Biodiesel events past and present

An overview of last week's National Advanced Biofuels Conference in Milwaukee, a special thanks to five individuals who helped make the show spectacular, and a reminder about a free Biodiesel Magazine webinar Thursday, June 30, at 2pm C
By Ron Kotrba | June 29, 2016

I returned from Milwaukee late last week after attending the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo, co-located with the 32nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. I want to thank everyone who attended. I moderated three panels at the event; one on biojet fuel and two on biodiesel technologies. The panelists were true leaders in the industry on all fronts, and the presentations were world-class. There was no shortage of questions from the audiences, particularly in the biodiesel technologies sessions. I will be writing a review story for an upcoming issue of Biomass Magazine, and once it’s complete I will share it with my readership here on as well. While I thank all the panelists for speaking and giving their all in delivering such informative presentations, I want to give a special thanks to five of them in particular.

Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board. Anne was the lone biodiesel voice on the general session panel at the conference among other biofuel industry organization leaders. Anne did a great job representing the biodiesel sector and it was nice, as always, to see her again. To read an article I wrote on the general session panel in which she participated, click here. Thank you Anne for coming out to the event and representing this industry in such a professional fashion. And thank you for all that you do on a day-to-day basis in Washington, D.C., for all of us. We are truly appreciative.

Rabbi Abraham Juravel, Orthodox Union. The Rabbi spoke on the importance of distillers corn oil being kosher. You can read the article I wrote on his presentation here. Though I did not moderate the panel on which the Rabbi spoke, I had the pleasure of attending it and visiting with him on several occasions in the speaker-ready room. Rabbi Juravel is a funny, good-hearted man, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and conversing with him. I definitely look forward to following up with Rabbi Juravel on his invitation to visit with him in New York City at the offices of the Orthodox Union one day.

Dehua Liu, Tsinghua University. BBI International’s relationship with Professor Liu goes back more than a decade as we collaborated on biofuels conferences with the good doctor in China in the early 2000s. He gave a compelling presentation on enzymatic biodiesel production that featured a commercial-scale enzymatic plant in China. It was a great experience and an honor to feature Dr. Liu on my panel and I want to thank him for making the trip to Milwaukee all the way from China. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Kurt Holecek, Energia Tech s.r.o. I first met Kurt, with whom I’ve been connected on LinkedIn for several years, at the National Biodiesel Conference in Tampa six months ago. Kurt came out from Europe to deliver a presentation on improving biodiesel production on a budget, and he did a fantastic job. His knowledge and experience in the field is evident. He asks the right questions. He gives thoughtful answers. And he is a pleasure to visit with.

Russ Teall, Biodico. What can I say other than it was truly a great honor and a wonderful pleasure to spend so much time with Russ and his lovely wife Christy in Milwaukee. As you all know, Russ is a genuine pioneer in the biodiesel industry who has been continuously involved since at least 1992. He presented on the 20 MMgy biodiesel plant Biodico recently started, which we featured on the cover of Biodiesel Magazine’s 2016 print edition. The plant produces all of its own energy on-site from renewable resources, evidence that Russ remains on the cutting-edge of development in this industry, as I have covered time and time again over my nearly 12 years at Biodiesel Magazine. After the conference, attendees at the event were invited to a reception at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. I sat with Russ, Christy and Kurt for dinner and then we all toured the museum together. It was a memorable time. Thank you Russ for sharing your time with me. Again, it was truly an honor for me.

Finally, I want to remind everyone to sign up for our free webinar Thursday, June 30, at 2pm Central time, on “Biodiesel Distribution in California: Taxation, Policy & the Carbon Market,” sponsored by Avalara Inc. We had a practice session yesterday with all of the panelists during which we reviewed their presentations. You’ll not want to miss what these experts—Bubba Lange with Avalara, Shelby Neal with the National Biodiesel Board, Graham Noyes with Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, and Lisa Mortenson with Community Fuels (and the California Biodiesel Alliance)—have to say on the red-hot carbon market in California and biodiesel’s role in it. To register for free, click here

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