Don’t forget this winter that there’s a cleaner option for fueling your diesel-powered vehicle and warming your home.

The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff continue to promote a homegrown source of energy in working with U.S. Department of Energy-affiliated (DOE) Clean Cities chapters to increase the availability and use of soy biodiesel and the heating oil alternative known as Bioheat.

“We’re hoping this is the beginning of more outreach that enables the Clean Cities chapters to think outside the box and to do things they couldn’t do without the funding,” explains Mike Beard, USB director and soybean farmer from Frankfort, Ind. “Personally, I’d like to see project proposals that reach public transportation, schools and the trucking industry.”

The Clean Cities program serves as a government-industry partnership sponsored by DOE and has more than 90 local chapters across the United States. These chapters work in their local areas to reduce petroleum consumption. USB asks that Clean Cities applicants develop programs that communicate the benefits of soy biodiesel through education, demonstrations and promotional activities in suburban and urban areas to help improve availability and use of soy biodiesel.

“We believe soy biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel, but it has yet to penetrate the market to the extent we think it can,” adds Beard. “This is just one of many outreach programs we support to get soy biodiesel in front of consumers.”

The checkoff has opened the biodiesel reimbursement application process and encourages Clean Cities chapters to partner with Qualified State Soybean Boards for this project. The application period closed Nov. 22. Participating chapters will be selected by USB farmer-leaders. USB has provided up to $150,000 to use toward the funding of these soy biodiesel and Bioheatcommunications programs. Selected participants in this reimbursement program will be announced in mid-December.

“Bioheatrepresents a fast-growing, industrial use for soy,” says Beard. “According to the National Biodiesel Board, if the U.S. market for home heating oil used just a 5 percent blend of Bioheat, it has the potential to create demand for nearly 450 million gallons of biodiesel.”

In addition, USB has a second reimbursement program opened for Clean Cities. This will focus on creating demand for soy-based products, many developed with the help of the soybean checkoff. This program will award three reimbursements for up to $10,000 and four reimbursements for up to $5,000.

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