Friday, January 06, 2017

Biodiesel Powers On In "Ice Box of the Nation"

Biodiesel Powers On In "Ice Box of the Nation"

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Photo credit: Voyageurs National Park


Dear Daniel,

Winter arrives early and stays late at Voyageurs National Park in International Falls, Minnesota. The Park's 55-mile northern boundary is the international border between the United States and Canada where below-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall are the norm during the winter months.

"The first winter we started using a blend of B20," says Bill Carlson, facility manager of the park who switched to biodiesel in 2000. "We had temperatures of 20 below zero and had no problems with our fuel."

Carlson typically uses a B20 blend in every vehicle in the park, and runs a few smaller units on B100 during summer months. The park's vehicles range from backhoes to bobcats to plow trucks and a barge, which use five to six thousand gallons of biodiesel a year.  Voyageurs National Park is unique in that they also power their tour boat with biodiesel, which uses an additional 1,500 gallons per year.

Like regular diesel fuel, biodiesel can gel in very cold temperatures.  But a few simple steps can ensure that vehicles and equipment operate trouble-free during the harshest winter weather. 


What you need to know: 

  • Use high-quality fuel that meets the ASTM spec purchased from a reputable supplier. 
  • Be sure to discuss fuel options with your supplier to ensure that both the diesel fuel and biodiesel are blended only after meeting their respective specifications.
  • Develop a good fuel management plan, in partnership with your supplier, that includes additization (just like for regular diesel) to improve cold weather operability. 
  • Test fuel periodically to verify its cold weather properties.
  • Make sure you understand your fuel's cold flow characteristics and have appropriate fuel handling and storage plans in place.
  • Remain diligent on your tank maintenance program to help ensure fuel cleanliness.

Do you have a story to share about your results with biodiesel in the cold? Click here to tell us your story.


The National Biodiesel Board is funded in part by the United Soybean Board and state soybean board checkoff programs.

For more information, visit 


P.O. Box 104898
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4898




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