Doing Better than Better
To reduce the nation’s petroleum use and carbon emissions, the energy industry and government policies are promoting the use of biodiesel and other non-petroleum biofuels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that by 2035 biofuel usage will have grown by approximately 250 percent. However, even though many biofuels are more environmentally friendly than their petroleum-based counterparts, not all biofuels are created equal.
The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance supports and promotes LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE production and distribution models for biodiesel in the U.S. Community-Scale production models that use a local waste stream or renewable resource to produce fuel and then distribute that fuel within the community maximize the positive environmental, economic and social benefits biodiesel has to offer. Low-cost environmentally friendly energy creates jobs and keeps fuel purchase dollars in the community.
Sadly, much of the biodiesel created in the United States is not created with U.S. Energy Security or Environmental Stewardship in mind. Much of U.S. Biodiesel is created on a bulk-scale with little or no regard for sustainability. A large portion of this fuel is then sold and shipped overseas (passing the environmental health benefits on to a foreign consumer).
The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance supports the use of community-based production models that benefit American communities environmentally, economically and socially. Certifying a Sustainable product for U.S. consumers is the end-goal of the organization.
The Case For Certification
The biodiesel market has been lacking a method of analyzing and identifying the life-cycle effects of biofuels on carbon emissions and other environmental indicators – until now.
Recognizing the need for objective environmental standards to measure the overall sustainability of producing and using biodiesel, the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA) has created a certification process for evaluation and branding of biodiesel production. Independent Auditors across the country will use audit materials adapted from the SBA’s established Baseline Practices for Sustainability to objectively evaluate the feedstock providers, producers, distributors and end users of biodiesel. Kelly King, chairperson of the SBA, had this to say, “We are dedicated to providing consumers with the information they need to make informed choices, and we are confident that the public wants to support locally-sourced, low-carbon fuels. Smarter consumers can mean a big boost for U.S. agriculture and local economies, as well as for the environment.”
The SBA was founded in December 2006 to advance the production and use of community-based biodiesel with the recognition that locally produced biodiesel offers maximum environmental, economic and energy security benefits. The new Sustainable Biodiesel Certification standards will focus on evaluating the following environmental aspects: locally harvested feedstock crops that reduce transportation impacts, sustainable manufacturing operations at the production phase, reduced transportation impacts of distributors, and recognition of end users for reducing overall carbon footprint.
In addition to proven environmental and community-health benefits, community-based biodiesel gives local economies revenue and job generating opportunities that petroleum diesel and large-scale national biodiesel can not. By keeping fuel and energy dollars spent in the community and supporting local renewable energy projects, simply through educated purchasing, local fleets, businesses and individual consumers can make a tangible difference in improving the air quality and community-health in their own backyard.
Even consumers who do not own a diesel vehicle can consider other options to support local biodiesel in their community. Using BioHeat in your heat oil furnace as an alternative to petroleum can support local biodiesel producers and significantly reduce the emissions generated by your furnace. Community members can encourage their school bus fleets to run Biodiesel in their vehicles in order to vastly improve the air quality for student passengers and support local renewable energy initiatives. Waste management, US Mail, Local distribution companies and many more all operate on diesel powered fleets. Everyone of these areas and many more are opportunities to expand local biodiesel use and reduce carbon emissions in communities. You as an individual can make a difference. All you have to do is raise your voice.
You are not alone. The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance is dedicated to providing educational seminars and training materials to help inform fleets in all sectors of the environmental and community benefits of locally produced biodiesel fuel. By educating the decision makers we believe that we can show the financial, social and environmental benefits of energy produced sustainably in our own communities.
Every year Billions of gallons of diesel fuel are consumed in the United States. The large majority of all funds used to purchase this energy, whether it be through direct dollars spent or tax subsidies goes to businesses overseas. Very little of this money stays in our communities or even in our country. Together we can support American innovation, American businesses and a community-based, clean energy future for this nation.