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12 Successful Years Burning Biodiesel
“I started using biodiesel 12 years ago, when the product was just being introduced, and I’ve never had a problem with any of the diesel tractors or vehicles that I’ve used it in all that time, other than changing 2 fuel filters, which needed changing anyhow,” says Iowa farmer Ed Ulch.
  “We get our biodiesel direct from a supplier and use almost 5,000 gal. a year. In the cold weather we use a 5 percent blend, and for the past 5 years in the summer we’ve gone up to a 35 percent blend. It works the same as petroleum fuel, except that the exhaust smell is more pleasant and the emissions are less harmful.”
  Ulch and his son use biodiesel in 5 tractors and a diesel pickup. They farm about 2,000 acres near Solon. “Our fuel supplier is telling us all the biodiesel we’re using now is made from soybean oil, so that’s a big benefit for us as farmers, too.” Ulch says about 16 percent of the oil from soybean production nationwide goes into biodiesel and Iowa has 13 biodiesel plants producing soybean oil that’s blended with petroleum diesel. About 5.5 billion lbs. of soy oil were used in biodiesel production nationwide in 2013.
   Ulch has been a director on the National BioDiesel board for 9 years. In that role he’s a constant advocate for a product he helps produce. “I go to Washington 3 to 4 times a year and meet with elected officials to promote the product,” says Ulch. “We answer questions and promote a platform that will maintain or increase biodiesel use in the future. There are many favorable benefits to the product like lower harmful emissions, less dependency on foreign oil, and it creates jobs.” He says elected officials are mostly in favor of biodiesel, but the oil industry spends millions of dollars annually to discourage its use.
  “What we’re doing on behalf of the industry is having an impact,” Ulch says. “Using soybeans for biodiesel has provided an additional 74 cents a bushel for soybean farmers. This is an important benefit of the checkoff, where a small amount of money is collected from every bushel of soybeans sold to promote soybean use.”
  Ulch says biodiesel has also reduced the cost of soybean meal, which is beneficial for livestock producers. “Consumers ultimately benefit because it’s a healthy product, free of carcinogens that are found in petroleum-based fuel. Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions by 52 to 86 percent compared to straight petroleum diesel.”
  Ulch says that biodiesel will soon be used more by the marine industry and is now starting to be used by railroads. Most underground mining equipment has switched over to 100 percent biodiesel because emissions are much less. “I noticed early on that our equipment started easier and ran cooler on biodiesel,” says Ulch. “Biodiesel has a higher cetane rating, and it provides more lubricity, which is important with the low sulfur diesel.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ed Ulch, 4672 Sutliff Rd. N.E., Solon, Iowa 52333 (ph 319 624-2911).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5