RV One's unveiling showcases soy biodiesel

The unveiling of Gov. Mitch Daniels' newly repainted and remodeled RV One - a Statehouse on wheels, complete with dark blue and gold Indiana flag paint job - also served as the platform for Daniels to announce his signing of House Bill 1032. The bill requires state vehicles to be fueled with agriculture-based fuels whenever possible. Gov. Mitch Daniels and Jim Shriver of the Indiana Soybean Board mimic fueling RV One from what one hopes is a non-functioning soy biodiesel pump in front of the Statehouse.

RV One runs on a B20 mixture - 20 percent soy biodiesel mixed with traditional diesel fuel - that was donated by the Indiana Soybean Board.

The Governor's Office said that Indiana sales of biodiesel blended fuels are expected to increase tenfold in 2005, from 20 million to 200 million gallons.

Jim Shriver of the Indiana Soybean Board said that the soy oil is a byproduct of soybean processing that normally goes into landfills. B20 soy biodiesel is comparable to fossil fuel diesel in price but more environmentally friendly.

"There's 12 percent less particulate matter coming out the exhaust pipe, 12 percent less carbon monoxide and 20 percent less hydrocarbons," Shriver said. "Every gallon of biodiesel fuel you use is another gallon we don't need to import from foreign oil producers. Plus, it's an investment in this state's 28,000 soybean farmers."

Jon Lantz of Countrymark Co-Operative said that Indiana is one of the major biodiesel centers in the country, with 40 pumps around the state, but that there's a long way to go.

"Our biggest challenge is to get it mainstreamed," he said. "It's becoming more popular in consumer vehicles such as pickup trucks, and Jeep is really promoting its new Liberty as a user of biodiesel fuel."

He also noted that soy biodiesel fuel interfaces almost seamlessly with traditional diesel engines, and in most cases can go right into a standard diesel engine. It's also one of the most efficient alternative fuels.

"One of the key criticisms of the alternative fuel industry is that it takes more energy to refine than it yields," Lantz said. "Soy biodiesel isn't like that; the ratio of energy yielded to refinement is 3:1."

Daniels said that HB 1032 and RV One were intended to lead by example in encouraging Hoosiers to use more environmentally friendly fuel.

"If we encourage more usage, that'll make it practical for more outlets, which in turn will hopefully generate more usage," Daniels said.

Facts about Biodiesel:

* Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources such as soybeans.

* Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel.

* RV One uses a 20 percent (B20) mixture of soy biodiesel and traditional diesel fuel.

* Biodiesel can be used in compression-ignition engines with little or no modification.

* B20 soy biodiesel reduces hydrocarbons by 20 percent, particulate matter by 12 percent and carbon monoxide by 12 percent.

* Indiana leads the nation in biodiesel distribution infrastructure with 12 fuel terminals with biodiesel blending capabilities.

* Indiana is home to 40 retailers that deliver biodiesel blended fuels and 39 service stations with biodiesel blended fuels available at the pump.

* Sales of Indiana biodiesel blended fuels are expected to increase tenfold from 20 million gallons in 2004 to 200 million gallons in 2005.


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