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OTA concerns with biodiesel strengthened by recent trouble in Minnesota

TORONTO, Ont. Problems with biodiesel in Minnesota, the first jurisdiction in North America is mandate the use of...


TORONTO, Ont. Problems with biodiesel in Minnesota, the first jurisdiction in North America is mandate the use of the fuel in September, have Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) officials saying “I told you so” to the Ontario government.

For the past two years, the OTA has expressed concern that the government’s desire to mandate the use of a two per cent biodiesel blend is premature.

The association has consistently argued that further examination is required to answer trucking industry questions over operational and cost concerns, including biodiesel’s performance in cold weather.

OTA officials said their fears were realized when Minnesota truckers began complaining that their trucks were experiencing significant problems with engine fuel filters becoming plugged with black sludge or wax. The problems were made worse when the cold temperatures arrived and on Dec. 23, the Governor of Minnesota suspended the program for a three-week period to try and determine the source of the problem. The suspension has since been extended to Feb. 10.

The Province of Ontario says its biodiesel would focus more on animal fat-based product than soy-based product which is favoured by Minnesota. Some say that an animal fat-based biodiesel blend has better cold weather properties than soy based product. Nevertheless, OTA says more research in Ontario conditions needs to be undertaken.

“We need to be sure that biodiesel lives up to its advance billing,” said OTA president, David Bradley. “We can’t afford a situation like what has occurred in Minnesota. If our trucks can’t start because of clogged filters then assembly lines will shut-down.”


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