The U.S. biodiesel industry set a new record for annual production through just the first ten months of 2011, according to U.S. EPA figures, “proving the power that strong domestic energy policy has in creating U.S. jobs and boosting the economy,” says the National Biodiesel Board.
Through October, the U.S. industry produced more than 802 million gallons of biodiesel “in plants from Florida to Iowa to Washington State,” NBB reports.
“We could break the billion-gallon mark,” NBB federal communications director Ben Evans told F&F from Washington last week.
The ten-month tally more than doubles last year’s production of some 315 million gallons and shatters the previous annual record of approximately 690 million gallons set in 2008.
U.S biodiesel got a boost as a key $1 per gallon tax incentive was reinstated for 2011. It will expire at year-end unless Congress acts.
“I can say without question that this tax credit has helped us grow our production and hire new people, and it will play a big role in our growth going forward,” Gabe Neeriemer, president of Patriot Biodiesel in Greensboro, N.C. says in an NBB release. “It will affect how many people we can hire, how much feedstock and equipment we buy, how many truckers we put to work delivering fuel,” Neeriemer said.
Patriot was forced to suspend operations when the tax credit expired at the end of 2010. “With the incentive restored this year, the plant is not only back online but is expanding production to about 5 million gallons per year and hiring a half dozen new employees,” NBB says.
NBB Annual Meeting in Orlando in February
“This incentive is working, and particularly in this kind of economy when politicians say they’re doing everything they can to create jobs, I can’t imagine why Congress would allow it to expire,” Neeriemer said.
NBB, citing a study by Cardno-Entrix, says that this year’s increased biodiesel production will support more than 31,000 jobs – up from fewer than 13,000 last year – while generating at least $3 billion in GDP and $628 million in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition to creating jobs and economic activity, biodiesel is reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, bolstering economic and national security by diversifying our fuel supply, and reducing tailpipe pollution and greenhouse gases emissions, NBB says.
NBB 2012, the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, will be held February 5-8 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee ( Orlando), Fla. The biodiesel annual is again being managed by Denver’s Kinsley Meetings.