Minnesota green lights jump to 10 percent biodiesel

By Ron Kotrba | October 28, 2013

After some delay, beginning next July every gallon of diesel sold in Minnesota will contain 10 percent biodiesel. In the Sept. 30 edition of the Minnesota State Register, the state agriculture department announced four conditions required by the statute had finally been met to move from 5 to 10 percent biodiesel. Since the standard kicks off July 1, the higher blend will be required July through October next year, and April through October in subsequent years. In the off months, the standard blend for No. 2 will roll back to B5. The waiver on blending biodiesel with No. 1 from Oct. 1 through March 31 is still in effect, however, and is not set to expire until May 1, 2015.

In 2005, Minnesota implemented the nation’s first B2 biodiesel mandate. In 2009, the requirement jumped to B5. The move to B10 was slated for 2012, but two caveats to the increase under the third statutory condition involving adequate blending infrastructure and regulatory protocol were not met. A Nov. 3, 2011, letter from state commissioners explains the delay specifically involved inadequate regulatory protocol and blending infrastructure. “The length of the interval between [Weights & Measures] inspections might allow for an opportunity for undetected violations of the content mandate,” the letter stated. “Also, Weights & Measures does not have the authority to audit or inspect at farms or fleet facilities to determine if Minnesota bulk facilities are delivering mandate-compliant fuel.” Regarding blending infrastructure, the letter stated the southwestern portion of Minnesota historically has experienced issues with access to mandate-compliant fuel.

This July, the state biodiesel task force met to evaluate the four conditions, including regulatory protocol and blending infrastructure. Kevin Hennessy, biofuels manager with the state agriculture department, was at the meeting. He says with Harms Oil’s new biodiesel blending facility across the southwestern state line in Sioux Falls, S.D., which opened last fall, and Western Petroleum supplying biodiesel blends through the NuStar terminal in Sioux Falls, blending infrastructure deficiencies for southwest Minnesota have been deemed by the task force to be alleviated. On regulatory protocol, Minnesota passed H F 634, which changes the delivery ticket requirements so the biodiesel component needs to be reported. According to Hennessy, these are metered tickets in addition to the bill of lading, which already had the biodiesel content. Previously, the biodiesel percentage was only required on the metering ticket if it was above 5 percent.

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