Eye on Biodiesel awards announced

By | February 23, 2010
In 2002, Ramiro Lopez led Dallas' city fleet to become the first major fleet in north Texas to switch to B20, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel. But at first, the assistant fuel director kept the progressive change to himself and his superiors.

"I would rather do the right thing and ask for forgiveness later," Lopez said with his characteristic smile. "But I didn't have to ask forgiveness at all! After everyone found out they'd already been using B20 for six months, it was smooth sailing."

Since then, about 10 government and school fleets in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area started using biodiesel, largely due to Lopez's leadership and mentoring. That includes the city of Irving, Texas, where Lopez went after retiring and promptly implemented B20 there, as well.

"Most cities are looking to become sustainable, and fuel is an opportunity to create a green fleet overnight so easily with biodiesel," Lopez said. "I look back to the year 2002 and no one else was doing it. I couldn't understand that. But now, I see all the different agencies using biodiesel, and the plants that have been built, and it is a great feeling to have been a part of that."

In February, the National Biodiesel Board recognized Lopez and other biodiesel champions at the annual Eye on Biodiesel awards presentation. They were presented at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, in Grapevine, Texas.
The NBB's 2010 Eye on Biodiesel Award categories and their winners are:

Influence: Ramiro Lopez, city of Irving, Texas.

Impact: Terry Taylor, Sysco Corp. Sysco, North America's leading foodservice marketer and distributor, has led the way in implementing biodiesel in private industry. The company has a policy to use biodiesel blends, wherever possible, up to B20. The company today uses about 2 million gallons of blended product annually in its fleet of 20,000 diesel vehicles.

Wayne Hettler, St. Johns Public Schools, St. Johns, Mich. This Michigan school bus fleet manager convinced his district to switch to B20 in 2002. It has since clocked more than 3 million miles on B20. His enthusiasm for biodiesel has helped inspire other fleets to make the switch.

Industry Partnership: The American Oil Chemists' Society and Gina Clapper. In keeping with its mission to be a forum to promote the exchange of ideas, information, and experience, AOCS has provided numerous opportunities for those in the biodiesel field to share knowledge, including two international congresses on biodiesel. Technical specialist Gina Clapper has been instrumental in coordinating the development and approval of new biodiesel test methods. Clapper also has taken leadership roles within International Organization for Standardization activities and the Biodiesel Expert Panel of the AOCS.

The Iowa Soybean Association, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Nebraska Soybean Association. When NBB issued a call to action for the biodiesel industry to submit comments to EPA on its proposed renewable fuels standard rules, soybean farmers answered the call. These three organizations generated more than a third of the 8,000 comments biodiesel supporters submitted regarding the proposed standard.

"The biodiesel industry is blessed with many champions and true believers," said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. "Each of these winners has helped carry the biodiesel torch, fostering understanding, mentoring others and encouraging broader use of a cleaner burning, sustainable fuel."
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