Utility poles and biodiesel may sound like an odd combination, but the blend could mean an exciting new market for soybeans.
A year-long research project will examine the use of biodiesel as a carrier for wood preservatives used in the manufacturing of wooden utility poles. In most cases, the wood treatment known as DT-40 is applied to the poles using a blend of the preservative and diesel fuel which gives off strong odors. One Minnesota company has greatly reduced odor concerns without sacrificing performance by using a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20) as the carrier. This use provides a market for nearly 400,000 gallons of biodiesel each year.
Information on using biodiesel as a wood preservative carrier is limited so the research being conducted supports the development of an exciting new market.
“This use represents a substantial opportunity and a good additional market for biodiesel beyond conventional transportation uses,” says AURI Project Development Director Dennis Timmerman. “Biodiesel use is a substantial factor in soybean prices because of the amount of soybean oil the industry uses.”