Back to Orlando: what's changed since 2008

While the location and the Super Bowl teams are the same as they were at the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, much has changed in the industry since then.
By Ron Kotrba | January 25, 2012

It was four years ago that the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo was held in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms, and in two weeks, we’ll all be there again.

I look forward to the occasion, as always, starting with the Super Bowl party Sunday night. Oddly enough, it’s the very same matchup we saw four years ago in Orlando: the New England Patriots vs. the New York Giants.

While the location of the conference and the Super Bowl contenders will offer moments of déjà vu, the biodiesel industry has certainly matured since the tail end of the boom days four years ago.

What’s changed?

- Well, obviously, the industry is operating now for the second extended duration since 2008 without the federal blender credit

- RFS2 is in full effect and working as intended

- The financial crisis and downturn in the economy, and in the industry, has forced biodiesel producers to become more efficient, more business savvy, and there’s many more multifeedstock producers today than there were four years ago

- There’s real, substantive efforts being led by the National Biodiesel Board to expand the biomass-based diesel mandate to 2.5 billion gallons by 2017, starting with an EPA-proposed 1.3 billion gallon mandate for next year

- Significant nonfood feedstock developments are helping pave the way for increased biodiesel production, allowing for the responsible growth mentioned above

- We had a record year of production in 2008, nearly 700 million gallons, which was steamrolled by 2011 production volumes still being tallied

- All biodiesel has been deemed an advanced biofuel by EPA, meaning it achieves a minimum of 50 percent greenhouse gas emissions reductions compared to the baseline petroleum diesel

These are just a few of the many changes the past four years have brought. Feel free to add to this list by posting your comments below.