With the LCFS in full swing and California’s goals of offsetting carbon continuing to intensify into 2020, so has the demand for low CI feedstocks for bio and renewable diesel production. This has been especially apparent in the distillers corn oil market, which has seen both price and usage increases over the last few months.
Initially, bio and renewable diesel producers saw an opportunity for additional feedstock from the distillers’ corn oil production, and ethanol producers saw an additional revenue stream. Assuming an annual biodiesel production capacity of 2.1 billion gallons, as reported by the EIA, that translates loosely into 16 billion pounds of feedstock needed to make said fuel. The combined production of US recycled products, excluding distillers corn oil, is 9 billion pounds. That 7 billion pound gap left a lot to be filled with higher priced virgin vegetable oils, and the addition of corn oil into the feedstock stream over the last few years has been a big benefit to the industry.
Joe Gershen – California Biodiesel Industry Commentary April 18, 2016
Governor Brown’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals include a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use, preferably by 2030. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has a sample path towards meeting this goal that includes reducing growth in vehicle-miles travelled (VMT) to four percent; increasing on-road fuel efficiency of cars to 35 mpg and heavy-duty trucks to about seven mpg; and at least doubling use of alternative fuels like biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and natural gas (see graph).
California Biodiesel Industry
For those of us who believe in science and the realities of the climate change, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a groundbreaking, but somewhat controversial piece of legislation. It’s driving policy changes and conversations not only in California and the Pacific coast region of North America, but all over the world. Perhaps more importantly, along with all of California’s climate regulations, the Golden State’s policies are changing behavior and changing markets. The question is, are all the market changes what the state policy makers and regulators had in mind, or are we experiencing something more akin to the law of unintended consequences?
I’ve had many conversations with colleagues and customers in the fuels industry about the LCFS and the questions it raises. Will the regulation work past 2018? How often might the California Air Resources Board (CARB) modify it and what impacts will that have on business? Would the regulated entities in the petroleum industry voluntarily address climate issues even though many continue to deny or question the science? I’m guessing that many others have been having these same conversations and many of the questions remain unresolved.
Joining us for our first presentation of the 2016 Biodiesel and Feedstock Conference is Greg Staiti, JD. He and Sandra Dunphy will be addressing the latest on politics, the EPA, and renewable fuels, with Greg focusing in on the big picture of biodiesel with the speech on political and regulatory RFS and EPA.
Greg brings over 10 years of experience working in petroleum and renewable fuels. He has a wide range of experience, but specializes in EPA and California Air Resources Board compliance. He is a well-rounded biofuel expert, and advises clients on elective disclosure, negotiation of contracts for physical oil and renewable fuel commodities, as well as renewable and alternative fuels credits. Greg’s specialized and technical industry knowledge allows him to provide exceptional consulting services to his clients.
With a Juris Doctor from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, Greg is a sought after speaker in the biodiesel and renewable fuel industry.
Register today for an opportunity to tap into Greg’s experience and expertise as he delivers what will sure to be an educational and valuable presentation from 9-10 am on Thursday, May 26th.
When it comes to picking a location for our annual Biodiesel and Feedstock Conference, Chicago’s Swissotel remains the clear choice. As the site for our 2015 conference, the Swissotel proved to be a world-class, luxury hotel with all of the necessary space and accommodations to hold this year’s conference.
Designed by renowned architect, Harry Weese, this beautiful space is all glass, with views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. There are 661 European-inspired and tastefully decorated rooms and suites, two restaurants, a lobby lounge with bar, and a fitness center on the 42nd floor with panoramic views.
In addition to holding the conference on Thursday, May 26th, this year there will be a cocktail reception on the top floor of the Swissotel Wednesday from 5-7pm in the Edelweiss Room. This penthouse offers stunning views and “is set among the clouds.” We look forward to kicking off with an intimate and luxurious opportunity to network before the big day.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to join us for the 2016 Biodiesel and Feedstock Conference. For more information, visit: 2016 Biodiesel and Feedstock Conference
Sandra Dunphy has worked with energy companies in North and South America, Europe, and Asia and is nationally recognized as a Renewable Identification Number expert within the United States renewable fuels industry. She has a practice specialization in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance and fuels consulting and brings extensive technical experience and knowledge to each of her clients.
In addition, Sandra developed a premiere EPA fuel credit trading business in the United States, coordinating hundreds of transactions per year. She is experienced in industrial energy conservation strategies and energy distribution networks, has extensive contract negotiation experience in electricity, natural gas, and liquid fuels, as well as having managed financial hedging strategies for energy producers and purchasers.
Sandra is a member of the fuels committee for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and is also a member of the Advanced Biofuels Association and the National Biodiesel Board. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware.
Sandra will be speaking on the latest on politics, the EPA, and renewable fuels on Thursday, May 26th from 9am to 10am. She will be joined by Greg Staiti. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to get insight from one of the industry’s most experienced experts. Check Out The Conference!
Over the last three years the strong production in the grain and oilseed sectors combined with a reduction of growth in some economies, with emphasis on China, have pulled fat and oil prices lower by as much as 40%. Bean oil prices dipped as low as $0.2676 in September of 2015, before bouncing back to the $0.3000 level, where they have remained much of 2016.
During the last three years prices have jumped during the summer, particularly in the animal fats market where seasonal biodiesel demand helps to drive up prices. This was particularly evident in 2014, which saw tight supplies in the hog market due to the PED virus and lower cattle numbers after high feed prices forced many to draw down their herds. The tight supplies combined with a blenders tax credit in place since the start of the year helped to push BFT prices above SBO for much of the summer and push CWG, for brief spurts, north of the 100% market as well.
It was a tough and interesting year for the US hide market with sharp price declines influenced by domestic and global issues going back well into Spring 2014. The decline began with the cow hide market in late March, followed by steer hides in late September. Through 2015, prices continued to drop for all US hide selections with the steer and cow selections falling over 40% and 50% from their peak.
While the descent in hide prices in 2015 was similar to many commodities reacting to the economic slowdown in China, there were a number circumstances unique to the hide market. Included are environmental regulations in North China, troubles with hide contracts and opening LCs, a crashing split market and competition from other manmade materials.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Looking back at recent history, bad years in the biodiesel industry were always followed by good ones. Odd numbered years since 2009 were good years to be a biodiesel producer. Even numbered years? Not so much. In 2009, Congress finally closed the loophole that allowed “Splash and Dash” to exist.
Prospects for 2010 did not look as inviting with the loophole closed. However, what really set 2010 back was the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit lapsing in 2009. In fact, every year that the credit has lapsed has been a down year for the industry.
Many are calling 2015 the end of the commodity super-cycle as prices have returned to levels not seen since before the housing bubble run up in 2006 and 2007. Successive years of a good soybean crop, heavy supplies of crude oil, and a weak global economy have all contributed to the downward grind of the market. The macro markets sinking have pressured the animal fats prices lower despite a biodiesel production capacity that is much stronger than it was in the mid-2000s.
BFT topped out at $0.3075 in mid March and stagnated in the high $0.2000 before dropping from $0.2800 on September 25 to $0.1900 on November 13. The market was largely supported by oleochemical demand for much of the year, and with end of year inventory reductions and no biodiesel demand, prices plummeted.