Minnesota reinstates biodiesel requirement

| 2/10/2006

Minnesota’s biodiesel requirement has resumed following a suspension that lasted nearly two months while the state’s biodiesel industry worked to clear up problems with the supply.

Edward Garvey, department commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told “Land Line Now” that the biodiesel requirement was officially reinstated on Friday, Feb. 10.

The state began requiring a 2 percent biodiesel blend in all diesel sold in the state in November 2005. But the requirement was suspended in December 2005 after numerous complaints of clogged fuel filters and other engine problems.

Mike Youngerberg, executive director of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council, told “Land Line Now” that the problems have been traced back to a few loads of biodiesel that did not have the right specifications for total glycerin content.

Youngerberg said those loads ended up at several locations in the state and likely caused the filter-plugging issues that plagued many truck operators. Youngerberg said the problem did not affect the entire state and that some biodiesel-fueled operations kept going even during the suspension.

“A lot of the state had absolutely no problems,” he said. “It was very scattered and sporadic.”

The bad product has been completely removed from the market, Youngerberg said, and an additional filterability test has been put in place to help ensure that the problem does not happen again.

“It’s an unfortunate bump in the road,” he said. “We’ve had biodiesel here in the state of Minnesota operating for five or six years and an out of spec product was never anticipated.”