MN Biodiesel anniversary

Slunecka: Biodiesel anniversary a celebration of innovation

Around 27 years ago, biodiesel was a mere idea, sparked from a group of dreamers who were looking for a market to use the excessive supply of soybean oil. Who would have thought we’d grow to where we are today?

Wednesday night, we celebrated Minnesota’s initiative and support of biodiesel, reflecting on the first B2 (2 percent biodiesel blend) legislation becoming law exactly 15 years ago to date, while looking forward to B20 coming in the summer of 2018. The open house at the Minnesota Soybean office allowed farmers, legislators and industry leaders to come together and reminisce on how far that one vision and dream has grown.

It was not only that small group of people that brought biodiesel to light, but with the support of farmers, universities, legislators and researchers, one vision became a reality. They had created America’s first advanced biofuel.

Today, biodiesel adds an estimated 63 cents per bushel of soybeans, contributes more than $200 million to Minnesota’s economy annually and has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 7.4 billion pounds in the state. While many people think of biodiesel as a farm-based industry, the support, opportunities and effects truly go far and beyond. 

As we look toward the years to come, the biodiesel industry is continuing to grow and succeed. With 62,000 jobs supported nationwide, 4,000 of those in Minnesota, biodiesel has done what those dreamers hoped to do so many years ago: find a home for a by-product of soybean crushing. Along the way they found a product that can strengthen rural economies, provide jobs and have a positive environmental impact, all of which are good for Minnesota.

Tom Slunecka is the CEO for Minnesota Soybean and can be reached at 507-388-1635 or tom@mnsoybean.com.