Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
15 Years of Dedicated Industry Coverage.
The World Over.
The global coronavirus pandemic of 2020 turned the world on its head. Jobless claims soared, shattering records. Stay-at-home orders devastated gasoline and ethanol demand. At one point in April 2020, crude oil was in such surplus and storage tankage at such a premium that West Texas Intermediate traded at roughly negative $38/bbl. Most energy markets were in turmoil, a downward death spiral.
But critical supply chains, which provide food and goods upon which people rely to survive these health and economic crises, persevered and remained quite strong. Powered by diesel engines known for their efficiency, power, endurance and longevity, the transportation of goods―the lifeblood of any economy―rolled on largely uninterrupted.
Enter climate change, the other invisible enemy and destructive force to which increasingly more people and governments across the world believe human actions have contributed, and therefore only human intervention can help mitigate. Evidenced by the growing number of carbon-reduction policies enacted by state, provincial and national governments and through international cooperative treaties throughout the world, the antiquated and shortsighted modus operandi of the 20th Century's energy and transport fuels sectors is simply unacceptable for the 21st Century. We as a species find ourselves at an existential crossroads.
Electrification is widely touted as "the future" of zero-emissions transportation, but significant problems and shortcomings exist with this narrative. These include the fallacy that electric vehicles are in fact "zero emissions," considering coal-fired power plants provided nearly 40 percent of global electricity in 2018. According to the EIA, more than 60 percent of U.S. electricity came from fossil fuels in 2019, including 38 percent from natural gas and 23 percent from coal. Only 17 percent of U.S. electricity in 2019 was derived from renewables. In addition, several crucial materials for battery manufacturing are rare, considered "conflict materials," and they are becoming increasingly difficult to harvest. Also, the heavy-duty sector―including the truck, rail, marine, mining, construction, forestry and other subsectors―and the aviation market are difficult or impossible to electrify. Any appreciable market penetration from electrification could be decades away.
Meanwhile, the climate-science community says time is running out to drastically cut carbon emissions and mitigate irreversible damage to our planet. Solutions to significantly reduce carbon output from the heavy-duty and aviation segments of the global economy are available today: fatty acid methyl esters ("biodiesel"), hydrotreated vegetable oils ("renewable diesel"), and biobased jet fuel ("sustainable aviation fuel" or SAF). Depending on the percentage of these fuels used in blends and the makeup of the biogenic materials or "feedstocks" leveraged to produce them, lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions of nearly 90 percent can be achieved.
It took the U.S. biodiesel industry nearly 20 years to achieve more than 1 billion gallons of annual production, enduring stiff opposition from petroleum lobbyists all along the way. Despite the oil industry having fought the federal Renewable Fuel Standard for more than a decade, the resolute policy has unwavered, and oil companies' obligations under the federal requirement remain. When this federal obligation is coupled with the various financial opportunities in more and more U.S. states and Canadian provinces putting a price on carbon and enacting low carbon fuel policies, the result is what we see today: A growing number of oil refiners are developing renewable diesel projects. This is not just the case in North America, but also in South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.
Companies such as Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, Valero, Sinclair, Neste, Eni, Total, Pertamina, Petrobras and many others are investing in large, standalone renewable diesel units at their refineries, or they are converting underperforming oil refineries to produce renewable diesel and SAF. In just a few short years, they will achieve production volumes it took the biodiesel industry decades to attain, and for which the biodiesel industry laid the groundwork.
The global diesel and jet fuel markets are hundreds of billions of gallons and, with the enactment of IMO 2020, it is growing. This is vast enough for biodiesel, renewable diesel and SAF to flourish, with each fuel satisfying particular markets and niches and, in some important contexts, benefiting and complementing each other and the environment.
This is the backdrop under which Biobased Diesel™ Daily was founded and exists:
To provide informed, relevant and immersive news, in-depth features and editorials on biobased diesel:
To be overtly inclusive enough to encompass all three major and expanding biobased diesel fuels―biodiesel, renewable diesel and SAF―while providing exclusivity with a focus unseen by any other publication to forgo coverage of renewable fuels deemed extraneous or tangential to the heavy-duty and aviation markets
To provide the highest journalistic integrity through a commitment to first-hand or primary-source information, never relying on news from second-hand sources as so many outlets in the biofuels space do today
And to give a low-investment, high-return opportunity for those who provide technology, equipment, goods and services to advertise their offerings to biobased diesel fuel manufacturers, fuel distributors, retailers, and fleet and individual users, among others.
About the Founder
Editor and Publisher
After nearly 16 years with BBI International, Ron Kotrba left his roles as editor in chief of Biodiesel Magazine and senior editor with Biomass Magazine to found RonKo Media Productions LLC and its flagship publication, Biobased Diesel™ Daily.
Kotrba was raised in Southeast Virginia and, at 17 years old, graduated high school in 1992 with an advanced studies diploma from the Virginia Beach Public Schools system. At age 17, Kotrba entered an autobody repair apprenticeship in Norfolk, Virginia, under the tutelage of James Gregg with Classic Coachworks Unlimited until 1994, when he enrolled in classes at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach.
After earning an associate's degree in general studies, graduating with cum laude distinction, Kotrba moved to Mid Michigan in 1996. In 1997, he was accepted as a junior at Michigan State University in East Lansing. While at university, Kotrba worked the overnight shift at a fueling station and convenience store in Owosso, Michigan, and wrote for a weekly newspaper in Shiawassee County, The Sunday Independent.
Graduating from MSU in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies, Kotrba went on to become an advanced engineering laboratory technician in the early 2000s for an OEM exhaust supplier, where he performed developmental, analytical work on diesel aftertreatment systems including diesel oxidation catalysts, diesel particulate filters, selective catalytic reduction systems and lean NOx traps. In late 2004, Kotrba moved to Northwest Minnesota, to where his ancestors emigrated from Bohemia in the late 1800s.
In January 2005, Kotrba was hired by BBI International based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he began as a staff writer for Ethanol Producer Magazine and Biodiesel Magazine. In 2007, BBI launched Biomass Magazine and Kotrba was part of the editorial team that helped make that publication a success. Also in 2007, Kotrba became senior writer for all of BBI's publications.
In 2009, Kotrba took over editorship of Biodiesel Magazine and continued to manage all aspects of that product line until August 2020. In 2010, BBI launched Biorefining magazine, a publication that focused on advanced fuels and biobased chemicals. Adding to his duties as editor of Biodiesel Magazine, Kotrba also edited and managed Biorefining, in addition to another publication, a biannual titled Algae Technology & Business.
The year 2011 was perhaps one of Kotrba's most prolific as he oversaw the production of 26 print magazines (12 Biodiesel Magazine, 12 Biorefining and two Algae Technology & Business) while helping to organize, attend and speak at a record number of events produced by BBI International.
While Biorefining and Algae Technology & Business were short-lived, Kotrba continued to write, edit and manage Biodiesel Magazine and, in early 2015, rejoined Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine as senior editor, where he remained until 2020.
Under the authority of BBI, Kotrba developed the Biodiesel Production Technology Summit―including all aspects, from the name and agenda to the speaker line-up―the inaugural convening of which was originally set for June 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, however, the event was postponed until late August and moved to Omaha, Nebraska. As the summer spike in COVID-19 cases surged, the summit was again postponed until September 2020 and moved to a virtual platform. Kotrba and BBI International parted ways before the virtual conference took place.
In 2019, Kotrba was honored by the National Biodiesel Board for his years of trusted work as editor of Biodiesel Magazine, receiving the distinguished Eye on Biodiesel-Influence Award.