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Ask for it!  Pump it!   or
GROW IT ! & Profit from it!

The Soybean & Corn checkoff helpes to develop soy/corn-based biodiesel.   Government and industry studies show it's good for our engines, the environment, and most importantly, YOU! 


Ethanol Industry Produces All-Time Monthly Record in September
- 11/23/2004

From Pro Farmer

Staff Writer Julianne Johnston

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) announced on Wednesday, November 24th, 2004, that the U.S. ethanol industry set an all-time monthly production record in September of 226,000 barrels per day (b/d), according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Production was up 19 percent compared to last September when 190,000 b/d of ethanol were produced. The previous all-time monthly record of 225,000 b/d was set in August of this year.

The ethanol industry is expected to produce more than 3.35 billion gallons in 2004, up from 2.81 billion gallons in 2003. Currently, 82 ethanol plants nationwide have the capacity to produce nearly 3.5 billion gallons annually. There are 16 ethanol plants under construction with a combined annual capacity of over 750 million gallons.

What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

Is Biodiesel the same thing as raw vegetable oil?
Biodiesel is produced from any fat or oil such as soybean oil, through a refinery process called transesterification. This process is a reaction of the oil with an alcohol to remove the glycerin, which is a by-product of biodiesel production. Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution. Raw vegetable oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, it is not registered with the EPA, and it is not a legal motor fuel.

For entities seeking to adopt a definition of biodiesel for purposes such as federal or state statute, state or national divisions of weights and measures, or for any other purpose, the official definition consistent with other federal and state laws and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines is as follows:

Biodiesel is defined as mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in diesel engines. Biodiesel refers to the pure fuel before blending with diesel fuel. Biodiesel blends are denoted as, "BXX" with "XX" representing the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend (ie: B20 is 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel).

Is biodiesel used as a pure fuel or is it blended with petroleum diesel?
Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel or blended with petroleum in any percentage. B20 (a blend of 20 percent by volume biodiesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel) has demonstrated significant environmental benefits with a minimum increase in cost for fleet operations and other consumers.

Is it approved for use in the US?
Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Neat (100 percent) biodiesel has been designated as an alternative fuel by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

How do biodiesel emissions compare to petroleum diesel?
Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. In addition, the exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to diesel.

Of the major exhaust pollutants, both unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are ozone or smog forming precursors. The use of biodiesel results in a substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are either slightly reduced or slightly increased depending on the duty cycle of the engine and testing methods used. Based on engine testing, using the most stringent emissions testing protocols
required by EPA for certification of fuels or fuel additives in the US, the overall ozone forming potential of the speciated hydrocarbon emissions from biodiesel was nearly 50 percent less than that measured for diesel fuel.

Can biodiesel help mitigate global warming?
A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net COČ emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesels closed carbon cycle. The COČ released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel..Is biodiesel safer than petroleum diesel? Scientific research confirms that biodiesel exhaust has a less harmful impact on human health than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel emissions have decreased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrited PAH compounds that have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. Test results indicate PAH compounds were reduced by 75 to 85 percent, with the exception of benzo(a)anthracene, which was reduced by roughly 50 percent. Targeted nPAH compounds were also reduced dramatically with biodiesel fuel, with 2-nitrofluorene and 1-nitropyrene reduced by 90 percent, and the rest of the nPAH compounds reduced to only trace levels.

Does biodiesel cost more than other alternative fuels?
When reviewing the high costs associated with other alternative fuel systems, many fleet managers have determined biodiesel is their least-cost-strategy to comply with state and federal regulations. Use of biodiesel does not require major engine modifications. That means operators keep their fleets, their spare parts inventories, their refueling stations and their skilled mechanics. The only thing that changes is air quality.

Do I need special storage facilities?
In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment. Acceptable storage tank materials include aluminum, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene and teflon. Copper, brass, lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided.

Can I use biodiesel in my existing diesel engine?
Biodiesel can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system. Biodiesel has a solvent effect that may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel storage. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken. Ensure that only fuel meeting the biodiesel specification is used.

Where can I purchase biodiesel?
Biodiesel can be made available anywhere in the US. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) maintains a list of registered fuel marketers. A current list is available on the biodiesel web site at or by calling the NBB at (800) 841-5849.

Who can answer my questions about biodiesel?
The NBB maintains the largest library of biodiesel information in the US. Information can be requested by visiting the biodiesel web site at, by emailing the NBB at, or by calling NBBs toll free number (800) 841-5849.


Corn Power: Where and When?

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports that if corn as an alternative-energy vision becomes reality, you can thank three University of Minnesota researchers who appear to have removed a major stumbling block in the search for a cleaner way to use hydrogen to power conventional fuel cells.

In a breakthrough outlined in the Feb. 13 issue of Science, they've discovered an efficient way to capture hydrogen from ethanol, produced in great quantities in Minnesota and other Corn Belt states. Not only does it promise to boost the state's ethanol industry, but it also could spark efforts to create a "hydrogen economy" that's less dependent on imported fuels such as gasoline and natural gas.

The most immediate applications, they said, are in places where cheap power often isn't available: isolated homes or air-conditioning units of diesel trucks. But eventually, they said, communities could build their own power plants and not have to rely on huge power producers located hundreds of miles away.

But how soon, and where, the technology would be applied, depend on a variety of factors, including public interest, the price of the energy, and existing regulatory obstacles according to the article.

Even though hydrogen is the most common element on Earth and has been touted as a clean, renewable energy source, the typical process of extracting it from fossil fuels in large refineries has been costly, dirty and energy-consuming, limiting its appeal.

Enter Professor of Chemical Engineering, Lanny Schmidt and two assistants, Gregg Deluga and graduate student James Salge. All are from the University of Minnesota's department of chemical engineering and materials science.

According to the article, over the past year, they've built a reactor at the university that converts ethanol, a renewable corn-based product produced in 14 plants statewide, into hydrogen. That, in turn, can be used to power a fuel cell, a battery-like device that converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and heat.

Schmidt said their 3-foot-high prototype reactor could be built small enough to hold in a hand. Besides being used for mini power plants, he said, it eventually could be adapted to vehicles.

"We were kind of surprised nobody had done it previously," Schmidt explained. "But after you look at it, we see why people may have tired and given up."

Private industries, he said, have a keen interest in hydrogen technology and can be expected to expand on the technology's opportunities and options.

"Time will tell if this technology really does make it more practical to use ethanol to produce hydrogen," said Ralph Groschen, senior marketing specialist for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. "If it does, it could be quite a development."

The discovery comes as Minnesota and the rest of nation work to make hydrogen more feasible as a power source.

President Bush, for example, has made widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells the centerpiece of his energy plan.