By setting up one of the nation's first biodiesel networks, the energy division of CHS Cooperatives is leading the way to make biodiesel readily available to its Cenex® fuel distributors and their customers.
Farm manager Lanny Moore and his boss J.R. Gibbens believe in soy-based biodiesel so much they buy a 20% blend, even though they pay several cents more per gallon and ship it in from 35 miles away for their 7,000-acre-plus operation.
After studying the benefits of biodiesel, Moore and Gibbens began buying biodiesel-blended fuel from Farmers Union Oil of Devils Lake, N.D., the first fuel dealer in the northeastern part of the state to offer the soybean-based product.
Producers like these and their Cenex® fuel distributors are driving the biodiesel rollout that takes its lead from ethanol. Still in its infancy, biodiesel sales have climbed dramatically, more than doubling each of the last few years.
Offering Premium Biodiesel
With the introduction of Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster B2™, the energy division of CHS Cooperatives is helping propel the growing biodiesel movement. Cenex offers the benefits of a clean-burning alternative fuel from a renewable resource, combined with the proven performance of Ruby Fieldmaster premium diesel fuel.
Cenex distributors can access bulk biodiesel at more than 20 facilities. These facilities offer sources of B100 (100% biodiesel) for distributors' use in splash blending with petroleum diesel. The distribution network now encompasses nine states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
CHS continues to assess adding sites and improving economical access to biodiesel. “Interest and demand for biodiesel blends continue to grow as producers and consumers learn more about their many benefits,” says Darin Hunhoff, Cenex brand, products and marketing manager for refined fuels.
“Our goal is to help make biodiesel readily available to our network of Cenex® fuel distributors and their customers,” Hunhoff adds. “This is especially important now and until biodiesel is more fully integrated into the existing petroleum distribution system.”
To help supply this expanding distribution network, the Oilseed Processing and Refining division of CHS is exploring the feasibility of becoming a bulk biodiesel producer.
Soy in Every Tank
In Nebraska, proponents point out that 3,000 gallons of biodiesel generally consume the production of one acre of beans.
“We'd like to see every gallon of diesel fuel be soy additized,” says Phil Smith, manager for Mid-Nebraska Lubricants, the Cenex biodiesel distributor in south-central Nebraska. “It only makes sense. We've always talked about promoting the use of commodities produced by our customers.”
In its first season as a distributor, Heartland moved 51,000 gallons of biodiesel, or nearly 2.5 million gallons of Ruby Fieldmaster B2 fuel. About 16% of the co-op's own customers bought the fuel.
“I was very pleased with the response,” says Smith, based at Trumbull, Neb. “I expected maybe one-fourth of that volume, but there was tremendous interest from our customers and other co-ops and retailers in the region.”
One of those Heartland customers who uses Ruby Fieldmaster B2 is Dan Villars of Minden, Neb. “I thought it was only natural. If I grow soybeans, why not use biodiesel?”