NBB leader speaks at Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit

By | January 01, 2006
Biodiesel and ethanol shared the spotlight at the 2005 Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit (CRFS) on Dec. 13-15 in Toronto, where nearly 400 gathered for topical presentations, lively discussions and unique opportunities to network with clients and colleagues north of the border.

On the first day of the summit, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe was among the speakers who addressed a mostly Canadian crowd at the historic Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Highlighting NBB priorities affecting the Canadian biodiesel industry, Jobe said the association is focused on establishing unity among feedstock groups in North America and working closely with the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) on mutual industry objectives. He also discussed the U.S. industry's landmark policy achievements and ensuing production capacity build-out in 2005. "For us, agriculture has been a primary driver ," Jobe said, adding later that the environmental objectives of the Kyoto Protocol-and not necessarily agriculture and energy security-are driving biodiesel and ethanol developments in Canada. "Someone recently said this industry is all about the 'green' in Canada. It took me a second to realize it wasn't money this person was referring to," Jobe quipped. "The money here isn't green anyway. The 'green' is the environment."

The U.S. biodiesel industry sold approximately 75 MMgy of biodiesel into the market in 2005-three times what it tallied in 2004-and there's more than half a billion gallons of production capacity on the drawing board, Jobe told the CRFS audience. In addition, imported biodiesel and so-called "agri-biodiesel" is eligible for the U.S. biodiesel excise tax credit (see "The Port of Pandora," page 40), and biodiesel originating in Ecuador and Canada did enter the United States in 2005. "We have some import/export issues to talk about," Jobe mentioned casually, suggesting that the NBB and CRFA create a joint task force to continue talking about trade issues. Later, during a Q&A session with the audience, Jobe suggested the availability of biodiesel feedstocks may be a factor that someday hinders the expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry. "We could eventually be looking at a situation where [seed crops] from Canada and other places [are required]," he said.

With cold flow issues being a major challenge for biodiesel in Canada, the establishment of stringent fuel quality standards is a crucial industry objective there. Jobe said the NBB's own program, BQ-9000, has been adopted by the CRFA. "In some ways, [the Canadian biodiesel industry] has embraced it more enthusiastically than the U.S. industry has," he said.

In addition to plenary session discussions related to biodiesel policy and project financing, the CRFS included biodiesel panel discussions on emerging technologies, fleet use and feedstock selection. Next year's CRFS will be held in Calgary, Alberta.
-Staff Report
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