(In reference to “Biodiesel Ices Black Eye,” page 4, December 2005.)

Editor's note: A letter from Kevin Sorg discussed concerns over some fuel filter changes after he switched to B20, a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel.

I commend Mr. Sorg for making the commitment to use B20. As standard practice, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) recommends that B20 users check fuel filters more often than usual during the first six months of use. This is because biodiesel is a good cleaning agent and can bring up sediment that normally sits at the bottom of petrodiesel tanks. That sediment can end up in the fuel filter. This phenomenon depends on the blend level used and whether there are petrodiesel deposits in the tank. With B20, it happens only occasionally. Once the system is clean, this phenomenon generally goes away.

With that said, fuel quality is also extremely important. All biodiesel should meet the national standard, ASTM D-6751, before blending to ensure a trouble-free experience. Biodiesel that meets the standard and that is properly handled can perform year-round in blends of 20% or less, even in cold temperatures. NBB and the Minnesota Biodiesel Council have taken aggressive measures to encourage strict quality control in Minnesota.

Biodiesel is worth the effort. Its use contributes to the farm economy, which is one reason farmers have invested millions of dollars in biodiesel research and development through the soybean checkoff. Biodiesel also reduces emissions, and will help us achieve the domestic energy security we so urgently need in the U.S.
Dan Erickson
Alden, MN

(In reference to “Why Aren't They Checking?” page 4, Mid-February 2006)

Our experience with FMD was much like yours. About 10 days before 9/11 we came from Manchester, England, which was in the center of FMD at the time. There were no cattle or sheep visible in the country as 28 of us traveled through England and Scotland. Several times as we attended fairs and some farms we used footbaths, etc. Like your group we were told to expect to find the same when we first landed in the U.S.

Since most of us were either farmers or farm oriented, we were surprised to find not a thing there. I tried to tell someone in government about our experience, but after 9/11 I didn't think anyone cared about it, so I just gave up. It doesn't sound to me like we have much more protection today. At the time, we put our shoes in the freezer and washed everything, trying not to carry anything into our country. But what is the government doing?
Francis Bateman
New Weston, OH