Derrick Scott discovers Big Apple excitement for biodiesel

January 4, 2024

Demand growth in soybean oil for fuel is encouraging to Derrick Scott. The South Dakota Soybean Checkoff director, who farms at Geddes, South Dakota, saw for the first time how important biodiesel is to people on the East Coast.

“Things on the coast are quite different as far as goods and services being transferred around,” said Scott, following his first visit to New York City. “They use a lot of marine, tugboats [and] ships to move cargo around on the coast, compared to what they do here in the Midwest.”

Scott was on the Clean Fuels Alliance America New York City Big Apple Tour in mid-December, where he also learned about the prevalence of soybean oil-based enhancements that make heating oil in the Northeast less polluting.

“Currently, they’re at a mandate of B10 (10 percent biodiesel blended with petroleum-based heating oil). In 2025, they’ll be at mandate of B20, and by the year 2030, it’ll be a mandate of B30 as a mixture for their home heating oil,” he said. “This is really upping the usage and calling for a lot more demand of that fuel as we move forward.”

Biodiesel caught New York City’s eye more than two decades ago and was adopted as part of a solution to decrease air pollution from heavy vehicle exhaust emissions, especially from diesel motors.

“And they’re trying to lower their carbon footprint and the only way that they’re going to be able to do that instantly is by using biodiesel,” Scott said. “Biodiesel’s a drop-in product that they don’t have to change anything, necessarily, on their vehicle or their ship. It’s just a drop-in fuel and it instantly changes that carbon intensity score, and that’s why biodiesel is really king out there.”

Derrick Scott, who is new to the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff Board after serving on the board of the South Dakota Soybean Association, was among checkoff farmer directors from several qualified state soybean boards on the tour, which included a stop at the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College. New to Scott was the extent to which tugboats and other maritime vessels use biodiesel.

“They’re excited to clean up their carbon score,” Scott concluded. “It’s really exciting to see what the future might hold for us.”