By Ron Kotrba | January 17, 2013

For those reading this at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, welcome to the show! This is a special year for biodiesel. Not only will the industry grow production to meet this year’s unprecedented 1.28 billion gallon federal standard, but several milestone anniversaries are upon us.

For starters, the National Biodiesel Board turns 20 years old. CEO Joe Jobe details the fantastic history of this young but maturing industry in his excellent column on page 16, “Biodiesel Industry, NBB Celebrate 20 Years.”

Also, the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference represents the 10th national show organized by NBB. The first was in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2004, a small gathering of enthusiasts that grew into the conference and exposition you know and love today.

Finally, this year marks the 10th consecutive year of production for Biodiesel Magazine. Publisher BBI International saw a burgeoning market in biodiesel in the early 2000s and launched Biodiesel Magazine in 2004, published then nine times a year. Since my tenure began in January 2005, I’ve seen great changes in the industry and, coincidentally and consequently, in the only trade journal dedicated exclusively to biodiesel. Growing with biodiesel production volumes, Biodiesel Magazine boosted printing to 12 times a year in 2006 and exploded in girth, reaching telephone book-sized issues in the 2006-’07 time frame. The industry’s, and the magazine’s, slowdown began in 2008-’09, as a confluence of factors came together—feedstock prices spiked, the economy collapsed, Europe shut its doors to subsidized U.S. exports, delayed implementation of RFS2—to contract the industry to near collapse in 2010 after lapse of the $1 tax credit nearly put the final nail in the coffin for the industry, and this magazine. By then I had climbed editorial ranks from staff writer to senior staff writer to editor, and took personally the success or failure of this publication. After the credit was renewed retroactively from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011, the industry saw its greatest year, but it has changed—it has become leaner, more serious. Again, the magazine followed suit. Now published bimonthly, Biodiesel Magazine is leaner, meaner and scrappier than ever, ready to grow with this fine industry again.

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