The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry kicks off the first ever Virtual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo this week. The temporary move from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering has not dampened spirits, however, as the outlook for America’s sustainable petroleum diesel replacement remains strong among environmental regulators, biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, and marketers.

In his annual State of the Industry address, themed “Rise 2021,” National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen pointed to several factors contributing to increased demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

“Last year we unveiled Vision 2020, our plan to grow to over six billion gallons by the year 2030, and, with advancements in feedstocks, 15 billion gallons by 2050,” he said. “The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry believes, with strong data I might add, we will have the production and market demand to reach this previously unimaginable goal by 2030.”

Specifically, Rehagen said states across the country have embraced sustainable fuels as part of their own efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions within their borders. Those efforts took on greater significance during the pandemic as Americans witnessed natural reduction of smog and pollution from drivers staying home and using less petroleum.

Beyond the growth in demand for traditional biodiesel and renewable diesel in on-road and off-road transportation applications, the increasing use of Bioheat® as an oilheat replacement, as well as interest in renewable jet fuels, are expanding new markets for the industry.

Rehagen also reminded virtual attendees that at last year’s conference in Tampa, the industry was celebrating the recently reinstated biodiesel tax incentive, which continues to encourage growth.

“By renewing the biodiesel tax incentive through 2022, Congress sent a strong signal that it supports growth in the biodiesel market and provided a much-needed economic lifeline to biodiesel producers and farmers across this country,” he said.

“At the beginning of 2020, markets began to reflect our ambitious industry goals. We saw biodiesel production reach more than 130 million gallons in the first month and a wave of corporations announced their commitments to carbon reduction, including Amazon, Walmart, Ikea, Pepsi, McDonalds, and many others.”

Those factors have the industry on target to achieve the Vision of six billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel by 2030, Rehagen added. And that demand will require equivalent increases in feedstocks that will unfold as related markets rise to meet global demands.

“The continued growing demand for animal protein alone, driven by worldwide population growth, will lead to increased fats and oils in the market available for industrial uses,” Rehagen said. “Our U.S. farmers will continue to lead the way in feeding this growing population and we will use the additional availability of vegetable oils, used cooking oil, and animal fats that comes with it.”

The virtual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo concludes on Thursday. Next year’s conference will mark the 30th anniversary of the biodiesel industry with plans to meet in Las Vegas, January 17-20, 2022.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel and renewable diesel are better, cleaner fuels that are available now for use in existing diesel engines without modification. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.