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  • Clean Fuels Alliance America

Visionaries, advocates and innovators honored for their contributions to clean fuels

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Clean Cities directors (Photo: Ron Kotrba, Biobased Diesel Daily)

A diverse group of individuals and organizations received top honors for their contributions to the clean-fuels industry in late January. The Clean Fuels Alliance America annual awards showcase those who have contributed significantly to the advancement of biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“These forward-thinking leaders have pushed the gauge on clean fuels and helped power the industry into the future,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of Clean Fuels. “Our association applauds and thanks these long-time advocates, clean-fuels visionaries, and industry innovators who help unite us as one strong industry.”

During the Clean Fuels Conference—formerly the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo—in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 23-26, the organization will recognize the 2023 “Eye on Industry Awards” winners. The honorees are:

Industry Partnership Award: Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit educational organization of global leaders in advanced diesel engine, equipment and fuels technology. DTF’s work focuses on the sociability and sustainability of advanced diesel technology in a wide range of applications including commercial vehicles, power generation, marine, rail, construction and more.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Allen Schaeffer, DTF has used its platform and considerable industry influence to consistently and vocally demonstrate support for the use of biodiesel and renewable diesel in legacy and new-technology diesel engines and equipment. Schaeffer and the organization are also highly engaged in areas of common interest with the clean-fuels industry, including U.S. EPA regulatory activities regarding clean air, climate, emissions, health effects and mobile-source emissions; transitions to a clean-energy future; and decarbonization of transportation and other industrial sources.

Initiative Award: Iowa Biodiesel Board

Since its inception in 2007, the Iowa Biodiesel Board has become invaluable in advancing biodiesel in Iowa and across the nation. The small team of two half-time employees and two contractors knows no limitations.

Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director (Photo: Ron Kotrba, Biobased Diesel Daily

IBB and its members, along with other partners, played a vital role in helping Iowa pass the most comprehensive state biodiesel legislation in U.S. history, working with the governor’s office and state legislators. The most recent legislation broke the B20 “glass ceiling,” providing the first-ever B30 incentive in the United States. Also a leader in federal-policy outreach, the organization has been instrumental in working with the congressional delegation on important issues.

Founded under the umbrella of the Iowa Soybean Association, IBB has grown into a leading trade association representing the entire supply chain, helping Iowa maintain its position as the top biodiesel-producing state. The organization has proven to be a valuable partner to Clean Fuels, fostering engagement and cooperation on biodiesel growth in Iowa and nationally.

Impact Award: Clean Cities Coalition Directors

Clean Cities coalition directors have truly made a positive impact on the clean fuels industry, exemplifying the Impact Award. More than 75 Clean Cities coalitions are creating significant and lasting change in communities large and small, one project, one local decision and one fleet at a time. This network, spanning nearly every state, brings together more than 20,000 stakeholders in the public and private sectors to use alternative and renewable fuels, foster fuel-economy improvements and promote new transportation technologies as they emerge.

Since 1993, Clean Cities coalitions have steadily increased their energy-use impact each year through diverse transportation projects for a cumulative impact equal to nearly 12 billion gasoline-gallon equivalents, including using biodiesel in more than 200,000 vehicles in 2020. They have also aided in building out the fueling infrastructure to support this growing market.

Influence Award: Star Group LP

Operating throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, Star Group LP is the nation’s largest retail distributor of home heating oil, based on sales volume. The company earned the Influence Award for its leadership role in the adoption and acceptance of Bioheat® fuel—typically a blend of biodiesel and heating oil.

Anthony Silecchia, vice president of acquisitions and industry affairs, Star Group (Photo: Ron Kotrba, Biobased Diesel Daily)

With increasing concern about climate change both at the state and national level, Star Group believed that the home-heating industry had to be part of the discussion. The company saw the environmental benefits of Bioheat® fuel for its customers and for the communities that they served. After starting with B20 blends, Star Group recognized that by providing increasing levels of biodiesel, they can offer an easy and affordable solution for home heating to help meet a goal of zero-carbon emissions by 2050. The company has raised the bar within its industry, demonstrating that Bioheat® fuel can offer an economical option for reducing carbon emissions.

Inspiration Award: Patti Earley, Florida Power & Light

Florida Power & Light operates one of the most sophisticated power grids in the nation, serving 12 million customers statewide. It also operates one of the largest and longest-known biodiesel-powered fleets in the country, with approximately 1,840 biodiesel-powered vehicles. FPL purchases more than 400,000 gallons of B100 annually, blending and maintaining it in two company-owned fuel terminals.

Earley (Photo: Ron Kotrba, Biobased Diesel Daily)

Behind the scenes of this operation is Patti Earley, FPL’s fleet fuel-operations manager. She was part of this year’s massive restoration efforts after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole struck the state, supplying over 700,000 gallons of B20 to the 22,000 workers helping to restore power. She also assisted with FPL’s voluntary response to the Northeast coast after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, hauling B20 from FPL’s facilities to help mitigate major fuel shortages in the area. With every disaster, biodiesel has been there when the electric grid is down and petroleum fuels have all but vanished, performing reliably in FPL’s mobile command unit and all other diesel vehicles and equipment.

What makes Earley so inspirational is her willingness to volunteer her time, energy and passion, even loaning FPL vehicles generously for educational events about biodiesel and mentoring other fleets. Earley has reached thousands of people, freely answering the call for leadership or help. She is a certified automotive fleet manager, an appointed member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Emergency Route Working Group, as well as past president of the National Association of Fleet Administrators, one of only five women to serve as president.

Climate Leadership Award: Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory

In his nearly three decades at Argonne National Laboratory, Michael Wang has spearheaded various projects on addressing energy and environmental issues related to the transportation sector and energy systems. His tireless dedication earned recognition for Climate Leadership.

Wang is a distinguished fellow, senior scientist, the director of the systems-assessment center, and interim director of the energy systems and infrastructure-analysis division for Argonne. He has led the development and applications of Argonne’s GREET model for lifecycle analysis of advanced vehicle technologies, transportation fuels and other energy systems. Notably, the GREET model will be used to calculate the federal tax credits for clean fuels.

His work in the area of lifecycle analysis has been used by international institutions, including the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization, government agencies and industries, and is cited extensively in research and academic fields. The GREET model is used to calculate the value of credits for all biobased fuels under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, informs EPA’s analysis for qualifying fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard and will be used to calculate federal tax credits for clean fuels beginning in 2025. As of 2020, there are more than 43,000 registered GREET users worldwide.


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