The biodiesel industry is truly great because of the people in it. This is rarely more evident than this week as the National Biodiesel Board honors industry champions and those who have significantly impacted the industry during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The biodiesel industry is full of inspiring, innovative, pioneers,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB. “It takes the efforts and visionary leadership of many great people to go from next to nothing in 1993 to the fully commercialized advanced biofuel industry that we are today. I’m proud to recognize some of those tremendous leaders and their efforts today.”
NBB recognizes the 2015 “Eye on Biodiesel” award winners this week. The honorees are:
Tom Butcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Brookhaven National Laboratory is one of the premier U.S. DOE national laboratories and the leading technical institution for heating oil research in the world. Butcher is the head of the Energy Conversion Group and has been at Brookhaven for 30 years. He has played an instrumental role in the technical research that has been done over the past six years that formed the basis for the balloting of performance specifications for 6 percent to 20 percent biodiesel blended into traditional heating oil as a new fuel grade in the ASTM D396 fuel oil standard. His groundbreaking work documenting the positive field experience with biodiesel blends and providing the research background were major factors in addressing questions brought up by the NORA/NBB-lead Bioheat Technical Steering Committee.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
Franken of Minnesota has long been a champion for biodiesel in Washington and particularly took a leadership role last year in challenging the EPA’s initial proposal that would have weakened renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes. Franken has helped organize his senate colleagues in holding meetings on the issue with senior administration leaders. He has coordinated advocacy letters from members of congress. And he has spoken out publicly to highlight biodiesel’s benefits in Minnesota and across the country as he fought for a strong RFS. Additionally, Franken has been a consistent and vocal advocate for the biodiesel tax incentive. His advocacy and leadership have been instrumental in helping to develop a policy environment in which biodiesel can continue to grow.
Jerry Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld of Minneapolis-based Greater States Advisors has been instrumental in development, passage and defense of landmark biodiesel legislation in Minnesota since 2000. Without the lobbying expertise and efforts on behalf of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, the state would not have the favorable biodiesel policies that it does today. Successes include a five year process that led to the first in the nation B2 statewide blend requirement passed in 2002 and implemented in 2005. In 2008 the state passed additional legislation to move to B5, which was implemented in 2009, move to B10 which was implemented in July 2014, and B20 on track to be implemented in 2018. The state of Minnesota has long been a leader in the biodiesel industry and much of that is due to these favorable policies.
Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board. Nebraska soybean farmer, and long-time biodiesel advocate, Anderson is considered by many an inspiration for his fulltime devotion to his fellow soybean farmers. He has served in more volunteer roles than can be named, but a few include past chairman of the United Soybean Board, board member on the Nebraska Soybean Board, a long-time representative of NSB to the National Biodiesel Board, former NBB technical committee chair, current NBB marketing committee chair, and he was recently reelected as NBB secretary. In August, while working on his fifth-generation family farm in Newman Grove, he suffered a near-fatal accident where he was severely burned on his head, back, arms and hands. While his physical recovery from his painful injuries were spectacular, even more so was how incredibly positive, grateful, and upbeat he remained throughout the process. His tremendous attitude, along with his continuous selfless service to the biodiesel industry are truly inspirational.
Dallas Hanks. The biodiesel industry lost a true pioneer with the passing of Utah State University’s Hanks last June when he succumbed to cancer. For those that knew him, Hanks was a brilliant scientist, educator, humanitarian, entrepreneur and all around good person. He spearheaded the visionary feedstock program Freeways to Fuels, was a huge supporter and contributor to NBB’s Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program, and had a hand in numerous oilseed test plots, biodiesel laboratories and technology start-up business at the university and around the region. The respect he had from his peers was second to none, and he has left a truly lasting legacy in the biodiesel world.