Well, the convention was extremely informative. I learned quite a bit about the IRS and EPA registration processes that I didn’t know (and did wrong). I also learned about some new processes and equipment that are becoming available. Some of the tips about product quality and how to check and verify for it were well worth the trip.
I also found a good line on some centrifuges that we’ll use to separate components and make our hybrid production process a bit more efficient (and cost effective).
What surprised me the most was how much production is coming online. A total of over 900 million gallons is scheduled to come online this year, that from just 354 million the year before. That’s still a drop in the bucket, but it shows incredible interest in the market.
What did dissapoint me from the conference was the obvious skew towards the big petroleum and big agricultural markets. The show was clearly dedicated to them, with the highest blend of biodiesel mentioned being B20. That’s fine, but there is a very real market for B100 consumers, and practically nobody at the conference really wanted to discuss it. It was all about blending “above the rack”, or above the fuel distribution point where the trucks are loaded at the petroleum refinery. And in most cases, it was about blending B2 or B5.
B2 and B5 will become important to the market this year, when the government removes the sulfur from all diesel fuels sold in the US. Biodiesel will replace the lubricity lost in Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel from removing the sulfur. Still, I’d rather see more emphasis on B100 which has significant improvements in emissions, rather than just augmenting the petroleum industry…