Fueling the Biodiesel Bandwagon

By Ben Wootten | March 23, 2010
Fuel is our business. We know nothing moves without some source of power or energy. For our industry, the power to grow is fueled by the financial investments made possible through the NBB. The examples are almost limitless:

Health effects testing supported by our trade
association allows biodiesel to be a legally traded
commercial fuel

Outreach efforts grew the fuel to retail and
supply markets

Regulatory efforts helped secure the original
biodiesel tax incentive

Engine research demonstrates the performance
benefits and carbon mitigation of biodiesel

Life-cycle analysis proves biodiesel sustainability

Communications has captured public opinion
and counteracted misinformation that threatened
to undo the industry

Coordination efforts have placed biodiesel at the
forefront of air quality efforts

The list could fill up this entire magazine, but the exponential growth through 2008 was powered by these efforts. The strategic vision NBB members implemented cut the path for biodiesel growth and expansion.

A poignant example is RFS2. The initial rule all but excluded biodiesel. In response, NBB launched an intensive information and fact-finding effort. A team of industry experts waded through the 400-plus page U.S. EPA rule, offering insight and guidance and identifying weaknesses and inaccuracies. At the same time leaders in land use trend analysis, economic forecasting and environmental impacts assembled fact-based data to counter false assumptions included in the proposed rule. That effort ultimately provided the reliable scientific data that turned the tables and ensured biodiesel qualified to participate in the program.

Now our industry is at a transition point. For the first time, annual U.S. biodiesel production decreased. The factors that led to the downturn were many, but our response must be singular. We must continue to stand behind biodiesel. We must continue to facilitate the investments in research, outreach, and coordination that clear the way to new markets and expanded use. We must recognize that now, more than ever, the foundation supporting the fragile industry must be maintained.

Funding for critical programs is derived from several resources. Not any one would be as effective without the others. All are absolutely essential as we move towards our "5x15" goal and beyond. Every day more users, customers, and supporters are getting aboard the biodiesel bandwagon and ongoing support is critical to fuel the industry to reach its full potential.
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