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1/31-2/1 California Biodiesel Consumers' Conference
by Biodiesel Consumers Conference
Thursday Jan 8th, 2004 8:33 AM
Towards sustainable biodiesel for passenger car and small
business B100 consumers in California
California Biodiesel Consumers' Conference

Towards sustainable biodiesel for passenger car and small
business B100 consumers in California

January 31 and Feb 1 , 10am-5 pm
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA

More info coming soon at: http://www.biodieselconsumers.org
Email us: B100Conference [at] yahoo.com

Join us for two intensive days of education, brainstorming, and
groundwork around issues facing California passenger-car
biodiesel consumers, and a vision for sustainable and
homegrown biodiesel businesses to serve those consumers.


Conference goals:
- educating biodiesel advocates about the lesser-known
challenges facing local producers, consumers, and distributors
- forming a CA biodiesel consumers' organisation to provide a
voice for B100 passenger car users and small business
consumers of biodiesel, who are currently under-served by the
biodiesel industry
- to encourage small-scale, local biodiesel production and
distribution
- long-term action to make local biodiesel production more
ecologically and socially sustainable than current practices

Our mailing address: Biodiesel Consumers Conference
c/oBiofuel Oasis, 2465 Fourth St Berkeley CA 94703 510-665
5509 for more info: B100Conference [at] yahoo.com
http://www.biodieselconsumers.org


Day 1: `Lay of the Land: the Industry Today'.
Day 1 presentations:
-Emissions And You: the Good News About Diesel Engines
(overview of emissions regulated by air quality agencies,
cross-fuel comparisons of emissions and health effects from
biodiesel and other conventional and alternative fuels, some
background on the anti-diesel lobby)
-Biodiesel 101 …( an overview of biodiesel, health effects,
production, energy inputs and lifecycle emissions, and
sustainability issues within biofuels production in general)
-The Industry: (an overview of the commercial biodiesel,
promising technology, the ASTM standards and quality control,
industry practices, and biodiesel businesses operating in
California.)

Other topics addressed on Day 1include:
- a strategy discussion on working within existing structures
such as the National Biodiesel Board or petroleum distributors,
versus developing parallel structures (local distributorships not
linked to petroleum business, forming an alternative to the NBB)
- issues unique to California: CARB, state-level government
incentives and opportunities, CDFA labeling and B100,
restrictions on diesel car imports into California, the Integrated
Energy Policy Report and AB 2076, local campaigns involving
zoning and other regulations for small-scale distributors, coops,
etc.


Day 2: Where To Go From Here? Local Campaigns
Day 2 will be a self-guided session with breakout sessions for
different topics and campaigns you may be interested in working
on.
Topics may include :
-Strategy session for a legal challenge to the prohibitively
expensive EPA registration of biodiesel producers
-Strategy for those attending the National Biodiesel Board
convention later that week
-Long-range planning for a California biodiesel sustainability
certification committee, and the logistics of sending people from
this work group to the commercial Biodiesel -Production
Workshops in Iowa in March
-State-level policy and lobbying
-A discussion for potential small producers in California
-A project to write new California-specific, B100-specific,
sustainability-oriented educational materials
-a discussion of advocacy and promotion- how do you do it?
Whom do you target?
-A short brainstorming session on the logistics of a California
Biodiesel Consumers association, in preparation for our first
meeting in March in the Bay Area

******
Logistics:
We strongly encourage attendees to come for both days. There
will be a pre-conference reading packet and a survey available
by mail and email 10 days before the event. Please sign up at
our website- coming soon at
http://www.biodieselconsumers.org
Conference cost: $80 donation at the door, no one turned away
for lack of funds. Conference donations accepted by mail to
treasurer: Meleana Judd, 1431 16th Ave, San Francisco CA
94122
There will be bus shuttles from the SF Bay Area and from Chico.
Registration information, a survey, suggested reading, travel
information, local accommodations, and more will be found on
ourwebpage shortly at http://www.veggieavenger.com/conference
For more information email us at B100Conference [at] yahoo.com


While this conference stresses California organizing, people
from out-of-state biodiesel projects are all invited! We will be
discussing national issues and non-California projects as a Day
2 'breakout discussion session'. Some out-of-state presenters
will include Boulder Biodiesel Cooperative,
http://www.boulderbiodiesel.com, and Piedmont Biofuels Coop,
http://www.biofuels.coop.

Please see our upcoming website for registration information
(available 10 days before the event)- we'd like to know about your
work elsewhere


The Background:

Marketing and passenger car B100 consumers:
US biodiesel is currently marketed primarily to fleets, and as
low-level blends of B20 or lower. The biodiesel industry's market
analysis largely writes off passenger car users as an
insignificant `niche market', except where the free advertising
provided by enthusiasts proves useful.

