The first post of the new year!

2010. A new year. Almost everything seems possible; everything except the passage of the biodiesel blenders credit renewal.

Everyone I have spoken to seems certain that the credit will be reinstated in a retroactive fashion. I’m pretty certain.

In an interview published in the Wisconsin Ag Connection Michael Frohlich, the NBB’s Director of Federal Communication, was quoted as saying “Pretty much every plant is idle.”

Strangely enough, things do not feel very idle at Promethean. I believe the same may be true for the majority of small poducers I have spoken to.

Oil prices seem to have remained steady.

The big news is related to RFS2. I called the EPA on Monday in the hopes of getting an updated status on the progress of the rulemaking as well as some sort of advanced information on what may be included that would interest the biodiesel industry. I received nothing more than a statement that sounded pre-canned saying that the rules would be out soon. The rest was classified, or as close to classified as the EPA gets.

RFS2 is potentially an industry game-changer. Optimistic estimates place final rule implementation sometime in the Spring of 2010.

We have been working on MRU’s (Methanol Recovery Units) this month, primarily on design/build projects for other plants.

Strangely enough I almost always fall in love with the things we build, and really hate seeing them go into service somewhere else. So much time and energy goes into the design and fabrication, and we view our equipment not only in the sense of its utility and efficiency of performing its function but also as a quasi-artistic endeavor and the opportunity to demonstrate good old-fashioned American ingenuity.

This year, with all its promise, may be more challenging for the biodiesel industry than the last.

RFS 2 will bring new compliance challenges, and organizations will need to adapt their business processes appropriately. Lack of a tax credit may make it difficult for existing producers to maintain profitability, or maintain staffing levels. It may alos be an opportunity for new entrants to carve out a niche in makets that may have been dominated by large but credit dependent competitors.

Only time will tell.

Make it a better place!

Todd

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