The president of the Renewable Energy Group in Ames says the biodiesel industry needs to develop the use of more materials beyond soybeans to be successful in the future. The Renewable Energy Group recently announced plans to consolidate with Central Iowa Energy and Daniel Oh says they are looking to the future.
Oh says what they need are greater sources of raw material from agriculture, biotechnology and other sources. He says they may add a processing system here or there, but says they don’t have to put in an entire new system if they get additional raw material.
The two companies have biodiesel plants in Wall Lake and Danville, Illinois, and will soon own the Newton biodiesel plant. Oh says they have to advance beyound soybean oil as the main feedstock in biodiesel production.
Oh says the future differs based the capabilities you have as a company, and whether you are thinking near term or long term. He says to be successful you have to be able to distribute and market your products and use a wide range of feed stocks. Oh says the industry is technology driven and he expects changes to come.
He says a large amount of feedstocks from higher-yield soybeans to algae will be used over the next three to eight years. Oh says his company is eager to work with biotech firms to commercialize biofuels research. Oh says it’s exciting to think about the industry "cracking biomass" just like the oil industry cracks a barrel of crude oil.
Oh says soybean farmers and soybean associations have helped develop the biodiesel industry, and in turn benefited by getting more value out of the soybeans that are produced.