Editorial: Biodiesel industry has taken right quality steps
Minnesota has put the state's biodiesel mandate law on hold for another 30 days. It is the right step to allow the biodiesel industry more time to ensure the soybean-based fuel does not cause fuel filter problems. In fact, the Minnesota biodiesel...
Minnesota has put the state's biodiesel mandate law on hold for another 30 days.
It is the right step to allow the biodiesel industry more time to ensure the soybean-based fuel does not cause fuel filter problems.
In fact, the Minnesota biodiesel industry has suggested consumers not use the new fuel until they can make sure any fuel-quality problems have been fixed.
The Minnesota industry, the No. 1 biodiesel producer in the nation, worked promptly with the state by twice seeking the emergency waiver putting the biodiesel mandate on hold.
Some poor batches of biodiesel have been blamed for clogging fuel filters around the state. The problem started in December when some truckers reported fuel filters plugged with black sludge or wax.
The industry is also moving to implement a tough quality-control program. This would include making accreditation of biodiesel plants mandatory and requiring a certificate for meeting state standards accompany every shipment of biodiesel.
The Commerce Department and the biodiesel industry should be commended for their quick attention to the problem.
The biodiesel industry must quickly establish the quality of the soybean-based product to build consumer confidence. If that confidence is damaged or destroyed, the industry will suffer significantly.
Already there are three southern Minnesota plants turning soybeans into the majority of the biodiesel used in the state. Some plants are also looking at using other raw material to produce biodiesel.
The cost of biodiesel at about $69 per barrel is now comparable to petroleum at about $57 to $65 per barrel.
Another biodiesel advantage is environmental. Every gallon of biodiesel saves about four gallons of fossil fuel and burns 48 percent less carbon monoxide, according to industry experts.
So a prompt industry response and finding a solution to the fuel filter problem is a key step to continued development of this new Minnesota industry.