The commissioners of Minnesota’s agriculture, pollution and commerce departments all gave their seal of approval for increased levels of biodiesel during a press conference in the Minnesota Soybean booth Thursday at Farmfest.
“Implementing the B20 mandate is the culminating step in Minnesota’s commitment to biodiesel and renewable fuels,” says Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Since 2005, we’ve been the leader in growing the biodiesel industry nationwide, and it has resulted in added value to our agricultural sector.”
According to the American Lung Association, the use of biodiesel significantly reduces tail pipe emissions. B20 (20 percent biodiesel blend) is expected to reduce 130 tons of particulate emissions and approximately 1 million tons of CO2 next year.
“Increasing biofuels will help protect and preserve Minnesota’s air and water quality for generations to come, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, all while supporting Minnesota farmers,” says Minnesota Pollution Control Commissioner John Stine
Biodiesel currently adds 63 cents to a bushel of soybeans; when B20 goes into effect in May 2018, Frederickson says he hopes that value will double. A large portion of Minnesota’s biodiesel is made from homegrown soybeans, which are one of the state’s leading cash crops. Minnesota’s biodiesel industry annually contributes more than $1.7 billion to the economy.
“B20 will help keep Minnesota at the forefront of the clean energy revolution that is expanding opportunities for the state’s farmers and rural communities,” says Minnesota Commerce commissioner Mike Rothman.
The state currently has three biodiesel plants located in Albert Lea, Brewster and Isanti, which combined, produces more than 74 million gallons of biodiesel annually.
“This is a really exciting time for agriculture and all Minnesotans,” says Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President Mike Petefish. “It’s a win-win. We appreciate the support of these commissioners and Governor Dayton as we get ready for B20. It’s been a team effort.”
In 2005, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to require all diesel fuel to have a blend of at least 2 percent biodiesel, known as B2. Minnesota will once again become a leader when it becomes the first state to implement B20.
“We’re a leader in good ideas here in Minnesota,” Frederickson says. “We’re ready to go.”