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10 Things You Should Know About The Bio-Diesel Industry in 2017

The production of renewable fuels is on the rise in 2017. Front and center for this new wave of renewable energy are Biodiesel. Biodiesel is a sustainable, renewable fuel for diesel engines that is produced from oils and fats like soybean oil and cooking oil. It is then put through a chemical reaction called transesterification and meets all of the ASTM standards for a quality fuel.

Here are 10 things you should know about the bio-diesel industry in 2017:

1. Biodiesel and biodiesel blends are able to be purchased across the country at over 2,000 public locations. Existing trucks, tanks, and blending facilities can use B20 or lower. This is a huge benefit because it means that the diesel pumps of today do not need to be reconfigured to pump this diesel blend which has 20 percent biodiesel. If fact, major retailers are already selling B10 and B20 blends across the country. The large retailers are able to bypass terminals because they have store-level blending facilities.

2. Biodiesel is produced and distributed where the vast majority of highway fuel is already consumed. This allows for ease of transportation since the facilities that produce it are already on the hub of extensive centers of commerce. Biodiesel is available at terminals in 369 cities, which is only 84 cities less than terminals providing petroleum fuels.  

3. There have been great improvements made in the pipeline access for biodiesel blends. This again will aid immensely in the ease of transporting biodiesel in the near future. Recent ASTM spec changes will allow greater distribution of biodiesel inside multi-product lines. This will, in turn, Lower transportation costs and increase the locations to which biodiesel can be distributed.

4. Biodiesel provides an enormous decrease in overall greenhouse gas emissions by the vehicles which are powered by it. It reduces particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons that linger in the atmosphere from older engines. In short, biodiesel has the lowest carbon footprint of any U.S. Produced Fuel. U.S. biodiesel on average provides an 80 percent Reduction in Carbon Emissions compared to petroleum diesel.

5. GM has more than 2 million diesel-fueled vehicles on the road in the United States and is making all its existing and future diesel vehicles B20 compliant. GM is rolling out with eight new diesel vehicle options that will be hitting the roadways in 2017 – 2018. General Motors also offers a full line of twenty diesel models, including passenger cars, pickups, SUVs, as well as commercial vans and low cab forward trucks. And the important thing is that all of these vehicles are approved for use with B20.

6. A new 7.5 million dollar biodiesel plant has been approved in Brazil. The plant is to be built in Sorriso, Matto Grasso Brazil, by one of the largest domestic grain partners in the country. The plant will have the capacity to produce 285,000 liters of biodiesel per day, making it one of the most efficient uses of grain for energy in the nation of Brazil.  

7. In January, ExxonMobil and Renewable Energy Group agreed to study the production of biodiesel together. As part of their research, they studied fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources like the agricultural waste. REG has even developed a patented technology which uses microbes to change sugars to biodiesel in a fermentation process which only takes one step. The process is similar to ethanol manufacturing. The ExxonMobil and REG Life Sciences research will also focus on using sugars from sources other than food, which will help to reduce the burden on the soil to constantly grown more vegetables from which to derive oils.  

8. In September, “most important technological advance in biodiesel in recent years” was made. This was the first commercial-scale application of Benefuel’s ENSEL technology. It finally achieved commercial-scale in Nebraska, with the startup of the Duonix Beatrice biodiesel plant. ENSEL technology is able to convert a range of lower-cost foodstuffs like recycled cooking oil and distillers corn oil into an advanced, renewable biodiesel.

9. The India Times also reported that the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has deployed 25 Scania buses which run entirely on biodiesel. This was done to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ project. The Times was quoted as saying, “The state road transport organization began trials last year with 10 buses run on 20% biofuel and 80 percent petrodiesel... the results were very encouraging and hence they decided to try and run a bus completely on biodiesel for a few months ago.” The move to Indian-based biodiesel should produce a decrease in dependence on gasoline by 70 percent.

10. Finally, in Iowa, the state’s 2016 biodiesel production broke a record with a total of 297 million gallons, overshadowing 2015’s total 242 million gallons by 55 million gallons. This is a 23 percent increase. Policies at the state level targeted higher biodiesel blends, such as Iowa’s B11 excise tax differential, which helped drive demand. Soybean oil also stayed the largest feedstock for Iowa biodiesel production, at 66 percent. With all of the extra policies in place to help with the production of biodiesel, Iowa is poised to become one of the nation's leading producers of biodiesel by 2025.

Biodiesel holds great promise for America and for the world. It can help usher in a new age of prosperity created by lowering energy costs, and rising numbers of green jobs. The green energy revolution is just getting under way, and biodiesel has a prominent role in that revolutions. 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for biodiesel, but the future looks even brighter.