|By MICHELE F. MIHALJEVICH
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Indiana is going to lead the nation in soy diesel, Gov. Mitch Daniels said last week at the opening of the state’s fourth B20 soy biodiesel public pump.
The pump, at the newly opened Energy Plus 24 facility in Fort Wayne, is the first in northeastern Indiana. It opened Thursday.
B20 is a 20 percent soybean oil blended diesel fuel. It can be used in any vehicle that uses diesel. The state’s other public pumps are in Tipton, Bluffton and Goshen.
“There really isn’t anyone ahead of us right now (in soy diesel),” Daniels said. “It’s such an important part of our future. There isn’t any reason we can’t become the Texas of renewable fuels.”
Energy Plus 24 is owned by AgPlus, a locally owned farmer owned cooperative, said Jeff Mize, the company’s chief executive officer.
“This helps us to lessen our dependence on foreign oil,” he said. “We’re trying to support Indiana and Midwestern producers.”
AgPlus has sold B2, a 2 percent soybean blend diesel, for about a year and a half, Mize said. They sold to most school systems in Allen County and some in Whitley County.
AgPlus has 67 full-time employees and serves 11 counties in northeastern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, Mize said.
Because no modifications are needed for vehicles to run with soy biodiesel, consumers can begin using B20 immediately, said Belinda Puetz, director of marketing for the Indiana Soybean Board.
“We are thrilled at this great opportunity for everyone in Indiana to see in action that this is a reliable and readily available product,” she said. “Consumers can see what a proven fuel this is.”
Soy biodiesel is cheaper per gallon than diesel, she said.
Next year will be a monumental year for biodiesel in Indiana, said Chris Novak, executive director of the Indiana Soybean Board.
By the end of this year, four million gallons of biodiesel will have been pumped in the state, he said.
“We will be bringing more biofuels home to the consumers of Indiana,” he said. “Farmers are excited their crops will soon be flowing through pumps and into vehicles in Fort Wayne.”
Biodiesel will play an important role in making Indiana’s economy strong, Daniels said.
“We are trying to rebuild an Indiana economy that has taken a lot of hits,” he said. “There is no one magic answer.
“There is no more important component than agriculture, and no more important part of agriculture than renewable fuels.”
Published in the November 9, 2005 issue of Farm World.