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California Biodiesel Alliance News

California's Biodiesel Industry Trade Association  

April 2013    

In This Issue
Biodiesel Industry Presents Compelling Data at CARB's First Public Meeting on Alternative Diesel Fuels Rulemaking Process
Community Fuels Becomes First Biodiesel Producer in the Country to Secure BQ-9000 Laboratory Certification
Propel Fuels Opens Clean Mobility Center in Fresno Offering Locally Produced Low Carbon Fuels
WHO'S WHO IN CALIFORNIA BIODIESEL: Buster Halterman, Buster Biofuels LLC



This month's issue leads with a report on our industry's participation and presentation of key biodiesel data at the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) April 23rd meeting on their alternative diesel rulemaking process. Also featured is recent news from several CBA member companies.

As always, there is important information in the Regulatory and Policy Updates section below. At the end of the section is a new California Legislative Issues blurb. Please read the details of CBA's support for two clean energy funding bills AB 8 and SB 11, and join us by writing a letter

This month's Who's Who article features Buster Halterman, Founder and CEO of Buster Biofuels. Buster Biofuels is a recent CEC AB 118 funding program grantee and plans to break ground this summer on a new 5 million gallon biodiesel production and fueling facility in San Diego.


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Biodiesel Industry Presents Compelling Data

at CARB's First Public Meeting on Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) Rulemaking Process

Cal/EPa Building
Cal/EPA Building  
Home of the California Air Resources Board 
On April 23rd
Lex Mitchell, Air Pollution Specialist at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), greeted an overflow crowd at his agency's first public meeting on the need for new regulations to address the growth of low carbon diesel alternatives in the state, which are currently not covered under CARB diesel specifications. The biodiesel industry came out in force to participate and to support the presentation of critically important data prepared by technical experts over the last year as part of a joint California Biodiesel Alliance (CBA) / National Biodiesel Board (NBB) emissions working group.


In his presentation, and throughout the day, Mitchell stressed the preliminary nature of CARB's regulatory approach for biodiesel as outlined in the agency's white paper Discussion of Conceptual Approach to Regulation of Alternative Diesel. Biodiesel will be the state's first ADF and is recognized by CARB as important to the continued success of LCFS.


Joining Mitchell at the head table were fellow CARB staffers Jim Aguila, Manager, Substance Evaluation Section; Floyd Vergara, Chief, Alternative Fuels Branch; and key staff from sister agencies who presented updates. Included were Tim Olson, Office Manager of the Transportation Energy Office, California Energy Commission (CEC); Allan Morrison, Supervising Chemist, California Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Measurement Standards (DMS); and Laura Fisher, Chief, UST Leak Prevention and Office of Tank Tester Licensing, State Water Resources Control Board.    


Chief among the updates was that the Multimedia Work Group has recommended (with some conditions) that biodiesel and renewable diesel pose no significant adverse impact on public health or the environment. Another important update was that the Cal/EPA Draft Fuels Guidance Document is to be updated. Laura Fisher explained that, among other changes, the Fuels Matrix section of that document will be updated to reflect significant progress in clearing biodiesel's 

previous UST regulatory hurdles. She credited the collaborative efforts of both CBA and NBB in working with her agency consistently over time.

CBA and NBB look forward to continuing communications with CARB. The biodiesel industry will submit a joint letter of comment to the agency before the May 14th deadline. CARB expects to publish its preliminary ADF rulemaking in May and to conduct at least one summer workshop before final adoption at a September 2013 Board hearing.    


More information, including CARB's white paper and the presentations discussed above, can be found at CARB's Biodiesel/Renewable Diesel website: http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/diesel/altdiesel/biodiesel.htm  

Community Fuels Becomes First Biodiesel Producer in the Country
to Secure BQ-9000
Laboratory Certification

Community Fuels Logo  

Community Fuels, which earned its BQ-9000 Producer certification in June of 2012, has now become the first biodiesel producer in the country to receive BQ-9000 Laboratory certification, allowing the company to offer third party biodiesel testing for fuel produced by others at their bio-refinery located at the Port of Stockton in California.


"Unlike other laboratories that perform a broad range of services, we specialize in testing and evaluating feedstock and biodiesel. This makes our laboratory a perfect choice for other producers, many of which do not have in-house capabilities to test and certify their fuel," said Christopher Young, Director of Operations for Community Fuels.


Propel Fuels Opens Clean Mobility Center in Fresno
Offering Locally Produced Low Carbon Fuels

Propel Fuels logo Propel Fuels, a leading retailer of renewable fuels and clean mobility solutions, is bringing locally-produced, low carbon fuels to drivers in Fresno, California through its innovative fueling station model - the Clean Mobility Center.  The station, located at 4994 E. Ashlan Avenue, will be the first in Fresno to offer E85 Flex Fuel and biodiesel, sourced from Central Valley producers including Community Fuels in Stockton and Calgren Renewable Fuels in Pixley.

