In the Spotlight

MARC-IV Talks Future of Biofuels

Posted on Jan 22, 2015 in news

Jim Hibbs of REG (Renewable Energy Group) interviewed MARC-IV’s Steve Howell and Rebecca Richardson at the National Biodiesel Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.  Take a look at what the leading experts are saying about the future of biofuels.


MARC-IV staff visit Volkswagen Group of America

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 in news

This week, Rachel Burton and Rebecca Richardson, of MARC-IV met with several diesel technology instructors across the state of Illinois.

Along the way, they stopped and met with trainers from both the Volkswagen and Audi Training Academy about biodiesel fuel.


MARC-IV talks BIOHEAT at the Atlantic Region Energy Expo (AREE)

Posted on May 1, 2014 in news

Steve Howell from MARC-IV joined Jon Huber from National Oil Heat Research Association (NORA)  and Dr. Tom Butcher from the IMG_8328Brookhaven Institute. The Atlantic Region Energy Expo (AREE) was held at the Atlantic City Convention Center from April 29-May 1, 2014.

National Association of Farm Broadcasters Talk Food & Fuel

Posted on Nov 22, 2013 in news

Biodiesel producers had plenty to talk about … and plenty of ears to listen … during the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) meeting in Kansas City. Makes sense, when you consider how connected the farming and biodiesel industries have been over the years. We caught up with two folks from the National Biodiesel Board at the group’s booth at NAFB: NBB Economist Alan Weber and NBB board member Greg Anderson.

Speaking before the EPA had officially released its lowered Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) numbers, Alan said the proposed numbers of 1.28 billion gallons for next year, when the industry is approaching 1.7 billion gallons this year, would significantly hurt the 60,000-job biodiesel industry.

“That movement backwards would actually be about 8,000 jobs in the U.S. that we would lose and all that ripple effect throughout the economy,” he said, pointing out that biodiesel is the first commercially available advanced biofuel, getting the job done now.

“There’s a lot of unique alternative fuels out there. We can talk about electricity and hybrid electrics, but when we start thinking about how we move products in the United States, it’s going to be in diesel-powered, class-A over-the-road trucks, powered by a liquid biofuel. And that’s where biodiesel fits in.”

Interview with Alan Weber, NBB economist

Some of the knocks against biodiesel have come from falsehoods spread about how it is hurting livestock producers. Greg, who is a soybean farmer and livestock producer from Nebraska, said just the opposite is true as the soybean meal produced during the crush to get the oil actually enhances the livestock market.

“It works well together. It adds about $12 for every beef carcass, about $1.25 for pork and a few cents for each chicken. It all adds up. We see the value in biodiesel in lowering soybean meal prices, conservatively $25 a ton less. If biodiesel wasn’t there, it’d be more expensive to purchase and higher input costs for those folks to feed,” Greg said.

He also pointed out that while the soybean oil makes up about 19 percent of the bean, right now, because of biodiesel, it’s represents 40 percent of the bean’s value, producing food and fuel.

“We’re not only feeding America, but we’re fueling America.”

Interview with Greg Anderson, NBB board member

Alan Weber hits the air waves

Posted on Nov 21, 2013 in news

During the week of November 14th, M4’s Alan Weber represented the National Biodiesel Board while speaking with RFD Radio and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

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M4 advocates for Illinois biodiesel plants this week in DC

Posted on Nov 21, 2013 in news

Rebecca Richardson of MARC-IV along with Illinois soybean growers attended the National Biodiesel Board meeting this week in Washington, DC. They met directly with U.S. Senator Durbin to discuss the importance for the Biomass-based diesel number to be higher than 1.28 billion gallons to save Illinois biodiesel plants and the jobs and economic activity associated with them.


A Jolly Good Fellow: One-of-a-kind biodiesel scientist receives top recognition from peers

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 in news

*Steve Howell becomes AOCS fellow*

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Members of the American Oil Chemists' Society have
laid top honors on Steve Howell, selecting him for the prestigious AOCS
Fellow Award.

Howell has served as the National Biodiesel Board's technical director
since shortly after NBB's inception in 1992, and is credited with helping
to navigate the nascent biodiesel industry through an obstacle course of
technical challenges.  Those include completing Health Effects testing,
establishing ASTM standards, and securing Original Equipment Manufacturer
approval, to name just a few.

