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Posted on  

February 18, 2002

Biodiesel distribution system coming to South Dakota

By BERNARD McGHEE, Associated Press Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A soy biodiesel distribution system is coming to South Dakota with the hope of making the fuel more available around the state.

By spring, promoters hope to have biodiesel fuel, made from soybean oil, offered by distributors in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Yankton. The network could expand to Watertown, Mitchell and Wolsey if the demand is high enough, said Rocke Weaver of Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives, one of the organizations taking part in the venture. Currently, biodiesel is available to farmers, primarily, in 55-gallon drums. The biodiesel is blended elsewhere and from there either goes to a farm or a distributor.

"This process, it does work," Weaver said. "But it is really time-consuming and not very cost-effective."

The next step will be persuading area fuel distributors to offer the biodiesel to their customers, said soybean farmer Bob Metz, president of the National Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel has several benefits, said technical consultant Steve Howell. It burns cleaner than conventional diesel, which would be good for the environment and for people, he said. For example, children would be safer around school buses that use diesel fuel.

And, because the fuel can be produced domestically, it could reduce America's dependence on oil from the Middle East, Howell said.

"We need all the renewable fuels and all the alternative fuels we can get to release the grip the OPEC nations have on our country," Howell said.

More demand for soy biodiesel also would mean a demand for more soybeans, which would be good for soybean farmers. This, in turn, would help improve their local economies, Metz said.

There are no biodiesel plants in South Dakota, Metz said. But there is one in Sioux City, Iowa and another in Nebraska, he said.

Tom Kersting, commercial manager for the South Dakota Soybean Processors, said he supported the idea of a distribution system for soy biodiesel.

"Any time you increase the demand for soy and soy products, it's going to have positive impact on the processors," Kersting said.


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