A vision of feedstocks

By Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board | October 02, 2020

Our industry has a vision to exceed 6 billion gallons by 2030 and with advancements in feedstocks, 15 billion gallons by 2050. Yes, you read that right. The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry believes, with strong data, we will have the production and market development to reach this previously unmet goal by 2030.

I have said it before and I will say it again, ambitious industries need ambitious goals. Our nation needs us to be this ambitious. Since we announced our new industry Vision at the beginning of 2020, we have received questions from the industry and membership pressing us on how we came to 6 billion gallons by 2030.

As carbon policies around the country begin to take hold, we see tremendous opportunities for growth of low-carbon fuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable jet fuel. While the volumes we envision may seem bold, the foundation we have built as an industry to this point makes them attainable.

Through more than a year's-worth of discussions with industry experts and a deeply comprehensive analysis, we found there will be several key trends in the next ten years that will help us reach our lofty goals. Key driving factors include societal pushes for reduced carbon emissions; new technology; structural shifts in the petroleum sector; and the ability to meet carbon reduction goals with biomass-based diesel fuels as the lowest-cost option in the market. One only needs to look to California to see these factors in action. Currently, biomass-based diesel accounts for 45 percent of all Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits being generated there.  

Today there are more than 3 billion gallons of operating capacity online, with announced expansions potentially adding another 3-plus billion gallons of capacity by 2023. This means our existing feedstock base will play a critical role. Currently soybean oil leads the way at nearly half the market with approximately 8 billion pounds of oil in 2019, which is approximately one-third of the soybean oil crushed in the U.S.

With our Vision in mind, we are dependent on today’s and tomorrow’s farmers and oilseed processors. Our modeling suggests that a 6 billion-gallon industry in 2030 will demand over 18 billion pounds of soybean oil each year. How will that be possible?

The continued growing demand for animal protein alone, driven by worldwide population growth, will lead to increased fats and oils in the market available for industrial uses. Our U.S. farmers will continue to lead the way in feeding this growing population around the globe.  The U.S. market demand for protein has and will continue to grow at a faster rate than vegetable oil market demand, resulting in a projected annual excess of more than 5.5 billion pounds of soybean oil in 2030.

The building blocks to grow our industry are in place. I have no doubts that we can reach our goals with domestically produced feedstocks. I believe in our trade association, the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, and overall, America’s farmers.

Our nation’s farmers, whether they grow row crops or raise livestock, will need to share this Vision, and see their role in providing growing amounts of feedstocks. Oilseed processors will have to step up to process more oil domestically. Will meeting this goal be easy? Definitely not. But we have never shied away from a challenge.

Long-term, our sights are set on doing everything we can to promote, grow, and protect this valuable industry. We need all our industry partners to see and share our vision. Together with farmers, feedstock producers, oilseed processors, heating oil dealers, fuel distributors, and everyone throughout the supply chain, this industry is stronger and together we can reach 6 billion gallons by 2030—and beyond.



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