Biodiesel back in business in 2011
Industry set to make major comeback as demand builds for advanced biofuels
To say the biodiesel industry faced challenges during the last two years would be an understatement, but the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) CEO, Joe Jobe, says things are moving in the right direction. The uncertainty and instability the industry saw in 2010 is behind it, and 2011 holds a lot of promise for the industry as a whole. “The last two years were filled with confusion and frustration, but they were also a testament to our industry,” says Jobe, who has represented the biodiesel industry for the past 12 years as NBB’s CEO. “We stuck together and didn’t back down; we don’t give up in the biodiesel industry.”
According to Jobe, biodiesel is positioned to have its biggest production year ever. With elements like the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS-2) in place, the path leads to the opportunity for an effective and vigorous first year of implementation with more stability and predictability for industry stakeholders.
NBB, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and petroleum industry partners, held webinar training sessions and face-to-face meetings to help prepare the industry for the additional requirements. “With RFS-2 in place, we can’t assume that it’s just smooth sailing,” adds Jobe. “The industry still will see challenges, like fuel quality and Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) integrity, and we will need to address them, but in the last few years we’ve taken steps to prepare the industry for the coming changes.”
Even with the challenges anticipated, the biodiesel industry has great opportunities for the current year. The RFS-2 requires 800 million gallons of biomass-based diesel to be used in 2011, and the industry already has 111 plants registered with the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) for screening Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN), the government’s way of tracking renewable fuels. Those registered plants represent the combined production capacity for 2.2 billion gallons of biodiesel.
In addition, soybean checkoff-funded research helped biodiesel be deemed an “advanced biofuel,” setting it apart from other renewable fuels on the market. Biodiesel has been called “America’s advanced biofuel,” by the industry because it’s currently the only advanced biofuel commercially produced nationwide.
“It’s finally time for the biodiesel industry to play some offense,” says Jobe. “We have an extraordinary opportunity before us, and we need to deliver on our promises no matter what.” Aside from that offense, Jobe also recognizes that some defense will need to be played, especially when it comes to energy inflation. Unstable energy markets due to Middle East tension result in food price inflation, and Jobe recognizes attacks on renewable fuels, like biodiesel, are likely around the corner.
“We should expect new waves of misinformation campaigns about food and fuel, global hunger and even indirect land use,” adds Jobe. The biodiesel industry has found data that conclusively show that biodiesel production nets positive benefits to the food supply, the energy supply and carbon reduction efforts. Now, the NBB prepares to get that information out there. “We’re now in a position to tell our story and reshape and redefine our business,” remarks Jobe. “Regardless of previous circumstance, biodiesel is back in business for 2011 and the future.”