Fresno's Clean Mobility Center takes fueling and consumer transportation in a new direction, offering renewable fuels alongside conventional fuels to provide drivers with true choice at the pump. In addition, the station enables drivers to offset carbon from their fuel purchases, improve their vehicle's fuel economy, find public transit, tune bicycles, and recycle on the go.

"Rapid swings in fuel prices are a constant reminder of our need to increase choice and competition in the fuel market," said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel. "And as more consumers embrace local, renewable fuels and seek cleaner means of transportation, Propel Clean Mobility Centers will help make progress toward our country's most pressing economic and environmental issues." 



French fries Beautiful oil  French fries


Our industry is keeping abreast of progress in the development of the Investment Plan for proceeds from California's Cap and Trade Program. This plan will identify California's greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and prioritize programs for the investment of proceeds from the auction of allowances under the program to support those goals.  Information on the plan can be found at  http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/auctionproceeds/auctionproceeds.htm#proceedsworkshops


See lead article above. This section was formerly titled "Emissions"


There is no policy update this month, but of note is that on April 18th Bloomberg News, in an article entitled Oil Firms Break Promise on Biofuels as Chevron Defies California, reported that Chevron Corp, which helped write LCFS, celebrated it in 2007 at the ceremony where Governor Schwarzenegger signed the executive order, and committed to investing in alt fuel production, has backed away from that position and is now the main backer of Fueling California, a lobbying and public relations campaign to undercut LCFS. While Chevron argues that the economics just don't work for alt fuels, the article reveals that profit margins less than 15% are the real reason behind the shift.


On April 10th CEC issued a biofuels solicitation, PON-13-601, for its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). This solicitation is for $9,266,737 in grant funds left over from 2012 for commercial-scale, low-carbon advanced biofuels production facilities. To be eligible, the capacity of the completed biofuels production facility after the grant project must be at least 15,000,000 gallons per year. The Energy Commission, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to increase or reduce the amount of funds available under this solicitation. CEC's 2013-2014 investment plan, which is scheduled for adoption at their business meeting in May, allocates $23 million for Alternative Fuel Production facilities. All details of the 2013-2014 plan are posted at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2012-ALT-2/. Interested parties are encouraged to subscribe to the CEC's Alt Fuels Listserv on that page.



CBA continues Information gathering toward the goal of providing current, accurate data on our industry for inclusion in the Transportation Energy Staff Report, expected to be finalized in August. All IEPR workshop information and documents are posted at:  


CBA continues its participation in the fuels working group of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) consortium, which is designed to find solutions to fiscal challenges facing the program due to mandatory General Fund reductions. DMS is involved with biodiesel standards, testing, and labeling.   


CBA urges compliance with the new 2012 permanent regulations governing UST storage of biodiesel. See our Regulatory Matters webpage for more information and links to the State Water Board website that posts the new compatibility forms from equipment manufacturers. The Water Board list is constantly being updated and revised forms may not be labeled as such. Also, please be advised that your CUPA may require engineering approvals for non-integral secondary containment (sumps and UDCs).    




CBA is supporting two bills, AB 8 and SB 11, that would extend until 2023 the sunset dates on three California clean transportation incentive programs. The programs, which together would provide more than $2 billion in clean air and transportation funding between 2015 and 2023 in the state, are Carl Moyer, AB 923, and AB 118. AB 118 provides $100 million per year for alternative fuels and is a key funding source for the development of the biodiesel industry in California.


Please take a moment to write a letter. It's very important that we succeed this year because, even with broad support from a range of groups, this same effort fell just short of passage last fall.  CBA's letter of support gives more details on the programs covered under these bills and includes the names and addresses of the legislative members to whom your letters should be sent. You can copy and paste portions that you'd like to include in your letter. 




If you are reading this and are not yet a member, please join us.  CBA offers membership levels with the following annual dues: $25 for students; $100 for individuals and nonprofit organizations; $500 (Bronze business level); and $2000 (Silver business level). Full voting memberships are available by application at $3000 (Gold) or $5000 (Platinum).  Our Join Us webpage has details and an easy online membership fee payment process. 


Membership benefits include:   

  • CBA's Email Newsletter with important industry updates and features about Who's Who in biodiesel in California and Action Alerts when your help can really make a difference.
  • Participation in internal email communications, policy discussions, and legislative and regulatory visits. 
  • Discount on CBA's annual California Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Conference.
  • Your company's logo and link on our Members webpage ($500 level and up).  
  • Special recognition at events and in publications (Platinum members).    

