By Ron Kotrba | January 18, 2012

Ever since biodiesel’s commercial inception, the industry has been limited by feedstock. Several years ago, when only 25 MMgy of U.S. biodiesel was being produced, a theoretical maxim of 2 or 3 billion gallons may have been of little concern. Now, with a record year of production nearing a billion gallons in the books, feedstock limitation becomes a serious consideration, one that cannot be ignored. This is why we are focusing on feedstock in this issue, which is being distributed at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Articles on growing the feedstock base, and various pretreatment techniques allowing the utilization of less desirable waste materials, are featured in the pages of this magazine. In his featured article, Associate Editor Bryan Sims asks, “While biodiesel demand in both on- and off-road applications is likely to remain strong, the issue of whether a sufficient feedstock supply can support growth under RFS2 can’t be ignored, and raises the glaring question: When will the biodiesel industry no longer be marginalized by a 2 or 3 billion gallon feedstock limit?”

For the story, Sims speaks with Gene Gebolys of World Energy, who also chairs the National Biodiesel Board’s feedstock working group, and Alan Weber, partner at Marc-IV Consulting and lead economic advisor to the working group. “In the modeling report, the group determined that it’s possible to reach 3.3 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2022, an increase of 2.5 billion gallons from projected 2010-’11 marketing year levels,” Sims writes. “In this scenario, nearly 80 percent of the increase comes from three feedstocks: soybean oil (31 percent), corn oil (22 percent) and palm fatty acid distillate (26 percent).” Check out the full story on page 28.

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