The biodiesel industry, then and now: 2010 uncertainties settled for 2011

By | January 12, 2011

In February 2010, the biodiesel industry was facing nothing but questions. RFS2 had just been released mere days before the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, the biodiesel tax incentive had been expired more than a month with a very unclear legislative path, and the production outlook for the industry was not a positive one.

This February the industry is coming together at the conference with a whole different outlook. The RFS2 is beginning its first full year as a real program with clearly defined parameters, the biodiesel tax incentive has been passed and signed into law through the end of the year, and the production outlook shows 2011 could bring record production numbers for the biodiesel industry. What a difference a year makes.

New National Biodiesel Board Governing Board Chairman Gary Haer, of biodiesel producer Renewable Energy Group Inc., says that with all the uncertainty out of the way from 2010, the biodiesel industry is in as good a position as it has ever been.

“Last year the industry was facing a very uncertain future,” Haer said. “This year the market is bullish and moving forward.”

Much of that certainty comes from biodiesel’s position as an advanced biofuel in EPA’s statutory definitions as part of the RFS2. Biodiesel is poised to fill a significant portion of the 1.35 billion gallon advanced biofuel market created by the RFS2 in 2011, and producers stand ready to meet that demand. With all the uncertainties out of the way that the industry was facing this time last year, the biodiesel industry can now get back to what it does best—producing a renewable, cleaner-burning, domestic, advanced biofuel.

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