Professional Quality Products
Biodiesel and Cold Weather meet in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recently released (February 15, 2009) a report to the legislature regarding the states mandated biodiesel program and the cold weather issues it has caused.
Starting in September 2005 Minnesota required that virtually all diesel fuel sold in the state contain at least 2% biodiesel. This level is supposed to be raised to 5% in 2009, 10% in 2012, and finally 20% in 2015.
This report by the Governors “Biodiesel Task Force” created in 2003 shows that there a number of significant problems with using biodiesel blends, particularly in areas subject to long periods of cold weather.
Some of the issues noted in the report:
Laboratory testing has indicated that blending with number one (#1) diesel at 50/50 rate produces results similar to treating with additives but the #1 fuel is at a far higher cost.
There is also a concern over whether the current testing (e.g. Cloud Point (CP), Cold Filter Plug Point (CFPP), Pour Point (PP), low Temperature Flow Test (LTFT)) done to assess cold weather operability characteristics of diesel fuel are adequate for testing biodiesel blends.
Unfortunately this discussion has been complicated by many factors including the change from Low Sulfur (LSD) to Ultra-Low Sulfur diesel (ULSD), that diesel fuel changes seasonally, the fact that biodiesel derived from different base oils have far different characteristics, that transportation and storage affect quality, and that materials will tend to precipitate out of biodiesel when it cold for extended periods of time.
To read the complete Minnesota Report to the Legislature please click here: Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force - Report to the Legislature February 2009
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Copyright 2009© - William Richards
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Last modified: 04/06/09
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