Diesel will get a bit greener this summer

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA – Starting July 1, all diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will have a little something extra in it. The B10 fuel, which will introduce a 10 percent biodiesel blend, will be a one-of-a kind in the nation with Minnesota being the first to put on a statewide initiative to move toward cleaner diesel fuel.

The 10 percent blend will be available in the summer months. Fuel distributors will cut back to their regular 5 percent blend for October through March. Biodiesel supporters hope to raise the summer blend up to 20 percent by 2018.

George Goblish, president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, farms near Vesta and helped bring the biodiesel issue to the attention of legislators.

“We (the MSGA) went up on the hill for the hearing and people testified,” Goblish said.

“It’s good for farmers because it’s another avenue to create demand for soybeans. And it makes us less dependent on foreign petroleum. This is home-grown, renewable diesel.”

Currently, biodiesel is produced in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea using the oil from soybeans planted and harvested by farmers across Minnesota.

Biodiesel has been shown to have a positive affect on reducing emissions and improving air quality. The American Lung Association of Minnesota said in a recent press release that “the state’s current B5 inclusion has been shown to reduce emissions equal to removing nearly 35,000 vehicles from the road and removes an estimated 644 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually.” By doubling the amount of biodiesel in the state’s current blend, emissions are expected to continue to decrease over the next few years.

This will also raise demand for the fuel. Minnesota currently produces 40 million gallons of biodiesel every year, and it’s expected to rise by 50 percent with the implementation of B10. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the state’s biodiesel industry “supports more than 5,000 jobs.”

Minnesota’s three biodiesel plants can produce up to 63 million gallons a year, and if they want to increase the blend to twenty percent, more capacity will be needed.