LINCOLN, Neb. — A quest for cleaner air led New York City to add more biodiesel into its energy mix, with some help from the Nebraska Soybean Board and ongoing support from the U.S. Soybean Checkoff. Soybean growers from Nebraska and the region recently visited the Big Apple to see how city leaders have made biodiesel a key part of their strategy to reduce vehicle and heating oil emissions. Soybean oil is the feedstock for the majority of biodiesel produced in the U.S.
A biodiesel blend of heating oil, known as Bioheat, has been provided by New York City heating oil dealers for several years. Last year the city council mandated an increased level of biodiesel in the blend due to the success in reducing emissions by using cleaner-burning biodiesel. The Nebraska Soybean Board was instrumental in developing the Bioheat market by funding the testing that led to its approval as a home-heating fuel. Soybean grower Wayne Heermann from Pilger, Neb. participated in the tour and learned firsthand about the role of the Soybean Checkoff in growing the use of biodiesel in New York City.
“I was impressed that the Nebraska Soybean Board and the United Soybean Board were able to get that done. I was proud of how they worked with New York City Council members and others to increase the use of Bioheat,” said Heermann.
New York officials have also increased the use of biodiesel blends to fuel their fleet of diesel vehicles, including fire engines and other equipment they count on in emergencies, even in cold weather.
“It says a lot that the fire department has enough faith in biodiesel to use it when they can’t afford to fail,” said Heermann. “They believe in the quality and reliability of biodiesel and that could lead other cities to try it.”
In 2017 NYC used a record amount of biodiesel blended fuel to keep the nation’s largest municipal vehicle fleet moving. Victor Bohuslavsky, executive director of the NSB, says the growth of Bioheat and biodiesel use in New York is good for Nebraska farmers living more than a thousand miles away.
“As demand for biodiesel grows, so does demand and prices for soybeans. By investing in developing markets for biodiesel, the Soybean Checkoff helps the farmer’s bottom line,” said Bohuslavsky.