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Country’s first biodiesel blender pump opens in Indiana
Indiana Correspondent

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Indiana’s biofuels industry proved it can take the lead Friday with the opening of the country’s first biodiesel blender pump at Hamilton County Co-op’s Energy PLUS 24 station on Allisonville Road. The state’s newest E-85 pump also opened at the site.

The biodiesel blender pump was created by Countrymark Co-op and Hamilton County Co-op. Customers looking for a soy diesel blend can choose the amount - 5, 10 or 20 percent - that they mix into their petroleum distillate with the push of a button as they fill their fuel tanks.

“Our demand for premium diesel has doubled since we began incorporating soy,” said Energy and Retail Station Manager Nancy Nance. “This community is very supportive of American-made Co-op soy biodiesel and gasoline.”

More than 100 people attended the opening of the biofuels island, including agriculture, energy and government leaders to celebrate “Energy Independence Day.”

The celebration was for “American ingenuity,” said Countrymark Co-op CEO Charlie Smith. He said he was proud to work with Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and the Daniels administration for their vision to make Indiana a leader in the biofuels industry.

“Biodiesel has been a success in Indiana without mandates,” Smith said. “It’s good to work with professionals with an eye toward business partnerships and an eye toward government partnerships.

“We’ve taken Indiana from a sleepy state to a visionary state.” Indiana Soybean Board President Mark Seib said the biofuels industry is working for the soybean farmer, creating a demand for more soybeans.

The ISB has invested in soy biodiesel awareness campaigns, state-of-the-art blending technology, biodiesel training and agronomic research to help farmers produce more soybean oil per acre.

Planning began on the biofuels island last year, with the installation of three 12,000-gallon tanks. Two tanks carry the EPA-approved Ultra Low Sulfur (ULS) diesel ready for dispensing as a soy biodiesel blend, and the remaining tank is dedicated to E-85, a gasoline, which is 85 percent corn-based ethanol and 15 percent petroleum distillate.

The biodiesel blender pump works the same as gasoline pumps, which create mid-grade gasoline through a mixture of premium and unleaded at the pump. Soy biodiesel is pumped as B5, B20 or the combination of the two, resulting in a B10 product.

Kellie Walsh, executive director of Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance, said the new pumps represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“When a consumer makes a choice for 5, 10 or 20 percent of biodiesel or E85, they are displacing foreign oil consumption 100 percent,” Walsh said.

The Noblesville site marks the state’s fourth B20 pump and 39th E-85 pump. Another E-85 pump will open soon, hitting the state’s goal of 40 pumps in 2006 six months ahead of schedule, said Lt. Gov. Skillman.

As Indiana’s biofuels industry continues to grow, Skillman said one factor is lagging behind: consumer acceptance.

“Do your part,” she challenged the crowd. “Tell your friends and neighbors to try it.”

This farm news was published in the July 5, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.