NBB leader bullish on biodiesel in 2020

Significant challenges remain in reaching goals of continuing to expand biodiesel use and production.

January 24, 2020

3 Min Read
NBB CEO Rehagen ZimmComm.jpg
National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen speaks at the annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.NBB Flickr Feed - ZimmComm

More than 700 biodiesel producers, distributors, retailers and other industry advocates from across the nation gathered in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 20-23 to set their sights on a future for biodiesel that is cleaner, better and here now. During the conference, hosted by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), speakers shared their vision for biodiesel, renewable diesel and Bioheat.

“I am extremely bullish on the future of biodiesel and renewable diesel, but I don’t want to suggest it will be a cake walk,” NBB chief executive officer Donnell Rehagen said. “We will face significant challenges to reach these goals moving forward. We know that and accept the challenge."

A focus for many biodiesel leaders was federal and state policy, with an emphasis on extension of the biodiesel tax credit.

“The extension happened because our industry and membership worked harder, smarter and more strategically than others,” NBB vice president of federal affairs Kurt Kovarik said. “Over the past two years, with the help of our biodiesel champions, we’ve developed a recipe for success in Washington [D.C.]. It’s important that we keep the ingredients in place and maintain our capabilities. There are still many challenges to face, and continued success will depend on your continued engagement, vision and hard work.”

Related:Report quantifies importance of biodiesel tax incentive

A common theme during the event was that the federal policy fight isn’t over. Collectively, the industry has its sights set on a stronger, reliable Renewable Fuel Standard for 2020 and years to come.

NBB governing board chairman Chad Stone explained that the industry has struggled with the Environmental Protection Agency for the last of couple years as the agency has "aggressively issued excessive levels of exemptions that have harmed the industry. Inappropriate administration of [small refinery exemptions] is a back door to undermine the intention of the Renewable Fuel Standard. We can’t let the EPA get away with this. We have to unite to defend our industry, to defend the law – and we are.”

Conference goers also heard from Bioheat heavy hitters on where their sights are set for 2020. Today, oil heat has grown to be a 7 billion gal. industry.

“It hasn’t been easy. We’ve been through years of studies and testing, years of developing and getting an ASTM standard approved and faced opposition from some of the equipment manufacturers,” NBB supply chain advisor Paul Nazzaro said. “We’ve gone on countless road shows over the last decade trying to convince oil heat leaders, dealers and consumers to accept Bioheat.

Related:RFS waivers idled 200m gal. of biodiesel capacity

“I’m happy to say we’re finally on the verge of a massive shift in this industry in favor of Bioheat,” he added.

NBB closed out the conference with its view on where the growing industry is headed. During the final session, attendees joined subject matter experts from the trade association in a dynamic conversation about the advanced biofuel and what they can expect to see in 2020.

“We have a team of experts working on your behalf every single day to complete important, member-prioritized work,” NBB chief operating officer Doug Whitehead said. “With each of these biodiesel professionals, I am certain our trade association can help the industry meet our lofty goals and bolster growth for America’s advanced biofuel.”

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