United Soybean Board (USB)

Biodiesel Says: What Polar Vortex?


Source: United Soybean Board (USB)

Diesel engines and cold weather are not known to be close friends, but it’s a manageable relationship. This year’s cold snaps proved to be a particular challenge for diesel users across the country,   biodiesel users included. But, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), biodiesel blends performed as well as diesel fuel throughout the country—thanks to on-going research on biodiesel and tireless dedication to fuel quality through the BQ-9000 fuel quality program.

“Even with the polar vortex, we’ve heard limited reports of issues with biodiesel blends. These reports have been on par, if not less than, petroleum diesel this winter,” says Steve Howell, NBB’s Senior Technical Advisor. “That’s a testament to the dedication of our industry to providing a quality fuel. We’re not seeing issues because this fuel has more quality controls than petroleum diesel and BQ-9000 companies are consistently producing ASTM grade biodiesel.  More than 85 percent of the biodiesel produced in the US last year came from a BQ-9000 accredited producer.

“Of course, if your fuel gels at minus-10 degrees and the temperature gets to minus-20, it’s going to gel with or without biodiesel. You have to be conscious of your fuel’s limitations and take the extra steps needed for maintenance,” Howell adds.

Biodiesel’s quality rivals that of its less-than-renewable counterpart, petroleum diesel. This performance demonstrates America’s Advanced Biofuel’s ability to diversify the U.S. transportation fuel supply.

Biodiesel is used year-round throughout the country. It fuels trucks in Minnesota (the state has a 5 percent biodiesel requirement in No. 2 diesel fuel). And it heats homes on the East Coast. Biodiesel still demands a lot from its primary feedstock: soybean oil.

Through the soy checkoff, U.S. soybean farmers helped shape what the U.S. biodiesel industry is today – a strong market for their soybean oil and added value for their bottom lines. The soy checkoff continues to support biodiesel research and promotion to maintain the industry’s status as a leader in renewable fuels.

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