Biodiesel Fuels Farmers’ Bottom Line, Even in Cold Conditions

January 30, 2015 Ohio Soybean Association

Keeping the streets of New York City clear of snow and ice is no small task when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath and temperatures plummet. With 8.4 million people living in New York City, the stakes are high.

The city operates the largest municipal fleet in the country and relies on biodiesel blends to power 85 percent of its diesel vehicles, including snow plows and other equipment. The city used more than 14 million gallons of biodiesel in 2014, raising demand for soybean oil and positively impacting soybean value.

Like regular diesel fuel, biodiesel can gel in very cold temperatures. But a few simple steps can ensure that vehicles and equipment operate trouble-free all winter long.

What you need to know:

If you’re a biodiesel user – whether it’s in your own vehicle or an entire fleet – rest assured that biodiesel blends can stand up to the harshest winter weather. To avoid gelling and ensure success all winter, follow these simple steps:

  • Use high-quality fuel that meets the ASTM specifications purchased from a reputable supplier.
  • Be sure to discuss fuel options with your supplier to ensure that both the diesel fuel and biodiesel are blended only after meeting their respective specifications.
  • Develop a good fuel-management plan, in partnership with your supplier, that includes winter additives (just like for regular diesel) to improve cold-weather operability.
  • Test fuel periodically to verify its cold-weather properties.
  • Make sure you understand your fuel’s cold-flow characteristics and have appropriate fuel-handling and storage plans in place. Remain diligent on your tank-maintenance program to help ensure fuel cleanliness.