Minnesota reports clean bill health for biodiesel

| 4/7/2006

Following a winter of problems and production suspensions, Minnesota’s biodiesel industry reported a trouble-free March.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that both the Minnesota Trucking Association and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association said they are getting no complaints from their members or anyone else about the state’s biodiesel supply.

Minnesota ran into a snag in the fall when it became the first state to require that all diesel sold in the state be a 2 percent biodiesel blend. The complaint calls quickly started rolling in.

Across the state, numerous truckers and fleet owners complained of clogged fuel filters and other engine problems, forcing state officials to temporarily suspend the biodiesel mandate until the problem could be solved.

The mandate was reinstated in February after weeks of research determined that one bad batch of biodiesel that did not meet specifications for glycerin content was to blame for the problems.

Edward Garvey, deputy commissioner of the state Commerce Department, told The Pioneer Press that the upshot of all the problems is that it lead to tougher standards for biodiesel production in the state.

“First, biodiesel producers started to raise their game and make a concerted effort to police themselves and assure greater quality,” he said. “Second, petroleum purchasing folks raised their game, and their purchasing requirements went above and beyond what’s in the (biodiesel mandate). And third, we increased our enforcement.”