The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is looking to expand its biodiesel infrastruction in the state by providing funding for cold weather blending.
A $300,000 grant program that focuses on helping develop infrastructure for cold weather blending from the MDA has been extended to Dec. 12.
"The purpose of the grant is to provide funding for the addition of infrastructure for cold weather biodiesel blending in areas of the state with the greatest need," Christina Connelly of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said.
"This is directed at existing petroleum terminals that could add infrastructure," said Connelly.
Ralph Groschen of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said winter blending of biodiesel is a challenge.
"There are times because of the weather it's difficult to blend biodiesel in the cold weather because you need to have a system that allows you to heat the biodiesel," said Groschen.
Blending biodiesel in colder temperatures requires special equipment to ensure the blending is done properly Groschen said.
"You need to have tanks that are warm,. We like to think people can keep it at 60 to 70 degrees if they're going to try to blend biodiesel fuel," said Groschen. "You almost have to heat trace the lines that are going to the rack to the trucks.
"You need that kind of infrastructure if you are going to successfully blend biodiesel in cold weather."
Groschen said a lot of biodiesel in southwestern Minnesota comes out of Sioux Falls, S.D., where there isn't as much cold weather infrastructure.
"Sioux Falls covers a large area of southwestern Minnesota," said Groschen. "There might be times when Marshall or Mankato might be out of diesel fuel and it makes it even more critical."
Groschen said Marshall has suffered from limited availability in biodiesel in recent years.
"Marshall is better this year and hasn't had quite so many outages," said Groschen. "If Sioux Falls was to find a way to put blending capacity in there in some way it would make it a lot easier for diesel suppliers in that area."
Groschen said the funding is intended to all for biodiesel resources in areas of the state that might otherwise be underserved during winter months.