Colorado region has problems with biodiesel

| 1/18/2006

For the Roaring Fork Transit Agency in environmentally friendly Colorado , switching all of its buses to biodiesel seemed like a good idea.

But according to the Post Independent, a Glenwood Springs, CO, newspaper, the switch almost shut down the entire fleet this past fall. That could have posed some major problems because the RFTA operates bus services for seven communities in a two-county area in Colorado .

The RFTA began using a 5 percent biodiesel blend in its fleet in October 2005 and – in a situation similar to the one still being investigated in Minnesota – began experiencing problems almost immediately.

The culprit, according to the Post Independent, was algae growth in the biodiesel, which was blocking fuel filters and causing problems with fuel pumps in the fleet.

A spokesman for the RFTA told the Post Independent that the problem is common in biodiesel and can be fixed with an anti-algae additive. However, the biodiesel supplier did not inform the RFTA that there might be a problem.

Now the problem is fixed, the RFTA said it plans to continue using biodiesel in an effort to wean itself from petroleum products produced in other countries.