An Iowa tractor manufacturer unveiled the nation’s first tractor to run off an alternative fuel made of soybeans Friday. The tractor was manufactured at John Deere’s Waterloo Works. The tractor is the nation’s first factory-fill of B-2, a blend of two-percent biodiesel fuel that will be used in all of John Deere’s diesel-propelled machines in the future. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel that can be made from any fat or vegetable oil, such as soybean oil. It works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications, and can be used in pure form or blended with petroleum diesel. John Deere announced its commitment to the B2-factory fill last month during the national biodiesel conference and expo. Deere and Company plans to transition to the B-2 biodiesel fuel in the rest of its U-S plants before the end of 2005. The Waterloo Works and John Deere’s combine manufacturing plant in East Moline, Illinois began using the B-2 fuel March 1st. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was instrumental in pushing for the use of biodiesel. Grassley says we have an energy crisis in America as highlighted by the high price of oil. He says this shows we can do something about the energy supply and about the price of the supply. The use of gasoline blended with corn-based ethanol has rapidly increased, and Grassley expects bio-diesel to also increase in popularity. He says biodiesel is already way ahead of ethanol as far as use. Grassley says in five years, bio-diesel will be where ethanol is now after 25 years. Grassley says biodiesel will have an economic impact — just as ethanol has.He says the obvious thing it does is raise the price of soybeans. But he says the ethanol plants also provide “a lot of good paying jobs in the small towns of Iowa.” Grassley, who is also a farmer, climbed aboard the tractor and started it up at Friday’s event.
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