2020 Eye on Biodiesel winners showcase an image of success

By The National Biodiesel Board | January 24, 2020

The National Biodiesel Board’s annual awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to biodiesel. From long-time champions to present-day breakthroughs, the commercial biodiesel industry wouldn’t be where it is today without them.

“Each year we recognize valuable leaders who have helped us make strides in America’s advanced biofuel,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Our association applauds and thanks these individuals and organizations for their sincere devotion to making our world better, cleaner, now!” 

NBB recognizes the 2020 “Eye on Biodiesel” award winners throughout the week at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. The honored nominees are:

Northeast Heating Coalition—Industry Partnership Award

The heating oil and biodiesel industry came together in 2003 to support a cleaner and greener future for our environment, customers and the entire Northeast region. In 2019, the Northeast’s heating oil industry resolved to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050. The industry’s resolution calls for a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2023, a 40 percent reduction by 2030, and net-zero-carbon emissions by 2050—giving the collective alliance an opportunity to be a leading player in combatting climate change.

This year the NBB dedicates its Industry Partnership Award to heating oil heavy hitters including the National Oilheat Research Alliance, New England Fuel Institute, Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association, Energy Marketers Association of Rhode Island, The New York State Energy Coalition, Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, Empire State Energy Association, Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, Westmore Fuel Co. Inc., and Maine Marketers Association.

Wallace E Tyner, Agricultural Economist, Purdue University—Pioneer Award

This award is presented in remembrance of the renowned Purdue agricultural economist, Wallace E Tyner. Tyner’s extensive research was in the areas of climate, energy, agriculture and natural resource policy analysis. His noteworthy work in energy economics including oil, biomass, biofuels from agricultural sources, and other areas has helped quantify the net benefits of renewable energy and more efficient food systems. Much of his recent work focused on the economic and policy analysis for biofuels, not just under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, but also influencing the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive and the global carbon offsetting policies adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Tyner’s impact on the biodiesel industry was expansive and invaluable. NBB appreciates his many contributions to the science underlying policy for cleaner fuels and a stronger agricultural economy.

Mike Erker, United Soybean Board, Director of Bio-Based Products—Impact Award

Soybean farmers have led the development and growth of the biodiesel industry. Through the soybean checkoff, farmers have funded research and promotional efforts to ensure biodiesel remains one of the most used renewable fuels to the market. Now, production agriculturalists are benefitting from the exponential growth the biodiesel industry has seen since its origination. That’s because biodiesel demand increases the value of U.S. soybean oil by 11 cents per pound and 63 cents per every bushel of soybeans—showing a strong return on investment for farmers across the country.

Leading this challenge behind the scenes is long-time champion and advocate Mike Erker, USB director of biobased products. Erker’s work at USB has helped move the needle forward and create market opportunities for America’s advanced biofuel. Under his unwavering leadership, Erker leveraged and facilitated the strong relationship between USB, soybean farmers and the NBB. Through his extensive knowledge of biodiesel, he was able to educate producers and foster the support needed to create new opportunities for soybeans. NBB thanks Erker for his work on biodiesel at the USB staff level, providing farmer-leaders the support needed to soundly invest their checkoff dollars.

Ruan Transportation Management Systems—Initiative Award

Ruan is much more than a transportation company; it is leading the challenge toward driving a cleaner future. Ruan views sustainability as more than a good business model—it’s a social responsibility. One of the main ways it maintains environmental stewardship is through the use of biodiesel.

Ruan currently uses alternative fuel types including biodiesel, compressed natural gas, renewable natural gas, and renewable hydrocarbon diesel. Ruan began exclusively using biodiesel blends for its bulk diesel tanks in 2017. Ruan currently operates 4,000 tractors in 48 states across the country. Accepting the award on behalf of Ruan Transportation Management Systems was Steve Larsen, director of procurement and fuel.

Victor Bohuslavsky, Executive Director, Nebraska Soybean Board—Inspiration Award

Victor Bohuslavsky and the Nebraska Soybean Board have truly been instrumental in biodiesel growth since its origination. Bohuslavsky spearheaded support for and development of the biodiesel industry in Nebraska after recognizing the glut of soybean oil that needed a new market to add value to the state’s soybean farmers.

Under Bohuslavsky’s leadership, NSB also played a vital role in the development of the Bioheat market on the East Coast through supporting organizations such as the National Oilheat Research Alliance and Brookhaven National Laboratory, along with work at NBB. Through this relationship in the Northeast, biodiesel is at the forefront of efforts to improve air quality and reduce emissions in home heating.

The National Biodiesel Board hosts this annual must-attend event to facilitate business, education and networking. The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is put on with the generous support of industry sponsors. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

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