Sioux City Journal: Iowa Farmer Pushes Biodiesel, However It’s Made

Posted on June 30th, 2014

From Sioux City Journal (June 29, 2014):

Ed Ulch has been fueling his farm equipment with biodiesel for 12 years or more.

He ordered the first blends, shipped in 2½-gallon jugs, from a plant in Kansas.

The volume of U.S. production has changed since then.

In 2013, U.S. plants produced 1.8 billion gallons, Ulch said, more than the Renewable Fuel Standard-mandated 1.28 billion gallons.

It’s made using a variety of feedstocks with soy oil at the top of the list.

Ulch is District 6 director for the Iowa Soybean Association and is the group’s representative on the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

According to first-quarter numbers for 2014, he said soybean oil made up 51 percent of biodiesel feedstocks. In 2013, 5.5 billion pounds of soy oil were used to produce biodiesel.

The rest is filled in by animal fats, recycled restaurant grease, palm oil and alternative crops, such as cottonseed oil in the South.

About half of Iowa’s 12 biodiesel plants are multi-feedstock plants. The other six use mainly soybean oil and are directly connected to soybean processors, said Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director.

While RFS standards and tax incentives have been up in the air this year, more flexibility in feedstocks could help plants survive leaner production.

Read the rest of the article.

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