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Researchers bring soy biodiesel for cold weather testing

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902

03/02/09

A team of scientists, researchers, soybean farmers and truckers will be in Alaska March 5-10 for cold weather testing of soy biodiesel. The Indiana Soybean Alliance has partnered with UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences to road test Permaflo Biodiesel at northern latitudes.

"We want to highlight the versatility of Permaflo Biodiesel in two different cold climate applications, namely stationary power and transportation," said Megan Kuhn, communications director for Indiana Soybean Alliance. The team will fly from Indiana to Anchorage and drive vehicles powered with biodiesel to Fairbanks. Part of the crew will continue the drive to the Arctic Circle where they will camp with a generator that runs on biodiesel.

Permaflo Biodiesel is a unique formulation of biodiesel that is processed to significantly reduce the traditional problems of biodiesel performance in cold-weather conditions. The process changes the chemical composition of biodiesel to lower the cloud point temperature-the point when crystallization starts and the oil begins to appear clouded. The biodiesel is capable of working at temperatures down to minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit without gelling. Purdue University professor Bernie Tao created the technology with funding from the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Tao contacted UAF assistant professor Andy Soria at the Palmer Research and Extension Center for collaboration on the Alaska testing project. Soria studies Alaska trees to see if they have could be used to create biofuel and bio-based products. A pioneer in the liquefaction of wood using supercritical fluids, Soria is building a biofuel laboratory at the Palmer Research and Extension Center to develop and test biofuels made from low-grade wood, woody biomass, and fire- and insect-killed trees.

CONTACT: Nancy Tarnai, UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences public information officer, 907-474-5042 or fnnjt@uaf.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Researchers will give a presentation March 9 at 11:30 a.m. at Pike's Waterfront Lodge. The workshop/luncheon will highlight the results of five years of research. Topics will include: overcoming cold flow properties of biodiesel, unveiling of patent-pending Permaflo technology, challenges of producing biofuel crops in Alaska, the role of natural resources in meeting Alaska's energy and sustainability needs, and research projects at the Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station involving biofuels and locally available biomass. Contact Tarnai to attend.

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