Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Biodiesel In The Beltway

Washington, D.C. - In its mission statement, the National Biodiesel Board has a simple goal. By 2015, the Jefferson City, Mo.-based trade group would like to see 5% of the U.S.' diesel needs met by biodiesel, a fuel made for diesel engines from feedstocks such as animal fats, greases and vegetable oils.

The U.S. goes through 60 billion gallons of diesel annually. In 2007, 500 million gallons of biodiesel were produced. So for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) to complete its 2015 mission, biodiesel production will have to increase at a 29% annualized clip over the next seven years.

Six years ago, biodiesel production stood at just 15 million gallons, implying a headturning 111% yearly growth rate since. But maintaining the momentum will be tough. The industry faces loud skepticism from environmentalists, who fret about biodiesel and byproducts getting dumped into streams, and economists who question whether biofuels can ever be viable without heavy government support.

So a favorable terrain in Washington will be key, as the biodiesel industry's biggest players make clear. In its annual report, for example, biodiesel refiner Nova Biosource Fuels warns investors that the "U.S. biodiesel industry is highly dependent on a myriad of federal and state legislation and regulation."

Full story at