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Posted on  

October 28, 2003

National radio broadcast shows that Iowa’s biodiesel future burns bright

By Dale Johnson

More Iowans and Midwesterners learned about the benefits of biodiesel at a special radio promotion held in Vinton Oct. 22.

The New Century FS Fast Stop hosted AgriTalk, a national agricultural talk show carried on 86 radio stations from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. FS staff, farmers, Iowa Soybean Promotion Board leaders and Benton County Farm Bureau members explained the benefits of using biodiesel.

In addition, each trucker purchasing 50 gallons of biodiesel fuel received a Home Grown fuels cap and a free meal.

“We introduced biodiesel in Vinton in April, and we sold 150,000 gallons this summer just to over-the-road truckers,” explained Jake Jacobs, manager of New Century FS, based in Grinnell.

“More than 70 percent of the fuel taken to our farm customers is now biodiesel. Many farmers are also reporting improved pickup fuel mileage with biodiesel,” he added.

Farmers have been telling Dick Wilson, New Century FS fuel manager, what they think of the fuel.

“They say biodiesel runs smoother because of the lubricity factor. Biodiesel has greater lubricity. It keeps the injectors clean,” Wilson said.

Biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel made from soybeans, with 1.5 gallons of soy oil collected from each bushel of beans. It can be used in existing diesel engines with no modification. It also has no sulfur, which makes it is the only fuel meeting Environmental Protection Act ultra-low sulfur diesel mandated for introduction in 2006. Nationally, biodiesel use is expected to reach 20 million gallons this year.

Truckers like fuel

System-wide, New Century FS biodiesel sales have surpassed 250,000 gallons, said Jacobs. FS in Iowa is offering biodiesel at 50 of its Fast Stop stations, and at nearly 200 in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Vinton fueling station is popular because of heavy traffic from the Interstate. Many trucks hauling grain to Cedar Rapids and Waterloo are repeat customers. The fuel also powers school buses in the Vinton-Shellsburg, Grinnell, Montezuma and South Tama school districts.

The fuel costs 3 cents per gallon more, but “there’s a feeling this is the right thing. It’s sustainable, home-grown,” Jacobs said.

Price isn’t a concern with farmers—in fact, it hasn’t entered conversations. Farmers want a reliable supply of a renewable fuel for farm pickups, tractors and other diesel equipment.

FS receives its biodiesel fuel from the West Central Cooperative headquartered at Ralston, the largest soy oil processing plant in the Midwest.

The two-hour talk show on AgriTalk was sponsored by GROWMARK, a farmer-owned regional cooperative affiliated with Farm Bureau. The cooperative has provided leadership in the development and testing of biodiesel. For more information, go to www.biodiesel.org.



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