Preview: the May/June issue of Biodiesel Magazine

What's in store for the next print edition
By Ron Kotrba | May 14, 2014

The May/June issue of Biodiesel Magazine is nearly complete, and I would like to share some of its contents with you. The theme is Biodiesel Feedstock, and we’ve got several articles on this important topic.

For one of my featured articles on biodiesel feedstock, “The Myth & Reality of Biodiesel Feedstock Availability,” I talk with John Kruse with World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services, Gene Geboyls of World Energy (also chair of the NBB’s RFS working group), and a third source (a commodities risk management specialist) who discusses the record U.S. soybean acreage intended for planting this season.

Biodiesel pessimists often cite lack of feedstock availability as a reason to not put much stock into biodiesel. It’s only an additive, and that’s all it will ever be, they say. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to my sources.

As Kruse says, “The constraints to biodiesel growth aren’t really from the feedstock side. Flipping it around a little, the constraints are where the market has to pay a high price for distribution and infrastructure to move biodiesel into the marketplace.” He adds that supply has always outpaced demand growth in the ag sector.

Gebolys says the surest way to develop second-generation feedstock growth is to create greater demand for first-gen feedstocks like soybean oil. Gebolys says, “When we were first looking at this stuff, there were people in this industry that said there’s not enough feedstock for this industry to ever produce more than 500 million gallons. And these are very knowledgeable folks.” In the latter half of 2013, however, the U.S. biodiesel industry was producing at an annualized run rate 2.4 billion gallons. “That’s effectively five times what those so-called experts originally thought was the high end of what we could do,” Gebolys says. “I guess the lessons learned are that the so-called experts don’t really fully take into account how flexible markets are in addressing expanding industry capabilities. If we demand feedstock, feedstock will be there for us to continue to produce biodiesel at higher and higher rates for a long time.”

Read the full story, a compelling article that flips the feedstock constraints issue on its head, in the May/June 2014 issue of Biodiesel Magazine hitting your mailboxes, and appearing online, soon.

In my other featured article, “Time Has Come Today,” I talk about the emerging movement of ethanol plants building biodiesel production capacity on-site to take advantage of their captive feedstock: distillers corn oil. I talk with biodiesel technology providers, and ethanol producers who have signed contracts and begun building. But these ethanol producers who are early out of the gate are not relying on traditional biodiesel conversion technologies. Rather, they are employing cutting-edge techniques in the biodiesel technology world. Check out the featured article for full details.

We also feature a back-of-the-book technical contribution article from Superior Process Technologies’ Erik Anderson, “The Chemical Kinetics of Glycerolysis.” The article is based on lab analyses done at SPT on low-quality feedstocks run through the glycerolysis process at lower and higher temperatures. For those seeking technical data on glycerolysis, and how temperature affects processing, this article is sure to satisfy.

Feedstock and sustainability experts Alan Weber and Don Scott author this issue’s Talking Point column, “A True Masterpiece: Feedstock Diversity and Biodiesel’s Carbon Story.” They write, “In 2013, U.S. consumption of biomass-based diesel resulted in the elimination of approximately 17.3 million metric tons of CO2—equivalent to the annual emissions from 3.6 million cars. Since 2011, biodiesel production costs have declined by 20 percent. At the same time, the biodiesel industry has significantly increased its use of low-carbon feedstocks derived from waste grease, animal fats, DCO and other ancillary agricultural products, which currently account for almost half of combined U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production. It’s noteworthy that all of the feedstocks used to satisfy the renewable fuel standard (RFS) are decreasing in carbon intensity as the fossil fuels they displace are increasing in carbon intensity.”

Fredrikson & Byron Attorney Todd Taylor also hits our feedstock theme with his Legal Perspectives column, “Sustainable Feedstock Contracts.”

And as always, we feature the National Biodiesel Board’s four-page “Inside NBB” section, which we lead off with a column from Shelby Neal, director of state governmental affairs for NBB, on “The Secret to Effective Lobbying.”

In addition, get the latest industry information and perspective in our FrontEnd news and Business Briefs sections.

Thanks to all our contributing writers who helped shape this issue’s editorial content.

Finally, I would like to thank our advertisers for their continued support:

2014 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo

ALX Enterprises LLC

Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation

Crown Iron Works Company


GEA Westfalia Separator

Genscape Inc.


ICM Inc.

INTL FCStone Inc.

Iowa Central Fuel Testing Lab

Jatrodiesel Inc.

Louis Dreyfus

Methes Energies

NBB National Biodiesel Board

Oil-Dri Corporation

The Jacobsen Publishing Company

WB Services LLC