Minnesota extends biodiesel waiver, cause may be found

| 1/13/2006

Officials in Minnesota have extended the waiver on the state’s biodiesel mandate by another month as the biodiesel industry continues to work to correct problems with fuel being sold in the state.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that representatives from the state’s biodiesel industry met with officials Wednesday, Jan. 11, to ask for more time to fix the problem.

The Pioneer Press reported that preliminary tests indicate that some batches of biodiesel had high levels of glycerin, which caused gelling in cold weather and clogged the fuel filters.

Industry officials say they don’t know where the bad batches came from or how widespread the problem is, hence the request for more time.

The initial problem arose shortly after the state enacted a mandate in October 2005 requiring that all diesel sold in the state be a 2 percent biodiesel blend. By November 2005, trucking and farming operations across the state were reporting problems with clogged fuel filters and stalled engines.

The state suspended the mandate in December 2005 and put researchers to work on the problem. That suspension was scheduled to run out Friday, Jan. 13. Now, it looks as though the industry will have until mid-February to clean up the biodiesel supply.