Some thoughts on the passing year and the year ahead.

On a recent trip to the north of Mexico I was asked to speak to a group of businessmen and governmental leaders about the opportunities that exist in latin America to create and mature a biofuels industry. I had developed a short version of a much longer presentation to discuss with them the various lessons that the United States had to offer in its recent attempts to support a sustainable, national, biofuels sector.

I was scheduled to speak for a mere 45 minute but, by the time I was forced to end the discussion to make a scheduled flight leaving that afternoon, nearly 3 hours had passed.

A large portion of my talk had centered on what I affectionately call the American Biofuels Fiasco. As most in the biofuels sector can tell you, for the majority of producers, distributors, and marketers, things in the last two years have not gone acording to plan.

There are many reasons the sector has struggled , some forseeable, some not so, but all agree that uncertainty around congressional renewal of the credit subsidy has been a contributing factor in deterring investment in new and existing projects, feedstock limitations will continue to be an industry concern, and many facilities built have capacities far in excess of their hopes to secure adequate capital or feedstock to run efficiently.

The next year will likely bring new models to production, some changes to production technology emphases, and hopefully changes to the longevity of credit subsidies. These are all good things.

But most importantly the next year provides those of us still standing with the opportunity to implement changes to the way we do things based upon the lessons learned and wisdom gained from the past year.

For those of us at Promethean this past year has flown. The lessons have been plentiful, and some have come harder than others.

Small is better; wherever you plan to place a 90 you’re better off with a ‘T’; you can’t build a plant that is dependant upon subsidies for its continued operation; good interns are a precious gift (and difficult to find); most quality problems can be solved economically.

The list goes on.

For all of you industry insiders out there I wish all of you the best of luck and much success in the coming year.

Make it a better place!


RFS 2 Rumour Mill

The EPA is getting closer to final decision making related to the new set of rules slated for implementation in RFS 2 (renewable Fuel Standard v2).

Rumors abound, but I do have some interesting tidbits related to some of the biodiesel producer requirements that seem sure to become fact.

The first is that biodiesel producers everywhere will be required to re-register their facilities.  This re-registration may require a plant engineering review, ostensibly to ascertain the ability of a plant to actually produce ASTM quality fuel. This requirement may also be an attempt for the EPA to regain a certain amount of credibility as well as limit the currently overwhelming number of new producer registrations.

Another item that seems to be the next sure thing is that the future EPA hosted RIN tracking system will be added as a module to the current Central Data Exchange (CDX) registry system. I would suggest that any producers out there may want to check the accuracy of their CDX records sooner rather than later.

Make it a better place.