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Anyone can sign up to get CBA's special Alert emails, which we send out when we need biodiesel stakeholders and enthusiasts to take action on important issues facing our industry. Visit our Home page and add your email address.  




Just click on the "View CBA Email Newsletter Archive" button on ouHome page.


  Buster Halterman

Buster Halterman

Founder and CEO, Buster Biofuels LLC



Buster Halterman says that he stumbled on biodiesel after experimenting with running his vehicle on straight vegetable oil, something he had learned about from his fellow environmental enthusiasts in the action-sports community where he spent his professional life, including 20 years as a pro skateboarder. But there's something a bit more mysterious about his story. As a kid he actually had a dream of being a gas station man (very cool, especially the guys who washed your windshield); in 1990 he turned pro for a company called Planet Earth Skateboards; then in 1992 he co-founded a clothing company named FUEL.

Destiny or not, once he found biodiesel, he fell in love. For his wife, Molly, though, love was not the word that described how she felt about Buster collecting used restaurant grease and making biodiesel along the side of their home or committing to an entrepreneurial path without regular paychecks. But she understood Buster's passion for the practical solutions that biodiesel can provide and his vision of starting a company with a mission to RECLAIM, RECYCLE, REFUEL™. She was the one to suggest the company slogan ...GO FUEL YOURSELF!�. Happily, this brash rallying cry emerged triumphant from test marketing, because this possibility is exactly what Buster envisioned -- offering local businesses the ability to meet their fuel needs using their own used oils.


In 2009, after looking at 90 buildings that suffered from various potential property line or conditional use permitting challenges, Buster settled on their current location, a 7,300 square foot industrial warehouse in Encondido. And although he didn't intend to brand the company with his own nickname (Weldon is his real name), the atypical and rarely forgotten name just stuck. The goal was to build a 200,000 gallon biodiesel production plant on the site. But after a very frustrating 14 months just getting through the permitting process; losing a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant by .9 of a point in 2010; and seeing the difficulty others were having in getting biodiesel plants up and running in the very tough market conditions of the time, the company decided to focus on growing the grease collection part of its business plan.


Today Buster Biofuels collects from some 700 restaurants in the San Diego area and works with major companies like LEGOLAND CA, The Padres and PETCO Park, and La Costa Resorts to help them meet their (often award-winning) green initiatives. Having decided to outsource the biodiesel production part of the business, a process that has had its own set of challenges, Buster Biofuels is able to provide modest amounts of biodiesel back to their clients and has conducted successful pilot programs fueling fleets and equipment for companies such as the San Dieguito Union High School District, San Diego Padres, LEGOLAND, and the largest street sweeping company in San Diego, Cannon Pacific.


At CBA meetings, Buster has been vocal about his efforts to battle oil theft by working with fleets and the proper local agencies, including filing police reports, to weed out illegitimate collectors. Buster believes that the new California Department of Food and Agriculture regulations on inedible kitchen grease (IKG), which started this April and require a manifest for each collection, transport, and delivery of IKG, are a good step toward solving this huge industry problem perpetrated by rogue companies.


Buster Biofuels applied again to the CEC's AB 118 funding program and is very happy to have been chosen to receive $2,641,723 toward building a 5 million gallon production plant and fueling facility on their site. Buster points out that not being selected in 2010 was an important learning process and recommends that applicants ask questions early on and then take to heart the detailed information offered by CEC staff in a tailor-made post-mortem meeting if not selected for funding. As a result of having done this, Buster Biofuels brought much more to the table for round two, including improved plant design, oil collection, business experience and relationships. The company also highly recommends hiring a grant writer, especially after working successfully with the Grant Farm on this second grant application.


Having already done much of the preparation, the company is anxious to break ground this summer on their multi-feedstock plant. which will use mainly UCO that they collect, some animal fats, and eventually brown grease since the plant is permitted for such expansion. A video on their home page introduces the plant's installer/fabricator and general contractor who express their excitement about the plant, including its safety features and an innovative water wash system that uses reclaimed water.


"Being selected to receive this grant funding from the CEC validates the belief, the effort, and the sacrifices that all of us at Buster Biofuels have made," Buster said. "Though this is our first biorefinery, our team of experts have proven experience and know how.  This plant will fulfill our commitment to the goal of meeting the highest quality specifications and protecting the image of biodiesel," he added. Buster's watchwords "perseverance" and "calculated risk" have laid the foundation for his company to fulfill its mission more completely, surpass its original goals, and take advantage of the growing demand for low carbon biodiesel in the state. CBA looks forward to their success!


Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of biodiesel. I look forward to working with you.   



Celia DuBose
Executive Director
California Biodiesel Alliance