BNSF will use Montana grown and produced Biodi

LtoR: Pam Ost, EPAC Executive Director;
Senator Jon Tester; Patsy Reimche,
EPAC Office Manager

Ethanol Producers And Consumers staff Pam Ost, Executive Director and PatsyReimche, Office Manager attended the official recognition of the partnership between Montana State University-Northern and BNSF Railway, July 17th at the BNSF Railway Depot in Havre Montana.

The event was sponsored by Bear Paw Development Corporation, Opportunity Link and Earl Fisher Bio-Fuels along with MSUN and BNSF with special guest Senator Jon Tester.

The Event kicked off the MSUN Bio-Energy Centers yearlong demonstration project using a B20 blend of Montana produced biodiesel on a BNSF switch engine. The Bio-Energy Center will test biodiesel produced by Earl Fisher Biofuels in one of two BNSF Railway switch engines used at the Havre Depot. The testing will take place during the four seasons of Montana weather from extreme cold to intense heat. During the year long program one switch train will continue to use diesel to act as a control and the other will run on a mix of 20 percent biodiesel, which BNSF requires be made with Montana-grown oil seeds.

Many of the BNSF diesel shop employees were once students at MSUNorthern and Greg Kegel, dean of MSU-Northern’s College ofTechnical Sciences took the idea to BNSF that the college could test biodiesel train engines. BNSF saw it as a way to help both the Bio-Energy Center and the Hi-Line work force. Because the college wasn’t capable of producing the quantity of fuel needed for the test, it turned to nearby Earl Fisher Biofuels located in Chester. Their company mission is to convert locally grown crops into clean burning fuels. In business for more than three years, last year, the company added the Montana Department of Transportation and the Havre and Chester school districts to its list of winter clients. With BNSF now a steady client, it will have year-round demand for biodiesel and for the crops — such as camelina, canola and safflower seeds — that produce it.

The Bio-Energy Center will certify the Chester-made fuel to standard; and every three months during the test, center staff will compare the fuel performance, consumption and emissions of both of Havre’s switch engines to see how the biodiesel performs. Data obtained from this project will enable BNSF and others to make important decisions about the future use of renewable fuels, provide valuable information to engine component manufacturers and aid MSUN in the additional markets for biodiesel in Montana. BNSF also anticipates that data will show that the use of the blend of biodiesel will show the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the single locomotive engine by 1.4 million metric tons during the one-year test period.

The MSU Northern Bio Energy Center will be the site of the October 19-20th Agricultural Biofuel Summit facilitated by Ethanol Producers And Consumers made possible thru a Growth Through Agriculture grant in partnership with MSU Northern and Bear Paw Development.