"Thanks to the many technical accomplishments of Steve Howell, the U.S.
biodiesel industry is now a meaningful supplement to the nation's diesel
fuel supply," said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board.  The
industry is on track for its vision of 10x22 - making up 10 percent of the
overall U.S. diesel fuel supply by 2022 with a range of blends.  "I can
personally attest to his hard work, integrity, and very special talents.
He deserves this recognition."

A chemical engineer, Howell emerged from a career with Proctor & Gamble in
the early 1990s to pursue the potential of biodiesel as a renewable energy
source for the nation.  P&G was one of the first producers of biodiesel,
and Howell was at the vanguard of production technology.   Recognizing his
unique skills as a scientist, collaborator, and communicator, the National
Biodiesel Board recruited him to lead its national technical program.
Howell is also President of MARC-IV Consulting, Inc.

Formal conferral will happen at the Society's Annual Meeting in Montreal in
May. To be named a Fellow is one of the highest forms of recognition
conferred by AOCS, explained Mike Haas, a USDA researcher and Past
President of AOCS.

"It's also rare for a person who is not directly involved in research at a
university or a national lab, where they would generate a trail of
publications by which evaluators can assess impact, to be named an AOCS
Fellow," Haas said.  "In its history AOCS has named only about 85 people as
Fellows, and their names constitute some of the very best in the fats and
oils professions from around the globe.  Steve Howell deserves to be among

The AOCS motto is "Connecting the science of oil chemistry to our daily
lives," and that's something Jobe says Howell excels at.  "As a brilliant
scientist, he has an uncommon ability to communicate complex subjects to
individuals with the highest levels of knowledge and experience all the way
down to beginners," Jobe said.  "He's truly one-of-a-kind."

# # #

*About the National Biodiesel Board
The National Biodiesel Board is the national trade association representing
America's first Advanced Biofuel. The group works to create sustainable
biodiesel industry growth through education, communication, governmental
affairs, technical and quality assurance programs. Serving as the
coordinating body for research and development in the US the National
Biodiesel Board is comprised of state, national, and international
feedstock and feedstock processor organizations, biodiesel suppliers, fuel
marketers and distributors, and technology providers.*

*About AOCS (American Oil Chemists' Society)
AOCS advances the science and technology of oils, fats, surfactants and
related materials, enriching the lives of people everywhere. For more than
100 years, AOCS has promoted the science and technology of lipids in the
fats and oils industry through analytical methods, proficiency testing,
peer-reviewed technical publishing, and in providing venues for technical
discussions and educational opportunities*

M4 represents NBB and the biodiesel industry at the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) Interim meeting

Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in news

photo_2Rebecca Richardson represented NBB and the biodiesel industry at the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) Interim meeting in Charleston, SC January 27-30. The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) meets twice annually to review current regulations and consider new ones related to packaging, labeling, fuel quality and many other issues. During these meetings, NCWM officials and state regulators provide a forum for industry and other stakeholders to respond to proposed regulations that NCWM would recommend as model language for states. During this meeting, product transfer document disclosure of biodiesel blends, diesel gallon equivalency and minimum micron filter size were discussed.

ASTM International Publishes New Grade of Biodiesel to Solve Intermittent Cold Weather Issues

Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in news

After intense debate with ASTM and consensus building by ASTM Biodiesel Task Force Chairman Steve Howell of MARC-IV, ASTM International published a new grade of pure biodiesel in ASTM D6751 specifications for biodiesel (B100).  The new No. 1-B grade is designed to help eliminate relatively rare and sporadic instances of filter clogging with biodiesel blends in the US market.  The new No. 1-B specification adds a new maximum level of 0.4 wt % monoglycerides, which required development and approval of modified ASTM test methods as well as gaining consensus on the value of 0.4%.  The current specifications become the No. 2-B grade within D6751 without change.

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Weber Appointed to Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 in news

Alan Weber has been appointed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and U.S. Dept. of Energy to serve as a member of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. The prestigious committee helps USDA and DOE in meeting important goals of a healthier rural economy and improved national energy security. Weber will advise the agencies on overcoming technical challenges through research and development that will lead to a greatly expanded biobased industry.