Can Biodiesel Be Green? The Sustainable Biodiesel Summit

sustainable biodiesel summit photo

Image credit: Sustainable Biodiesel Summit

Biodiesel is one of those funny things. Back when TreeHugger first started, Daryl Hannah was waxing lyrical about the benefits of biodiesel, and Whole Foods was going biodiesel. And many of us greenies thought this was nothing but a good thing. Fast forward a few years, and despite the first biodiesel jet flight and the scaling up of biodiesel from algae, doubts started to creep in. Some even claimed that biofuels were causing famine. As with most things, it seems biodiesel is neither good nor bad. It's a tool. And tools need to be used wisely. This February the seventh annual Sustainable Biodiesel Summit is being held in Grapevine, Texas, to look at just how biodiesel can contribute to a better, greener world.

The Sustainable Biodiesel Summit is an industry forum to "raise awareness of sustainability and to facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices in the biodiesel industry. Industry professionals meet to exchange best practices, brainstorm ideas, and support each others efforts to conduct successful businesses in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner." It is always held in the same location, and at the same time, as the National Biodiesel Annual Conference—allowing attendees to attend both conferences, and maximizing cross-fertilization of knowledge from one event to the other.

Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, who I should note is a friend, has this to say for the summit: "The SBS is one of the few conferences where real people get together to talk about real things. If we are ever going to differentiate ourselves from 'business as usual,' it will be thanks to undertakings like the SBS."
A note on conflict of interest: Although I have not had direct involvement with this event, I am on the board of The Abundance Foundation, one of the fiscal sponsors of the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit. Just as when I write about solar double cropping at Piedmont Biofuels, I know, and have deep respect for, some of the people involved. Anything I write should be taken within that context.

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