Editor's Note

Take a blend-level neutral approach
By Tom Bryan | April 01, 2005
I think we've settled on a number.

Sometime in the last 60 days, it seems almost as if the entire U.S. biodiesel industry has suddenly agreed that 1 billion gallons per year is where the nation's market potential and production capacity ultimately converge. A billion gallon market, we are told, could be achieved with a nationwide B2 mandate alone. But since that isn't a ubiquitous national priority at the moment, I think it's fair to say this brave new market will be split evenly between high and low blend consumption targets.
That prediction is rooted in the trends we are seeing today.

Look at Minnesota, for example, where Renewable Energy Group (REG) is building a 30-mmgy SoyMor facility near the town of Albert Lea, one of two 30-mmgy plants under construction in the state. As we point out in this month's Company profile on REG, "One Stop Shop," page 26, the facility is on pace to begin production this summer, in time to trigger the statewide B2 mandate outlined in Minnesota's trailblazing renewable fuels standard. As we explain in our Legislation feature, "State Bio-Legislation: Summary and Rundown," page 40, Oregon and
Michigan are considering similar B2 measures.

The use of high blends-B20 to B100-is also on the rise. In Maine, for example, state legislators are considering legislation that would require state buildings to be heated with B20 heating oil, and state vehicles to run on B20. On the West Coast, Dr. Dan's Fuel Werks, a Seattle-based biodiesel distributor, is moving 13,000 to 15,000 gallons of B100 per month, according to owner Dan Freeman, the feature of this month's Profile, "Sound of Success," page 22. Freeman is a hardcore advocate of high-level blends-the type of guy who's not easily moved by low-level blend mandates and OEM warranty statements-but his ultimate hope is to make biodiesel "as cheap and accessible as possible."

And that, if we are really serious about reaching that proverbial 1 billion gallon mark, is a goal we can all rally behind.
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