September 17, 2003 | By: Haven Miller

A statewide program is giving diesel customers a chance to evaluate soy-based biodiesel, a processed fuel made from soybean oil.

For the second year in a row the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board has supplied a handful of distributors around the state with 1,000 gallons of the soy-based fuel at no charge.  The distributors then pass it along to their customers.

Soybean producers hope the fuel continues to attract interest as usage increases.

“If interest in soy-based biodiesel continues to grow that’s good news for our Kentucky farmers because it creates a larger demand for soybean oil,” said Debbie Ellis, executive director of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board.

This year, for the first time, the Board included the University of Kentucky and its College of Agriculture in its list of distributors receiving the 1,000 gallons. The 1,000 gallons will be mixed with 9,000 gallons of conventional petroleum diesel to make a 10 percent blend. More than 200 UK vehicles will fill up with the blended fuel.

“We’re going to conduct an evaluation of the soy-based fuel in every diesel vehicle we have, which includes busses, trucks, bulldozers, combines and tractors,” said Bill Peterson, director of management operations in the UK College of Agriculture.

Peterson said the evaluation will include asking drivers about vehicle performance, checking exhaust pipes to determine any difference in smoke that is emitted, and monitoring possible differences in miles per gallon.

“Receiving this 1,000 gallons from the Promotion Board means a reduced cost for us and is a big lift in terms of being able to perform this test,” he said. 

Biodiesel is one of the more widely used alternative fuels in the United States.  Soy-based biodiesel is recommended to be used as a blend. 

“A blended biodiesel fuel of a least two percent soy-based biodiesel provides the lubricity that an engine needs, and also is environmentally beneficial,” said Ellis.  “What we’d ideally like is to see two percent biodiesel blend sold at all the pumps across America.”  


Sources: Debbie Ellis, 270-365-7214; Bill Peterson,   859-257-2983