2007 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo makes its mark in Texas

By | March 15, 2007
As the second-largest biodiesel producing state in the country, Texas was an appropriate setting for the 2007 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, which by all accounts was a resounding success. The largest and most comprehensive event of its kind, the fourth annual conference brought together a diverse cross-section of biodiesel stakeholders in San Antonio on Feb. 4-7.

Approximately 3,800 people from across the world attended the event, including government officials, scientists and academics, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), celebrities and those on the front lines in the industry-biodiesel producers, suppliers and distributors.

"Each year, the NBB Conference & Expo reaches a new level and expands its reach," said Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO. "Biodiesel production reached 225 million gallons in 2006, 105 plants are currently operating, and more than 85 plants are under construction or undergoing expansion. This, coupled with an energy policy at the top of the congressional agenda, has led to the industry experiencing unprecedented growth. It is critical that all sectors of the industry have a thorough understanding of the factors that are shaping our business in order to maintain this growth."

Participants had the opportunity to participate in six educational tracks-the newest being the production track. Within these tracks, more than 40 cutting-edge educational sessions covered everything from fuel quality to new diesel vehicles, federal and state legislation, and emerging biodiesel markets. In addition, several celebrities like Merle Haggard, Larry Hagman and Daryl Hannah were on hand to lend their support to biodiesel.

The following is an overview of some of the conference highlights:

--Launch of the National Biodiesel Political Action Committee (PAC): The new PAC will help to carry the voice of biodiesel in Washington, D.C. In addition to many individual donations, a special auction raised $10,000.

--Biodiesel quality sessions: Several educational sessions focused on the industry's top priority: ensuring fuel quality. Discussions covered the NBB's growing quality control program BQ-9000, the results of a national fuel quality survey, ASTM biodiesel standards and more.

--The Second Amendments: Members of this Congressional rock band-U.S. Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Dave Weldon, R-Fla.; and Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.-performed for attendees and served on a public policy panel focused on our nation's energy future.

--A keynote address by Dr. John G. Stoessinger: This internationally recognized political analyst and Holocaust survivor is also the prize-winning author of 10 world-politics books, including The Might of Nations: World Politics in Our Time. Stoessinger not only shared his personal story, but also reflected on the current dramatic transformations in world politics, including the impact of these changes on the biodiesel industry.

--Ride-and-drives: Participants had a chance to take a spin in the latest biodiesel-powered vehicles by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen.

--Political pundit-couple James Carville and Mary Matalin: This cross-party couple talked about what it takes to have issues heard in Washington, D.C.

--Larry Hagman of "Dallas" fame: This actor and biodiesel supporter led a special session on his passion-solar energy-a natural companion to biodiesel, which he referred to as "liquid solar energy."

--Bill Mack Radio Show: The XM Satellite Cowboy hosted his "Open Road" radio show live from the conference and interviewed dozens of attendees on a wide range of topics.

--Merle Haggard: This legendary musician performed a concert for attendees. The NBB gave 1,000 tickets to local members of the armed forces.

--AllThingsBiodiesel.com: The new, commercial Web site for biodiesel commerce was launched by the NBB at the conference. This is the largest Web site of its kind.

--Greening: For the second year in a row, the NBB "greened" its conference with the help of the Spitfire Agency (www.spitfireagency.com). The agency's head, Sarah Haynes, said the NBB earned an A with its many efforts to reduce waste from the conference.

The following sponsors were among the many that helped to make this landmark event possible: World Energy Alternatives, Core Ventures/Croplan Genetics, Bioenergy of America, Crown Iron Works Company, Degussa Building Blocks, Renewable Energy Group Inc. and Volkswagen.

For more details on the conference, visit www.biodieselconference.org/2007.
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