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Cummins Diesel joining others to tout biodiesel
Indiana Correspondent

FRANKLIN, Ind. — Cummins Engines has joined a state coalition to promote the use of biodiesel fuels. Cummins united with other biofuels industry representatives during a panel discussion at the Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair.

“We not only approve of the use of biodiesel in our engines, but endorse it,” said Ed Friel, a vice president with Cummins Mid-States Power, Inc. in Indianapolis.

He said the company receives many calls asking if it is acceptable to run B5, or 5 percent soy biodiesel, and if it will void the warranty on a Cummins engine in bus and truck fleets.

“Even if they run a B20, it will not void the warranty,” Friel said. “Using biodiesel, in and of itself, does not void the warranty.”

Friel and co-worker Zack Elston joined Mike Carson of Premier Ag in Bartholomew County, Mike Clark of the Monroe County Community School Corp., John Whittington of Integrity Biofuels and Belinda Puetz of the Indiana Soybean Board to discuss the challenges and future of biofuels in Indiana. Jon Lantz of Countrymark Co-op moderated the talk.

Elston said black soot is reduced substantially in engines using biodiesel. Some engine knock is reduced and some is increased depending on the accuracy of the machine.

One component of the biofuels marketing package now in effect is the recent approval of standards set by the American Society of Testing and Materials. Producers of biofuels now have to meet specifications known as BQ9000.

Whittington’s Morristown plant met the ASTM standards and opened this week. He said it is important that all biofuels plants work together and help each other meet the BQ9000 specifications.

Countrymark, which recently moved the nation’s first batch of B5 soy biodiesel through its private pipeline system from Mt. Vernon to Jolietville, blends soy biodiesel with its Co-op Super Dieselex-4.

“No matter how good the B100 (Whittington) mixes, it’s only as good as the diesel you mix it with,” said Carson. “The BQ900 certification is a proven method that the quality has been met.”

Though biodiesel is currently about 4 cents higher per gallon than regular diesel, many schools, municipalities and other fleets are recognizing the benefits of cleaner burning fuel.

Carson was a little hesitant in 2003 when he participated in a pilot program and ran one of the Monroe County school buses on B20. But he experienced no problems, even in sub-freezing temperatures, and in 2004 ran all 110 buses on biodiesel.

“There were no engine problems, no fuel problems,” Carson said. “The garage is cleaner, there’s no soot. With asthma being a big health problem, even with bio costing more, we’re still willing to take the step to do what’s right for the kids.”

Whittington, who ran a truck fleet on B2 before getting into biodiesel production, said some users report a clogged fuel filter and believe the biodiesel is the problem.

“What you’ll find is that sediment has built up there, and the biodiesel is shoving it out of the fuel line and into the fuel filter,” he said.

Friel said one of Cummins proudest moments was during a nationally televised women’s golf outing, airing on the Golf Channel. A power outage required the use of Cummins generators, powered by biodiesel.

“They ran for four days on biodiesel without a hitch on national TV,” Friel said.

Puetz said the goal of the Indiana Soybean Board is to make Indiana a leader in biofuels, but it’s “not a silver bullet.

“If every bushel of soybeans in the United States was used for biodiesel production, it would fill only 5 percent of the U.S. market for diesel,” Puetz said. “It’s just a part of the solution package.”

This farm news was published in the August 9, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.