(SAN DIEGO) –Hundreds of biodiesel leaders from across the country gathered in San Diego, California this week to ENGAGE in thought provoking discussions to help advance America’s advanced biofuel. During the conference, the National Biodiesel Board celebrated the many accomplishments and milestones of 2018, and got attendees excited about biodiesel’s future in 2019 and beyond.
To honor this year’s theme of ENGAGE, here are some of the major takeaways from the memorable conference:
E – Educate: One of the main goals of the conference is to educate attendees on all things biodiesel and biodiesel related. In order to do that, NBB put together a jam-packed schedule with engaging speakers to offer key information on the latest in the industry. One of the educational sessions was Biodiesel 101, which gave attendees all the basics they needed to know about the biodiesel industry. NBB also hosted sessions on educating the consumer, such as Riding for the Brand, a session designed to share how biodiesel companies can help America’s Advanced Biofuel stand out in a growing field of options for consumers.
N – Navigate: While there is still policy uncertainty, biodiesel experts from across the country shared essential insights to help attendees navigate expectations for the coming years. A focus for many of our biodiesel leaders is federal and state policy, and the impacts they are making in the industry. “It has always been NBB’s strategy to help establish state and regional policies to compliment the federal policies that shape our industry’s market,” says NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen.
During the conference, NBB made sure to cover all policy bases and shared updated information on what 2019 looks like for America’s Advanced Biofuel. The Renewable Fuel Standard, trade, tax incentive, low carbon fuel policies, and Minnesota’s B20 state standard were amongst topics covered.
“Showing our strength, getting down in the trenches and fighting, and securing the support of Congressional allies will continue to be the keys to success,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president of federal affairs.
G – Gather: This year, we had over 800 biodiesel producers, distributors, retailers, and other industry advocates gather in sunny San Diego for the conference. The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo has been a place for biodiesel enthusiasts to gather since 2004. In fact, NBB has hosted in California five times for the annual event. With each conference, attendees have the opportunity to network with other professionals and get business done.
A – Answer: NBB worked extensively to ensure this year’s conference was interactive and answered all attendee questions about the future of biodiesel. During the conference, professional speakers answered key questions about the biodiesel market, new regulations, critical policies, alternative fuels, biodiesel branding, and environmental impacts. Each mainstage session allowed audience members the ability to write in questions to be answered by the on-stage panel, providing key insights to attendees.
G – Next (G)eneration: Each year the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program offers scholarships to college students for an opportunity to participate alongside other industry experts at the conference. The program is intended to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information, and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry. At this year’s conference, scholarship winners had the opportunity to share their extensive biodiesel research during a poster session and held a breakout session, One Small Step: The Next Generation of Biodiesel Scientists, to share their key findings and industry breakthroughs.
“The National Biodiesel Conference is a highlight because I get to meet industry experts, hear about key biodiesel issues, and gain a better understanding of the industry dynamics,” said Shyam Paudel, NGSB Co-Chair and student of Missouri University of Science and Technology. “I got the opportunity to present my research and validate my hypothesis by talking to chemists, plant managers, and other biodiesel leaders. Through conversation, I gained insights into the biodiesel supply chain and how policy like the biodiesel tax credit affects the market.”
E – Environment: The environment is always top of mind at the National Biodiesel Conference. Biodiesel’s goal is to promote and advance biodiesel use through sustainable initiatives and practices. Integral sessions discussed how biodiesel companies can commit to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions and advance affordable, domestic renewable fuels to clean the environment.
To close out the conference, NBB went out with a bang in the final session, “To 2022 and Beyond: Renewable Fuels in the Next Decade.” Influential renewable fuel industry leaders discussed the Renewable Fuel Standard and what is on the horizon for 2020.
“Opponents of the RFS early on thought that sustainability might be a weakness to exploit. We knew that was wrong, that science was on our side – but we hadn’t galvanized biodiesel’s sustainability story with the data, research, and scientific thought leaders we needed to counter our opponents’ emotion-based attacks,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “We knew the bombs hurled at biodiesel had little to do with actual facts, but we had to have more than that to defend our fuel.”
Guest speakers for the session included Emily Skor, Growth Energy chief executive officer; Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO; Donnell Rehagen National Biodiesel Board chief executive officer; and Doug Whitehead National Biodiesel Board chief operations officer.
If you missed anything during the conference, please visit the conference blog for detailed content including informative interviews, stories, photos, and more.
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors, as well as the U.S. renewable diesel industry.
For more information on the National Biodiesel Conference, please visit www.biodieselconference.org