Back In Production

TBI was idle for 2 months at the end of 2014 due to lack of the biodiesel tax credit and a lack of guidance from the EPA on the RFS volumes for biodiesel.  With the tax credit retroactively renewed for 2014, we are back in production for 2015.

We are once again producing SME and FAME biodiesel for bulk blenders, fleets, and retail sales in blends of B99 or B20.  Other custom blends are available upon request.

We thank you for your continued support of Triangle Biofuels and look forward to a productive year in 2015.


Press Release: 11 Reasons Why You Should Invest in the Biodiesel Industry

March 28, 2013
11 Reasons Why You Should Invest in the Biodiesel Industry

GRAND FORKS, ND – (Mar. 28, 2013) – Below is breakdown of the latest, sourced information as to why investment in biodiesel is a sound decision written by Ron Kotrba, Editor of Biodiesel Magazine.


  1. Jump in on a growing market: The U.S. biodiesel industry is poised for its most profitable, successful year yet in 2013 with expected record-breaking production volumes thanks in part to the increased federal biomass-based diesel requirement of 1.28 billion gallons (28 percent higher than 2012), the $1 per gallon tax credit and rebounding D4 RIN prices. In addition, favorable blend economics indicate that obligated parties under the renewable fuel standard (RFS2) will find it economically advantageous* to blend U.S. biodiesel over Brazilian sugarcane ethanol to meet their advanced biofuel obligations (2.75 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons), over and above the biomass-based diesel volume requirements, suggesting the possibility of domestic biodiesel production significantly exceeding 1.28 billion gallons. *farmdoc daily
  2. Sustainable 10-year growth plan: IHS Global Insight conducted a modeling report for the National Biodiesel Board to help guide EPA with its yearly biodiesel RVO under RFS2 and, in the modeling report, the group determined that there will be enough feedstock available to reach 3.3 billion gallons of U.S. biodiesel production by 2022. Read article
  3. The National Biodiesel Board unveiled a new industry target in February 2013, named 10×22, an aggressive but achievable goal that calls for biodiesel to make up 10 percent of the U.S. diesel fuel supply by 2022. Read article
  4. Engine makers support biodiesel, why not you? All major OEMs producing diesel vehicles for the U.S. market support at least B5 and lower blends and 79 percent of U.S. manufacturers now support B20 or higher biodiesel blends in at least some of their equipment.
    Source: NBB OEM support document, Sept. 2012
  5. No blend wall here: While the ethanol industry struggles with hitting its blend wall, biodiesel penetration in the 2012 U.S. diesel fuel supply was only 1.9 percent. Given that all major OEMs support B5, achieving a 5 percent biodiesel penetration rate would mean nearly 3 billion gallons of biodiesel production (almost three times greater than 2012 production volumes). Moreover, nearly all the biodiesel used in the U.S. today is consumed by heavy-duty applications, a growing number of which support B20. To reach 20 percent penetration, the U.S. would need to produce 11.5 billion gallons of biodiesel, 10 times more than produced last year. Read article
  6. Global ethanol and biodiesel consumption combined will reach 135 billion gallons by 2018.
    Source: Global Industry Analysts Inc.
  7. Biodiesel quality continues to improve: The latest NREL quality survey results announced February 2013 at the National Biodiesel Conference show a record 97 percent of the biodiesel on the market today is within ASTM D6751 specifications. Read article
  8. 68 percent of U.S. and Canadian biodiesel productive capacity is BQ-9000-certified, meaning strict quality controls are in place—of the approximately 3 billion gallons of productive capacity in the U.S. and Canada, 1.84 billion gallons is BQ-9000-certified versus 1.24 billion gallons that is not.
    Source: 2013 Biodiesel Plant Map and the BQ-9000 site of certified producers.
  9. Greenhouse gas emissions will continue to tighten globally, and EPA has determined that biodiesel from waste achieves more than 80 percent GHG reduction compared to the fossil diesel baseline, while biodiesel made from soybean oil achieves greater than 50 percent GHG reductions.
    Source: EPA
  10. Assurance in the market: Obligated parties, third-party quality assurance plan (QAP) providers, the biodiesel industry and government have worked together to restructure the RIN program to provide more security against potential fraud. A proposed QAP rule was issued in January and a final rule is expected midyear. The proposal offers obligated parties an affirmative defense against civil liabilities from buying, trading or retiring bad RINs, and includes one option that also relieves obligated parties from paying for the replacement of any invalid RINs.
    Source: U.S. EPA
  11. Supporting biodiesel supports economic growth: The biodiesel industry spent an estimated $4.3 billion to produce 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2012, without the $1 per gallon federal tax credit in place all year. The biodiesel industry supported approximately 64,000 jobs in 2012, once again without the $1 per gallon tax credit. With the credit, it would have supported another 19,200, totaling more than 83,000 jobs.
    Source: NBB Fueling Action View document

