Minnesota to Study Cold Flow Biodiesel Issue

John Davis

As Minnesota gets set to implement the nation’s biggest biodiesel mandate (as we reported back in May), that by the year 2015 could see 20 percent of all diesel sold in the state come from biodiesel, officials are tackling an issue that literally gums up the works: the flow of biodiesel in the cold.

This article from Biodiesel Magazine says the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force is putting together a committee to look at how to solve the flow of biodiesel problem in the state’s bone-chilling winters:

The Minnesota legislature instructed the task force to create a technical committee to discuss cold weather issues related to biodiesel. Plans are for the committee to start meeting in late July or early August and have recommendations for the NextGen board by January 2009. “That group will be made up of technical folks who will be able to discuss what problems we can anticipate and what can be done about those,” [Ralph Groschen, an agriculture marketing specialist for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture] said.

The article goes on to say that officials are trying to head off some of the problems of a couple of years ago when off-spec biodiesel and cold weather clogged a lot of diesel engines:

The technical committee will create recommendations to make sure that the cold weather problems with biodiesel won’t reoccur in future years. According to Groschen, the industry has already taken a proactive approach to preventing future cold flow problems. “We don’t expect a lot of big changes to be made at this point,” he said.

The percentage of biodiesel in Minnesota’s mandate, as well as the success, is dependent on availability of the green fuel and its quality control.