Northeast Iowa Community College to host biodiesel workshop

By Erin Voegele | March 22, 2011

Northeast Iowa Community College is hosting a free biodiesel workshop at its Calmar campus March 24. The three-hour class aims to educate mechanics and equipment owners on the benefits and use of biodiesel. NICC diesel mechanics instructor Pat Osterhaus will teach the workshop.

According to Osterhaus, the session will include background information on the production process used to manufacture biodiesel, as well as information on the benefits associated with the fuel’s use. “Obviously, one of the benefits is lessened demand on foreign oil and fossil fuels,” he said. “We also talk about the benefit of increased lubricity of the fuel. With this new ultra-low sulfur [diesel]…they’ve actually decreased the lubricity of the fuel. That’s become an issue as far as fuel systems are concerned. The reduction in lubricity has caused increased wear in the fuel systems. Using as little as 2 percent biodiesel brings the lubricity of the fuel back up to where it was before they removed the sulfur, so even using small amounts of biodiesel has a good effect on the fuel system components.”

Attendees also have the opportunity to learn about service precautions and fuel storage recommendations associated with biodiesel use. In addition, the workshop addresses the food vs. fuel debate by highlighting that soy methyl ester utilizes only the soybean oil, not the meal. “That’s kind of an eye opener to some people,” Osterhaus said.

The March 24 class will be the fourth biodiesel seminar hosted by NICC. According to Osterhaus, feedback from attendees of the first three classes has been overwhelmingly positive.

The free workshop is supported by grant funding awarded by the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Power Fund. Mechanics and equipment owners interested in attending the class can register by calling (800) 728-2256, extension 399. The reference number for the workshop is 00536. The session is scheduled to run from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


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