Welcome to the National Biodiesel Conference

By | January 15, 2009
This issue of Biodiesel Magazine will be at the sixth annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Francisco. In fact, you may be there, reading this in the expo hall or just before the general session. You may have already nursed that golf tournament sunburn, attended a pre-conference seminar or cheered your favorite NFL team to a Super Bowl victory. Bottom line, this is the largest biodiesel conference in the world, and a great place to meet new people in the industry and reconnect with fellow colleagues.

The biodiesel industry has met a lot of milestones since last year's event, and they will certainly be celebrated in San Francisco. It also faced its share of challenges, and when the conference gets down to business, some common issues will be addressed.

Feedstock prices are still making production difficult, and for this reason, a number of alternative feedstocks emerged over the past year. If you attended last year's conference, you may recall National Biodiesel Board Chief Executive Officer Joe Jobe saying algae would be a major player, and we certainly saw more research and development in that sector.

Expect alternative feedstocks to be the subject of more than one breakout session at the conference.

Policy will be another focus, and in 2009, newly elected President Barack Obama will bring a fresh perspective to U.S. energy policy. This might well be influenced by climate change concerns. As Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen has said, indirect land use may be the new hot-button issue of 2009.

If you were wondering why San Francisco is the host site, check out Staff Writer Erin Voegele's feature, "Biodiesel in The Golden Gate City" on page 44. She details several biodiesel programs underway within the city and admitted to me that she had trouble fitting them all into one story. Indeed, San Francisco, and California in general, has long been in tune with environmentalism, including renewable fuels, which makes it a perfect place for this event.

For those not attending the conference, I recommend considering it for next year. It's a great place to become educated on the many facets of the industry, and afterward, attendees are able to focus on the upcoming year with common goals. At the seventh annual conference, there will surely be many more milestones to celebrate.

Jessica Sobolik
Managing Editor
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