I did not know about Plasma Blue Technology to make biodiesel from soybean oil until I stopped in at the Minnesota Soybean Growers tent at Farmfest. This machine in the picture, about the size of a big golf cart can use soybean oil and produce 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel in one year! Remember, soybeans are taken to a processing plant where they are crushed into two products. Soybean meal which is a high protein feed fed to livestock and soybean oil that can be used to make biodiesel.

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In the past converting soybean oil to biodiesel was more complicated and expensive. Soybean oil was put into large vessels with chemicals, under pressure, with heat and it took some time for the conversion reaction to take place. Using Plasma Blue Technology the only energy needed for the conversion it the same as two 60 watt lightbulbs! You may be wondering what is Plasma?

Well, if you have fluorescent light bulbs they have plasma inside them. Farmers are aware of Plasma technology with plasma torches for cutting iron and steel. They work much better than the old way using oxy-acetylene torches. Tom Slunecka CEO at Minnesota Soybean said the idea of using Plasma to make biodiesel has been around for a while but no one had done the research to develop it. So, Minnesota Soybean Growers did it.

Funding for this research and development was paid for by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. Yes, soybean farmers paid into the soybean check-off and that money was used to fund this project at the University of Minnesota. Click on the link and listen to Tom with the Minnesota Soybean Growers talk about Plasma Blue Technology.

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