Thursday, January 22, 2009

Going Green Shuts Down Minnesota Schools

School buses don't run on lard, but some poorly-thought-out law in Minnesota means that districts are in fact trying to do so--with the predictable results.

Anyone who's experimented with running waste veggie oil in their diesel vehicles knows that it doesn't work so well in cold weather. Even using refined biodiesel causes problems because of the higher paraffin content compared to petro-diesel. Unfortunately for school districts in Minnesota, the state requirement to run a minimum of 2 percent biodiesel in school buses and other vehicles is causing problems this winter. Below 10°F, the fuel begins to gel up and causes the engine to not run. Petro diesel doesn't have a problem until about -30°F. In some cases, the gelling issue has caused Minnesota schools to cancel classes.

In the future, things could be even worse. Between now and 2015, the state's requirement is going up to 20 percent biodiesel concentration. Given that Minnesota is not exactly known for its balmy winter weather, it seems odd that no one one considered this issue before. Some districts are currently trying to get a waiver to use straight petro-diesel until the weather warms up.

8 comments:

Ellen K said...

I think that's why lawyers always tell you to read the fine print. Of course, we have similar boondoggles with mandatory bus evacuation drills and now, the teachers get to administer the Fitnessgram exams. My life is full.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I don't see what the problem is. Just retrofit every bus with insulated and heated fuel tanks, insulated and heated fuel lines and injection systems and the problem's solved!

I'm guessing, three or four thousand per bus minimum.

neko said...

Remember, when it comes to the Left, intentions are always more important than the results or consequences. That's one of the reasons they never think these things through. (Another reason would be that they lack "reality sensors" in their brains.)

David said...

When I was in Minnesota, even my gasoline-powered Mazda RX-7 would often refuse to start after being out in the parking lot all day. I would then have to open the hood, take off the air cleaner, and squirt in some starting fluid, after which it cranked right up. Lots of fun, when it's 10 below. I would think most Minnesotans would have had similar experiences, which makes it even stranger that they didn't think about this problem i advance.

Ellen K said...

That's why up in Illinois and on north, heated garages are considered a selling point for homes. Likewise, car heaters are big sellers. Man, am I glad I live in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of the schools can buy "biodiesel offsets" from some southern schools/states?

-Mark Roulo

Ellen K said...

The biodiesel plant that was providing fuel to Denton, Tx mysteriously closed almost overnight. It was greeted with hoopla and fanfares from the envirogeeks, but then it couldn't make a profit. If you can't turn a profit, you can't pay workers. The only out is for governmental takeover and that is a very slippery slope indeed. I wonder how happy all those retirees that hold Exxon/Mobil stock would be if Obama mandated a government takeover tomorrow? What would those folks do for income, then?

neko said...

"What would those folks do for income, then?"

Why, go on a government retirement program, of course. Remember, there is no problem so great that a government program can't "fix" it.