn’t be happier with the results!”

Arizona is well known for their use of natural gas, as well as their growing all electric Sky Train and Light Rail system. However, this success shows that there is clearly a growing desire for clean burning biodiesel.

This accomplishment is even more impressive considering that Arizona ships in almost all of the B100 biodiesel they use from other states. Sheaffer says that the overwhelming volume of biodiesel is sold in low blends to major truck stops across the state to reduce emissions and to act as a lubricity additive. This means that Arizona’s public is purchasing biodiesel in record numbers across the state due to its performance and environmental benefits.
 

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Sorghum Oil Approved as Biodiesel Pathway Expands Feedstock Options


The U.S. EPA published a notice qualifying sorghum oil as an eligible feedstock for the production of advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard. This adds another oil to biodiesel’s already diverse feedstock base.

According to the final notice, biodiesel and heating oil produced from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process will now meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction of 50 percent required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the RFS.

“Biodiesel has an impressive variety of feedstocks to choose from,” said Don Scott, director of sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. “With sorghum oil officially eligible, biodiesel is able to broaden its feedstock base once again. No matter what part of the country you are in, there is always an available option to create clean, renewable biodiesel.”

Among those present for the signing who made comments were Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust, American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall, and sorghum farmers Dan Atkisson of Kansas, Bobby Nedbalek of Texas, and Kody Carson of Texas.

The EPA first released its notice of proposed rulemaking related to fuel pathways using distillers sorghum oil as feedstock in late December. The rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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For the latest issue of Biodiesel Magazine click here.

 

  

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