About Biodiesel Magazine:
Biodiesel Magazine is a bi-monthly trade journal dedicated to objective, independent coverage of biodiesel news, events and information relevant to the global industry. With editorial focus on U.S. and international methyl ester manufacturing, trade, distribution and markets, Biodiesel Magazine also provides valuable insight into feedstock and market share competition from the non-ester renewable diesel sector. Biodiesel Magazine is owned by BBI International.

Contact Information
John Nelson
Email Contact

Why NC is not the place for biofuels compared to other states.

North Carolina, in spite of having a lofty goal stated in the North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership that by 2017, 10% of liquid fuels sold in North Carolina will come from biofuels locally grown and produced”, is not the best place in the South to start a biofuels company.

Why?  Because other states have better incentives for you to build it there.   I recently had a discussion with a member from the NC Biofuels Center regarding what NC could do to provide better incentive for companies to build biofuel plants in NC.  I told him, simply, “Tell the NC legislature to just copy South Carolina’s”.  That’s it.  Really.

See, NC doesn’t have any production credits for biofuels producers, and no consumer credits for actually using it.  South Carolina does.  See:  Specifically, retailers can get a .25 credit for every gallon of biodiesel sold in SC.  (That’s what Flying J was doing, selling our biodiesel at truck stops in South Carolina before the $1.00 per gallon federal tax credit expired, and Pilot bought them and canceled the program).

Biofuels Retail Incentive

Ethanol retailers selling fuel blends of at least 70% ethanol (E70) are eligible for a $0.05 incentive for each gallon of ethanol blended fuel sold, provided that the fuel is subject to the South Carolina motor fuel user fee. Additionally, biodiesel retailers are eligible for a $0.25 incentive for each gallon of biodiesel (B100) sold as pure biodiesel or as part of a biodiesel blend, provided that the blend contains at least 2% biodiesel (B2). These incentives apply only to fuel sold before July 1, 2012. Biodiesel fuel is defined as a fuel for motor vehicle diesel engines comprised of vegetable oils or animal fats and meeting ASTM specifications D6751 or D975. (Reference South Carolina Code of Laws 12-63-20)

This credit, all by itself, would provide a huge boost to retail sales of biodiesel (and ethanol, but we don’t care much about that at TBI since we only make biodiesel) in North Carolina.

Additionally, a producer tax credit, which would make us hugely competitive with neighboring states would also help us:

Biofuels Production Tax Credit

Qualified corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel producers are eligible for an income tax credit of $0.20 per gallon of fuel produced through 2016. Producers using feedstocks other than corn or soy oil are eligible for $0.30 per gallon tax credit. An eligible production facility must be operating at a production rate of at least 25% of its name plate design capacity and must maintain that production rate for at least six months, before denaturing, on or before December 31, 2011. The credit is allowed for up to 60 months beginning with the first month for which the facility is eligible to receive the credit and ending before December 31, 2016. Beginning January 1, 2017, the credit changes to $0.075 per gallon of fuel produced. The credit may be carried forward for ten years. Additional restrictions apply. (Reference South Carolina Code of Laws 12-6-3600)

This credit would help us offset the lack of a federal tax credit, and make us more competitive with other states that are importing biodiesel in to NC.  Remember that lofty goal I mentioned above?  It says that our 10% offset of liquid fuels in this state are to be “from biofuels locally grown and produced”.   We’re not doing that. The state of NC is currently purchasing biodiesel to meet it’s state contract obligations for biofuels by purchasing biodiesel that is made outside of NC.   Why?  Because it’s cheaper.

Oh, and South Carolina has a biodiesel mandate for all state owned vehicles:

State Agency Biodiesel Blend Mandate

All state-owned diesel fueling facilities must provide fuel containing at least 5% biodiesel (B5) at all diesel pumps. (Reference South Carolina Code of Laws 12-63-30)

If you’re a NC legislator and are reading this blog (please let me know! I’d be impressed), why isn’t North Carolina doing more to improve the production capacity of our own state biofuels plants?

If you’re just an ordinary tax-paying citizen like me.  Please call or write your state representative and ask them to “please copy South Carolina’s biofuels incentive program”, and point them to this blog article.  You can find your state representatives here:  Look for “Who Represents Me?” down at the bottom right and enter your zip code.

