VW TDI forum, Audi, Porsche, and Chevy Cruze Diesel forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Article from NY Times

The American biodiesel industry is hurting, and it shows.

Last week Imperium Renewables, one of the country’s biggest biodiesel refiners, cut 24 employees — which according to the Seattle Times amounts to a majority of the staff at its plant in Washington state.


The move came in the same week that the European Union introduced a tariff on biodiesel imported from the United States, effectively slashing a major market for American producers.

“The European market was a significant market for American producers because the prices were higher, and they were further along on their requirement for biodiesel,†said Martin Tobias, a former chief executive of Imperium who left the company 15 months ago and has since started a new venture called Kashless.org.

Though it remains a tiny fraction of total diesel consumption, the American biodiesel industry — which mainly relies on soybeans as its feedstock — has grown almost tenfold in the last three years, from 75 million gallons in the 2005 fiscal year to 700 million gallons in 2008, according to the National Biodiesel Board’s estimates.


In the United States, many of the customers are bus systems and other fleets. A few cities and states, like Portland, Ore., and Minnesota, mandate that regular diesel be blended with a small amount of biodiesel.

Biodiesel producers did well when diesel prices soared in recent years. Lately, however, prices of diesel have plunged below the price of biodiesel, hurting the industry, according to Ethan Zindler of New Energy Finance, an industry research firm.

Low diesel prices and high soy prices are “the exact opposite of what they need to really be profitable,†Mr. Zindler said — adding that biodiesel, much like ethanol, may now need to rely on government quotas for biofuels to survive, because at the moment “there is no market-based reason for consumers to buy biodiesel.â€

The federal government requires that 500 million gallons of biodiesel be blended into the fuel supply this year; the Biodiesel Board figures for 2008 are clearly higher, but the requirement is also going to grow over time.

Mr. Tobias predicted that President Obama’s efforts to increase domestic fuels will be a boon for the biodiesel industry. He looked at the bright side of Europe’s tariff move. “It seems kind of silly for us to be sending our fuel to Europe and then importing crude from Saudi Arabia,†he said.

Mr. Tobias declined to discuss Imperium, but the company is clearly struggling. Last year it abruptly canceled a planned initial public offering, and a major customer, Royal Caribbean cruise lines, pulled out of a big contract.

Other large American biodiesel producers include Cargill and the Renewable Energy Group.
http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/american-biodiesel-makers-reeling/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
IMO, bio is a niche fuel. Syn fuel is the future. The problem is that biofuels are dragged down by the food issue and the horrible image of ethanol doens't help either. People can't afford to save the environment when they don't have a job and can't pay the mortgage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
IMO, bio is a niche fuel. Syn fuel is the future. The problem is that biofuels are dragged down by the food issue and the horrible image of ethanol doens't help either. People can't afford to save the environment when they don't have a job and can't pay the mortgage.
Not for those who make it at home. It is a niche but everything has to start somewhere. Ethanol is a joke but biodiesel's higher mileage has potential. You CAN save the environment while you find a job.... (see Obama's green agenda)...put people to work building infrastructure and researching/installing green tech.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
That's too bad. And the number of homebrewers is so small that it doesn't really make a big impact. You hear about it but most people don't do it. I was interested in it too but it's too much work. Yes I'm lazy.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top