Biodiesel supporters kicked off a yearlong celebration of the National Biodiesel Board’s 25th anniversary at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Fort Worth, Texas, January 22-25. In the spirit of the significant milestone, here are the Top 25 Takeaways from the event, which drew hundreds of registrants from across the country and around the world.
Celebrating the Drive
- The conference theme this year was driven, with plenty of related activities.
- A hot-off-the-line diesel Ford F-150 pickup truck stole the show, with attendees among the first anywhere to see one in person. The new B20-ready pickup truck will be available this spring.
- Along with the Ford, a Vehicle Showcase featured offerings from General Motors, John Deere, Caterpillar and Optimus Technologies.
- A semi-truck that runs on 100 percent biodiesel dominated the mainstage, serving as backdrop and screen.
- The Biodiesel Ride & Drive allowed attendees to take a spin in new diesel vehicles around Fort Worth.
- NBB invited petroleum representatives to engage on common issues like the Renewable Fuel Standard. American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers CEO Chet Thompson, SIGMA CEO Ryan McNutt, and Rob Underwood with the Petroleum Marketers of America Association joined NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen on the mainstage. Underwood told attendees: “Petroleum is in our name but we are not married to it….with biodiesel, there’s room for growth.”
- A federal policy panel lauded the teamwork of NBB members in defeating an EPA effort to backtrack on the RFS last year.
- NBB COO Doug Whitehead received a standing ovation for his work in uniting members and leading the federal affairs office through the RFS and trade challenges during a time of transition.
- Kurt Kovarik received a warm welcome as NBB’s new Vice President of Federal Affairs. “I am 12 days on the job, but I am no stranger to you, having supported biodiesel along side my former boss, Sen. Chuck Grassley, every step of the way,” he said.
- Conference organizers credited collaboration with generous sponsors like Targray, Renewable Energy Group, HERO BX, ADM and many others for making the event possible!
Celebrating the Spotlight
- The makers of the Discovery Channel biodiesel documentary “Hot Grease” showed clips and participated in a panel discussion on the film, a year in the making.
- A new book, “The Biodiesel Solution,” by HERO BX CEO Pat Black, went into every attendee bag.
- Live and silent auctions put the spotlight on the National Biodiesel Foundation, raising over $18,000 dollars for educational programs and scholarships.
- A 25th Anniversary Gala celebrated 25 years of biodiesel, with a spectacular drumline performance, build-your-own cupcake bar and commemorative engraved wine glasses to help attendees celebrate.
- Missed out? The conference blog shines with content, including interviews, stories, photos and more.
Celebrating Science and Sustainability
- Student scientists showcased their work on biodiesel as part of NBB’s Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program, with a poster session in Conference Central, and a student-led breakout session.
- Andrea Pratt with the City of Seattle spoke to attendees about the city’s sustainability program, taking home this year’s Climate Leadership Award for B20 use.
- Ford’s Dominic DiCicco discussed the company’s robust sustainability efforts, including soy foam seats and B20 biodiesel compatibility. “Ford is committed to reducing our carbon footprint,” he said.
- A session on biodiesel as a driving force in the economy showed how in 2017, the U.S. biodiesel industry used more than six billion pounds of soybean oil and another six billion pounds of other fats and oils, creating important demand for agricultural products and byproducts.
- “To grow enough protein to feed the world, we’re going to have to use more biofuels – or find another large-scale industrial use for the leftover plant oil.”
Celebrating the Future
- Industry leaders reaffirmed the RFS provides a roadmap for growth of advanced biofuels like biodiesel, as we bring more American-made, renewable, low-carbon fuels into the market.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says he is proud to be among those supporting 64,000 jobs across the country.
- The closing session, “A Quarter Century and Counting!” brought together renewable fuels leadership from organizations including NBB, biodiesel producers ADM and REG, the Advanced Biofuels Association, Growth Energy, and Fuels America, predicting continued growth into the future.
- NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen told attendees: “WE did this. WE made this possible. And now WE have to continue to build it. Yes, there will be challenges… but aren’t challenges where WE shine?!”
- NBB Chair Kent Englebrecht told attendees: “We went from zero to 3 billion gallons in 25 years; there is no telling what’s next. We are at a tipping point, on the verge of greatness. Anything is possible.”
Based in Jefferson City, Missouri, the National Biodiesel Board is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to coordinating the biodiesel industry and educating the public about the fuel.