North Star State to require B20 biodiesel

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The first state to introduce a biodiesel mandate in the U.S. will now increase its current requirement of 2 percent biodiesel to 20 percent by 2015.

According to the legislation signed this week by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the current 2 percent biodiesel mandate will increase to 5 percent on May 1, 2009; to 10 percent on May 1, 2012; and to 20 percent, or B20, on May 1, 2015.

“Implementation of the legislation starting in May of 2009 is timely and workable,” said Chuck Neece, chairman of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council, which championed the legislation.

“The supply from the current biodiesel production capacity in Minnesota already exceeds 64 million gallons, more than enough to meet the five percent requirement, which would be 40 million gallons.”

When Minnesota’s 2 percent biodiesel mandate first went into effect in 2005, there were so many problems reported of fuel filter plugging and other issues that the mandate was suspended for several weeks while producers tried to isolate and address the issue.

Minnesota politicians love their biodiesel

The problem turned out to be quality issues with some batches of biodiesel. The new legislation includes quality assurance and national ASTM fuel specifications.

The increase comes at a time when biofuels are receiving more scrutiny — even in a few environmental circles.

There’s been a series of recent studies in the U.S. — including one from Princeton — that suggest biofuel production is increasing world food prices as growing percentages of grain and agricultural production is diverted to ethanol and biodiesel markets.

Furthermore, the studies allege that biofuel creates “carbon debt” as more new fields are plowed to grow food crops that were previously turned into farms for biofuel.

— with files from Truckinginfo.com

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