(LAS VEGAS) – The U.S. biodiesel industry will reach a major milestone in Las Vegas this week when its national trade association celebrates their 20th anniversary. But the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo will offer more than a retrospective for thousands of producers and aficionados gathered at the Mirage Hotel Conference Center on Tuesday through Thursday; U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and local Nevadans will help launch a new era as America's advanced biofuel gains increasing momentum.
With the domestic industry producing more than a billion gallons of fuel each of the past two years, biodiesel is poised to begin a substantial ascent that will allow it to occupy a significant proportion of the diesel market in the next decade. And, according to the National Biodiesel Board, this major diversification of the transportation fuels sector is exactly what is needed to deliver on the green fuel’s promising role in U.S. energy independence.
“We are in the midst of a domestic oil boom,” said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. “And that’s good for American jobs and our trade balance. But isn't it interesting that all that increased domestic supply of petroleum, hasn't significantly eased fuel prices to the consumer, especially on the diesel fuel side, which moves the freight that drives the economy. That is because petroleum is not a regional commodity with regional pricing relationships. Petroleum prices are set globally by political factors in the most politically unstable region in the world and by nationalized oil companies of totalitarian regimes. This is primae facia evidence that simply drilling more domestic petroleum is not our answer for energy independence.”
The only way to protect fuel consumers and the US economy from these flagrant market distorting factors is to diversify our transportation fuel supply, Jobe said. And biodiesel production is rapidly ramping up to play a significant role in that diversification.
Since the turn of the century, the biodiesel industry has overcome many obstacles to become one of the best-tested fuels in history – the only alternative fuel to have successfully completed the EPA’s emissions and health effects testing – and the first commercially available advanced biofuel in the market. As result, NBB has seen its own membership soar, from only a few dozen 10 years ago to several hundred across the country today.
“As an industry, we are growing up now,” Jobe said. “And we’re looking forward to the growth, development and innovation that the coming decade will bring.”
Speakers at the conference include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and former U.S. Senator and recognized energy expert Byron Dorgan. And on Wednesday, local Las Vegas residents are invited to a free “public day” at the conference, where they can learn more about biodiesel and see some of the exciting new vehicles running on America’s advanced biofuel in the Mirage expo hall.
Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from sustainable resources such as soybean oil, recycled grease and other fats and oils. It is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel being produced on a commercial scale across the country. For more on the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, please visit http://www.biodieselconference.org/2013.