Biodiesel Industry Addresses Sustainability

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB), which created a Sustainability Task Force last February, recently held a symposium focused on sustainable solutions to energy challenges. The meeting included discussions of greenhouse gas emission models, biodiesel’s positive energy balance and next generation feedstocks.

The NBB utilized the symposium to get feedback from a diverse audience and to get professionals from different sectors and disciplines talking to each other about sustainability issues and opportunities for collaboration, says Emily Bockian Landsburg, the Sustainability Task Force chair. Representatives from USDA, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the American Soybean Association, the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health and the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities were among those attending the meeting.

At its fall board meeting, the NBB also adopted several resolutions addressing sustainability:

1. The NBB resolves to develop internal policies and support practices which promote the use of sustainable feedstocks and biodiesel production methods.

2. NBB shall adopt the definition of sustainability as recommended by the Sustainability Task Force (STF).

3. The Regulatory Committee and the STF shall discuss and consider the guiding principles for biodiesel sustainability as recommended by the NBB STF for adoption by the membership in 2009.

4. NBB resolves to actively engage in forums addressing global biodiesel/biofuels sustainability standards.

5. Several organizations are developing sustainability metrics and certifications for biodiesel and other renewable fuels. NBB resolves to actively participate in these efforts on behalf of the industry.

6. Direct and indirect land use change are becoming important metrics for all industries. Legislative policy and best practices must be based on sound science and real, transparent data in order to accurately access biodiesel’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Such science and data are currently insufficient for this purpose. NBB resolves to actively monitor, participate in, and support research to develop science and data to address this issue objectively and accurately.

The NBB has launched a new Web site, It is useful when you have questions or are faced with questions from others about the sustainability of biofuels, Landsburg says.

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