Industry Revival

By Ron Kotrba | January 19, 2017

In late December 2015, I predicted in our 2016 issue of Biodiesel Magazine that the U.S. industry was poised for a major comeback.  And, boy, was I right. Six days into the new year, Kolmar Americas bought Greenleaf Fuels, and so began a year of M&As, plant expansions, upgrades, and project completions. It seemed as if every week a new project, plant purchase or opening was announced. This lasted all year, straight through until just days before press time when the idled 40 MMgy Delta American Fuel plant in Helena, Arkansas, was acquired by a Singapore-based joint venture. The big unknown now is how the new Republican Trump administration coupled with a Republican-controlled Congress will treat biodiesel and affect markets. For more industry activity over the past year and perspectives on what 2017 will bring, be sure to read my article on page 14, titled, “Biodiesel Renaissance.”

Two big-name companies—the U.S.’s largest producer and a globally renowned process technology provider—celebrated major anniversaries in 2016. Renewable Energy Group Inc. hit the 10-year milestone as an independent company. REG holds the single-greatest number of biodiesel plants in the U.S., including a large renewable diesel facility and a biochemical plant, and nearly a half-billion gallons of biomass-based diesel production. REG owns production assets in Germany too. Read more about the biodiesel powerhouse on page 34 in Anthony Hulen’s article, “REG Marks 10 Years of Growth, Success & Continuous Improvement.” I was fortunate to celebrate BDI-BioEnergy International AG’s 20th anniversary with the company, its international customer-producers and partners in Vienna this September. After covering BDI developments for 12 years at Biodiesel Magazine, it was great to learn more about the company from an even more personal level. For my profile article on BDI, “A Proven Biodiesel Process Technology Track Record,” turn to page 38. In addition, Gene Gebolys, the founder of World Energy, a company making plenty of news this year with two significant acquisitions, celebrated his 20th year in the industry. To learn about the company’s beginnings, changes in direction and rise to become a major biodiesel producer, read Gene Gebolys’ article on page 30, “A 20-Year-Old Startup.”

Finally, I am happy to announce that the industry turnaround is prompting Biodiesel Magazine’s publisher, BBI International, to print a second issue this year to be released in time for the Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo in Minneapolis this June co-located with the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo. Biodiesel producers can get two free passes, so I hope to see many of you there!

Ron Kotrba
Biodiesel Magazine
[email protected]

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