Free biodiesel seminars scheduled in Minnesota during April

By Erin Voegele | March 29, 2011

The American Lung Association in Minnesota and Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition are holding as series of three biodiesel workshops in April. The events are offered free of charge, but registration is required.

The workshops are open to everyone, including diesel vehicle and equipment users, fuel retailers and suppliers, fleet managers as well as policy makers. According to Robert Moffitt, spokesman for the American Lung Association in Minnesota, past educational events have attracted fleet managers and city and county officials who want to become more informed about the fuels that their governments buy in bulk. “We’ve also had some people from other areas, like the Port Authority in Duluth,” Moffitt said. “They use enormous amounts of diesel and are very interested in biodiesel. We also have local environmentalists who will stop in. They want to [become] more informed about biodiesel and where it can be found.”

Hoon Ge of MEG Corp. will present at the classes. According to Moffitt, Ge is a nationally recognized fuel expert who currently heads up the United Soybean Board’s National Biodiesel Hotline. This series of classes will include information on both diesel and biodiesel, Moffitt continued. Attendees will be provided with a lot of background information on how each fuel is made, and how the two fuels compare. Ge will also discuss recent refining changes in traditional petroleum diesel, as well as best practices for sale and use of diesel fuels and how to recognize and respond to problems with diesel fuels.

“I think diesel is a fuel that flies below the radar for a lot of people,” Moffitt said. “Unless you are using it day to day, many people don’t even think about it.” However, the fuel is more prevalent in the U.S. economy than most people recognize. “Nearly everything we eat, wear, buy or sell in this country is transported by a truck, train or barge powered by diesel fuel,” said Lisa Thurstin, coordinator of the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition. “Unfortunately, this powerhouse fuel is linked to particulate air pollution, threatening the lung health of millions of Americans.”

The first workshop will be held in Alexandria, Minn., on April 19 from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn-Alexandria. The second workshop will be held in Crookston, Minn., on April 20 at the American Legion Post. That event is also scheduled to be held from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. A third workshop will be held April 21 in Brainerd, Minn. The event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Brainerd Hotel & Conference Center. The classes are jointly funded by the United Soybean Board, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register by contacting Lisa Thurstin at or (651) 223-9568. 


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