California is a unique market:
Yet California is uniquely suited for B100 use by passenger car
drivers, with a mild climate, a regulatory focus on clean air, and a
concerned population. There is relatively high demand and
enthusiasm for this fuel for passenger car use, and use by small
businesses- both of which are underserved markets. California
restricts imports of diesel vehicles, and there is a strong
anti-diesel lobby here.

Active consumers:
There is an active B100 passenger car users' community in this
state, and we have many consumer-driven projects such as a
few independent fueling stations, co-operatives of bulk buyers,
educational projects, and individuals exploring local production.

Economy of scale? And some existing examples
Sustainable biodiesel production in California seems to make
the most sense as many small, local plants located near the oil
source and near the market they serve. The main oil source in
California is waste oils, a distributed oil source that does not
lend itself well to central collection for large biodiesel plants.
Similarly, small distributors (such as Yokayo Biofuels,
http://www.ybiofuels.org) who are committed to B100 and passenger
car/small business users already do a better job of serving
consumers than is done by petroleum distribution companies
for whom biodiesel for passenger car users is a sideline.
Recently we have seen quality control problems go
unaddressed by the large commercial producer in this state, and
it is obvious that local producers would be more accountable to
their local customers than the current industrial practice. If there
was greater competition from multiple producers, it would be
harder to sell off-spec biodiesel to an educated public.


Sustainability:
As an agricultural product, and as a transportation fuel, biofuels
has the potentially to be incredibly destructive to the environment,
if the industry does not implement sustainable practices from
the outset. We believe it is useless to lobby agribusiness giants
such as ADM/Cargill or traditional renderers to give us
sustainable biofuels- and that this sustainability focus is unlikely
to grow out of the current biodiesel industry practice. We also
wish to focus on existing technology and strategies winnable in
the short term, rather than, for instance, waiting for algae
technology or new oil crops to come to CA. There is much
reason to believe that a model involving local production, local
smallscale distribution, and co-operation between producers,
distributors, and consumers is more likely to meet a desire for
sustainable production with less waste than the current
industry's practice.

Lastly, the industry today is not focused on sustainable
practices- for instance oil is collected with petroleum diesel
equipment and fuel is trucked to markets using petroleum diesel
rather than biodiesel, genetically modified crops are seen as the
answer to oil availability, rather than planting existing, regionally
appropriate oil crops, and there is no incentive for producers to
use renewable energy in the manufacturing of biodiesel

Where to go from here?
This conference is a first step in addressing these sustainability
and consumer concerns. Some further work we hope to
accomplish:
1. general education around issues of emissions, renewability,
and sustainability (the `plusses' of biodiesel, the plusses of
diesel engines, and answers to the anti-diesel and pro-CNG
lobbies), biodiesel industry overview, and a look at some local
biodiesel success stories. We hope new educational materials
not linked to the National Biodiesel Board will result from this
conference.
2. providing a forum for consumers to voice what kind of industry
we would like to see in California. Brainstorm with us on how to
implement a sustainable industry. Network with others around
the state to support work other biodiesel advocates are doing
3. Providing an opportunity to strategise about the `free
advertising' that we currently provide to the industry, and to
decide where in the industry to direct this free help. Coordinate
campaigns with others doing similar work.
4. Discussing local and statewide regulatory obstacles to
biodiesel business, storage, and availability- issues such as
zoning of fueling stations, educating fire marshalls and local
authorities about ways biodiesel differs from other fuels in
storage, and other issues which affect storing, distributing,
labeling, and perhaps manufacturing biodiesel.
5. Work at the national level to remove obstacles to small scale
commercial production. Biodiesel is currently classified by the
EPA in a manner which restricts small-scale businesses from
being able to enter the market without spending millions of
dollars or joining the National Biodiesel Board at great expense.
There is a nationwide movement for a legal challenge to these
EPA regulations, and work being done to clarify them. The
California Biodiesel Consumers Conference does not in general
focus on national issues since we hope to be more effective by
working in-state and locally, but in order to have a legal local
industry, this EPA roadblock must first be removed.
6. We hope to form a statewide sustainability standards
committee for biodiesel. Inspired by organics certification, this
would be a voluntary ranking method (not a pass-fail, but a
points grade on a continuum) for biodiesel businesses wishing
to sell their product as `sustainable'. We would work in
cooperation with local producers and grade them on issues
such as renewable energy use, source of oil used, oil
collections or fuel distribution, quality control and customer
service, and wages/benefits for workers. It is hoped that such a
program would help any small producers bring sustainable
practices into their business, and would help consumers judge
their product choices. We also hope that our work would provide
small producers with useful technical assistance in
implementing these changes and that it promotes a
technology-sharing relationship between the producers which
will benefit the consumer and producers.
There is also a need for better accountability for quality control in
the industry. Currently, the ASTM D-6751 standard is not
enforced beyond the initial producer registration process.
Currently there is no guarantee that consumers will receive
ASTM quality product and this has been a big problem with
commercial biodiesel available in California this year. We hope
to find laboratory testing options for independent testing of fuel
for sale, to ensure quality standards are met.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

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