Biodiesel fuel legislation makes Minnesota history
St. Paul, MN— Minnesota
became the first state in the nation to require that diesel fuel
sold in the state contain two-percent biodiesel. Governor Tim
Pawlenty and Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson kicked off
the biodiesel standard at a school bus garage in Mendota Heights,
before traveling to biodiesel plants in Albert Lea, Brewster,
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel
made from domestic, renewable oils and fats. In Minnesota it is
made primarily from soybean oil. Mixtures of biodiesel and petrodiesel
are called “biodiesel blends,” with B2 being two-percent
biodiesel. Biodiesel blends are already used by hundreds of vehicle
fleets, including the U.S. military, Yellowstone National Park,
and various Minnesota cities and counties.
The 2002 Minnesota Legislature
passed a law requiring that diesel fuel sold in Minnesota contain
at least two-percent biodiesel (B2). The requirement was designed
to take effect one month after the state had certified that it
had the capacity to produce eight million gallons of biodiesel.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson
certified this production capacity in the August 29 edition of
the state register, and the requirement began September 29, 2005.
B2 can be used in conventional
vehicles without any engine modifications. According to the National
Biodiesel Board, all diesel engine makers with equipment in North
America support the use of up to five percent biodiesel meeting
national and local specifications. Independent tests have shown
that biodiesel reduces harmful vehicle emissions such as unburned
hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Minnesota
has three biodiesel plants, located in Albert Lea, Brewster and
Redwood Falls. They have a combined annual production capacity
of nearly 63 million gallons.