The 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo ran Jan. 25-28 in Tampa, Fla. Hosted by the National Biodiesel Board, the conference drew in over 1,000 supporters and industry leaders from coast to coast. Here are some highlights.
As the biodiesel conference began, the EPA released the numbers showing that US consumers used a record of nearly 2.1 billion gallons of Biodiesel in 2015. According to NBB CEO Joe Jobe, the numbers “show without question that the Renewable Fuel Standard is delivering significant volumes of Advanced Biofuel to the American people.” Industry leaders said that the numbers demonstrate biodiesel’s continued success as America’s first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide.
“While the overall numbers are positive, we are increasingly seeing subsidized, predatory imports undercutting U.S. production – in part by taking advantage of US policies aimed at building up the domestic industry,” Jobe said. “This is exactly what we have been warning would happen, and it will continue until we take steps to level the playing field, including by reforming the biodiesel tax incentive as a domestic production credit.”
NBB has urged Congress to reform the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive from a blender’s credit to a producer’s credit. Under the existing blender’s structure, biodiesel that is produced overseas and blended in the U.S. is increasingly taking advantage of the incentive, sending U.S. tax benefits to foreign producers. Most of the imports already receive valuable incentives overseas, while US companies are typically barred from taking advantage of those overseas incentives.
One of the leading events of the national conference is NBB CEO Joe Jobe’s state of the industry address. Jobe compared the biodiesel industry to an underdog in a fight. “Last year the biodiesel industry demonstrated more than ever that no matter how beat up we are, no matter how outgunned we are, we don’t back down. We came together like never before. We stayed true to our principles in the face of deceitful attacks and we achieved the success necessary to put us back on track.” Citing the major accomplishments of 2015 including the renewal and extension of the tax credit, and the RFS increasing volumes through 2017, Jobe said that “2016 is going to be our strongest year yet.”
The Vehicle Showcase brought a welcome announcement that Peterbilt and Kenworth manufacturer, PACCAR Inc., now approves of B20 biodiesel in one hundred percent of its vehicles, old and new. This announcement means that over 100,000 new trucks are joining the biodiesel ranks, traveling over twelve billion miles year round. For their efforts, Joe Jobe presented PACCAR with the Eye on Biodiesel Initiative Award.
Bioheat typically plays a notable role at the conference and this year was no exception.
Industry veteran John Maniscalco won the association’s Pioneer Award. For more than twenty years Maniscalco served as the head of the New York Oil Heating Association. The award noted he has been at the forefront of leadership in the heating oil industry, serving as the first treasurer of the National Oilheat Research Alliance before his time at NYOHA. He’s also been at the forefront of the industry’s move to Bioheat®, biodiesel in home heating. He was instrumental in New York City implementing legislation for B2 heating oil citywide. New York City continues to be a Bioheat® leader in the Northeast on both policy and public perception when it comes to cleaning up heating oil.