Biodiesel Plants in US. Source NBB - 2006

Federal Grants for Biodiesel Being Revoked?

Last week I received an email from the grant administrator for a Department of Energy (DOE) grant we had been awarded in 2009.  The grant was awarded in June of 2009 but was being held up because of a new review process to determine if the funds were going to legitimate plants that were meeting federal requirements for fuel quality.  Fair enough.  However, almost 9 months later, I still have received no funds.  Hard to plan equipment purchases, contracting, and employee hiring under those circumstances, eh?

But the latest email I received last week told me that upon further review, we were not being awarded the grant money after all because we did not meet the criteria for renewable energy and sustainability.  What?!  We’re a biodiesel plant.  We take waste cooking oil, and turn it into a fuel you can burn in your truck.  How is THAT not renewable?  How is THAT not sustainable?

Rest assured, I was told, we were not the only applicant to be denied.  The other 4 biofuel plants in NC were also denied under similar circumstances.  Well, at least I wasn’t being singled out…

So what does that tell us?  It tells us that there is a policy shift going on somewhere in Washington.  Either they don’t actually have the money to fund the grants, and are delaying the awards until they do; or somebody somewhere decided that grant funds should be going to a different group than biofuels.

Regardless, I was encouraged to “repurpose” my grant application and resubmit it, which I quickly did; hoping that it will be received and accepted under whatever ethereal guidelines determine its worthiness.  Fingers crossed.

Oddly enough, I am in the middle of drafting a grant proposal for 2010 funds that will fall under the very same guidelines.   Wonder what will happen to this one.  For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t until I was knee deep in this process), writing a grant proposal is not a trivial process.  It has a certain structure, must meet certain criteria, takes time to write, requires money for subconsultants and engineers to develop your grant proposal basis (in my case energy and thermal calculations), and time and effort to get quotes from installation contractors and equipment suppliers.  All of this effort for something you may not even get awarded to you.  Couple that, with the review process taking longer than expected (which means the vendor quotes you got, which are typically only good for 90 days, are no longer valid), and it makes it very difficult indeed to use grant money to fund anything that is critical (or maybe even useful) for business operations.

So, the trick is to write a grant proposal for something that is nice to have, but not something you absolutely need to have, unless you are a patient person (which I am not).   Unfortunately, we’re still in the “need to have” phase.  We need these funds in order to expand.  We are able to grow.  Other plants are going out of business, and I’m trying to expand, in the worse economic period in recent history.

We have a government that pledges it will support biofuels, and says it wants to support small business.  Great.

So it creates grants to provide funding but doesn’t ever award them, provides stimulus money to banks that won’t lend it to consumers, and won’t renew tax incentives for biofuels to encourage producers to make it and consumers to buy it (see other rants here in my blog about that one).

It is not yet clear what is going on in Washington around biofuels.  I’m in a microcosm.  I really only follow politics related to stuff that affects my bottom line.  Maybe EVERYBODY is dealing with this because as a country we’re broke.  I don’t know.  But hopefully there will be a change here soon so that we can get back to business.

We have the ability to make a domestic product right here in the USA.  Not many of us factories left here.  I want to add jobs.  We make a renewable product from a waste stream.  We make a product that burns 80% cleaner than petroleum.  We have a plant that is making this product right now, right here, using existing technology.  This isn’t a “pilot” project, or a “theoretical model”.  It’s here, now.

Just exactly what else would we need to be in order to be more attractive to government policy makers?

Biodiesel Pump

Biodiesel Pump

100 Days and Counting

Congress is on its Easter recess until April 12.   Today was the 100th day since the tax expired.   Meanwhile, plants across the US are idled, or out of business.  In NC, two biodiesel plants are still in operation, out of 8.

Triangle Biofuels is one of them, producing about 2 truckloads a week currently.   But without the tax credit, we cannot continue to operate unless the commodities market inverts (vegetable oil being cheaper than petroleum).

The second jobs bill that has the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel for 2010 awaits action by the House Ways and Means Committee.  The bill, H.R. 4213, is called the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act.

There is some buzz, mostly rumors I hope, that the large Ag concerns are lobbying hard for congress NOT TO PASS the bill anytime soon in order to weed out the small biodiesel plants.   It’d be easy to play up on that from the conspiracy theory standpoint, but it’s gossip as far as I know.  The evidence sure seems to point that way though.

Want to help?  Email, call, or write your senator and congressman and ask him/her why they haven’t moved HR 4213 into law.