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  • The National Biodiesel Board

National Biodiesel Board experts share how industry continues to ‘rise’ to any challenge

The National Biodiesel Board hosted more than 550 biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, distributors, retailers, and other industry advocates virtually in January to share the direction of the industry now and in the future. During the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, themed “Rise,” NBB celebrated the many achievements for the industry in the face of adversity.

Throughout the conference, industry leaders shared how they intend to keep momentum rising in the next decade to meet NBB's Vision of 6 billion gallons by 2030.

“Our industry has seen its fair share of challenges over the years, but I am proud to say that the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry never gave up, even in the middle of a pandemic,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Our members continually beat expectations year after year and there is a lot to be excited for moving forward.”

During the conference, the trade association shared updates for each of its core program areas, with insights into direction and influences for the industry.

Federal Affairs “As a new Congress and new administration take shape in Washington, emerging proposals to decarbonize the energy and agriculture sectors, modernize transportation infrastructure, and incentivize research and development of cleaner fuel sources can provide new market opportunities for the biodiesel industry,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs. “NBB’s federal affairs team is monitoring the policy environment and preparing members to rise to the occasion.”

State Affairs “State programs and incentives are driving the demand for a low carbon future,” shared Floyd Vergara, director of state governmental affairs. We continue to see a growing number of aggressive carbon policies coming out of various states, regions, and even municipalities that help set the stage for monumental industry growth. States like California, expected to reach a milestone of 1 billion gallons of biodiesel consumed last year, realized our industry message—Biodiesel: Better, Cleaner, Now—was right on target for seeing environmental benefits immediately.”

Sustainability “The science supporting the carbon reduction potential of renewable fuels grows in importance by the day,” said Matt Herman, director of environmental science. “Studies documenting the lifecycle emissions of biodiesel—including feedstocks, potential indirect land use change, and the fuel production process—show that the carbon reduction potential of our member’s products is increasing. Our consistent message to all stakeholders, Biodiesel: Better, Cleaner, Now, is backed resoundingly by current science. Our sustainability team will continue efforts to ensure laws, regulations, and voluntary carbon reduction pledges properly reflect the sustainable nature of the fuels our members produce.”

Communications “Storytelling remains top of mind in 2021,” shared Samantha Turner, communications manager. “Awareness and positive impressions of biodiesel and renewable diesel among key audiences help maintain critical support for the industry—the No. 1 goal of NBB's communications efforts. We want to rise this year, and in years to come, with increased outreach on our vision and mission, sharing with our industry how we will grow from 3 billion to 6 billion gallons.”

Technical “The fuels industry continues to reinvent itself,” said Scott Fenwick, technical director. “With sweeping changes to emissions, aftertreatment devices, and limits, as well as electricity generated from renewable resources, NBB works to ensure biomass-based diesel fuels provide the performance and benefits required by users, regulators, and the public. We designed each element of our technical program to help ensure higher volumes of biodiesel and renewable diesel may be used in every diesel market segment, growing market access for our members.”

Outreach and Development “With our vision in mind, we depend on today’s and tomorrow’s farmers and oilseed processors,” said Tom Verry, director of outreach and development. “A 6 billion-gallon industry in 2030 will demand more than 18 billion pounds of soybean oil each year. However, we will need our other leading feedstocks to aid in that production as well. Our U.S. farmers will continue to lead the way in producing the feedstocks necessary to provide a better, cleaner future. Given the push to reduce carbon, we predict growing momentum for our vision throughout 2021 and the years to come.”

As Rehagen closed the conference, he noted that the building blocks to grow the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry are in place.

“I have no doubt that we can reach our goals,” Rehagen said. “I believe in our nation’s farmers, I believe in our industry, and I believe in our trade association to lead us as we rise to new heights in 2021.”

Plan to join NBB next year for the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Jan. 17-20, 2022, in Las Vegas, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the industry.

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