Clean Cities coalitions, industry partners host Texas workshops

By Bryan Sims | January 19, 2012

Clean Cities coalitions in Texas have partnered with Renewable Energy Group Inc. and Omaha, Neb.-based wholesale biodiesel distributor Bosselman Energy to co-host four workshops in four different cities throughout the state to educate downstream stakeholders in the industry on a variety of topics, including new blending opportunities, quality management, as well as promoting business networking opportunities.

The workshops made stops in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio Jan. 16-19. Fleet managers, petroleum distributors, fuel retailers, Texas Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association members and public and private fleet managers were urged to attend the events.

Stacy Neef, coordinator for the Central Texas Clean Cities Coalition who helped organize the workshop in Austin, said the key topics discussed were highlighted by REG representatives about how the nation’s largest biodiesel producer has been able to develop its own biodiesel quality standard. REG owns and operates a 35 MMgy biodiesel production facility in the Houston suburb of Seabrook, Texas.

“That was interesting,” Neef told Biodiesel Magazine, “how [REG] has been able to create their own [quality] standard according to cloud point based on the different feedstocks used.”

Neef said an interesting statistic that she was able to take away from the workshop was a figure that Will O’Connor, fuels and fleet program manager for the city Austin, presented. According to Neef, O’Connor stated that in 2010 more than 1 million gallons of B20 was used in the city’s on- and off-road equipment and vehicle fleets. In 2011, it’s estimated that 2 million gallons of B20 would be used, according to Neef, adding that this information was compiled as part of a survey conducted by the Texas Clean Cities coalitions.

Additionally, Neef said that O’Connor explained lessons learned by the city of Austin regarding implementation of B20 in on- and off-road city vehicle and equipment fleets and how stringent quality and control programs were established as a result of the increased use of B20. Representatives from Bosselman Energy also spoke about how they can help fleets determine infrastructure adjustments to better accommodate increased biodiesel use, as well highlighting instate incentives for alternative fuels, tax credits and what could be expected out of the next legislative session in 2013.

The workshops follow on the heels of an announcement made by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in December, which introduced new guidelines that allow biodiesel to be added to any compliant fuel at any ratio.

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