What are the issues?
Biodiesel is referred to as a diesel
equivalent. It has been used in various forms as a fuel for diesel engines from
the very beginning. The first engine designed and built by Rudolph Diesel was
run on peanut oil.
Biodiesel is defined as
made from the
of vegetable oils or
Transesterification refers to the process used to remove the Glycerin from the
base plant or animal oils.
Properly transesterified, dried, and
filtered biodiesel can with some moderate changes be successfully used to fuel
diesel engines and as burner fuel.
Biodiesel however is not diesel fuel;
it is chemically very different from petroleum derived fuels. These differences
require the user to educate themselves and to make certain changes in order to
successfully use it.
Biodiesel is an organic based
product; it will deteriorate much more quickly than petroleum based fuels.
It oxidizes much more quickly than
It has storage problems. It can
significantly break down chemically in as little as 60 days
It has far less thermal stability
than petroleum diesel
It holds up to 10 times as much
dissolved water as petroleum diesel
It is a powerful solvent that will
delaminate rubber hoses, deteriorate seals and gaskets, and damage many types
of sensors. This high solvency will also break down fuel system deposits.
Biodiesel has significant cold
If you plan using a blend with more
than 5% biodiesel check with your engine manufacturer?s representative
regarding possible maintenance and warranty issues.
As fuel oxidizes, it deteriorates and
darkens. It will more easily form gums, varnishes, and carbon deposits; it can
make the vehicle harder to start, and reduces power output.
Biodiesel begins to very quickly
break down. Over a period of time it will separate into lesser components
becoming unstable, and finally unusable. It will also grow bacteria and fungi at
dramatically increased rate over regular diesel.
Thermal stability is a problem with
biodiesel; it can be a problem with fuels used in diesel engines, as the fuel is
recirculated through the engine the constant high heat will deteriorate far more
quickly than petroleum diesel. Storage at any temperature over 85?F can
accelerate this process.
Dissolved water is a problem on
several fronts, first it is corrosive and can quickly damage unprotected metal
parts, it is the prime culprit in the growth of bacteria and fungi in fuels, and
as the fuels temperature is lowered the high level of dissolved water is forced
out of the fuel and can become ice crystals which can cause filter problems.
B100 has been used as chemical
solvent in industrial processes for many years. It is very strong and can soften
and delaminate hoses, seals, and gaskets. It can even attack non-rubber
components. Blending with petroleum diesel will ameliorate this to some extent,
however it is very important to check all of these components on a regular basis
even when using as little as 2% biodiesel (B2). This solvency can break down
deposits so quickly it can cause rapid filter plugging.
Biodiesel has severe cold weather
problems, it can cloud at 50?F, gel at 20?F-40?F, and become solid at 10?F-30?F.
The more highly saturated the base oil used to derive biodiesel the higher the
gel point and the more difficult it is to treat. Biodiesel?s cold flow
properties are not improved by standard petroleum diesel fuel anti-gel products.
Biodiesel requires a completely different technology to operate successfully in
Blending biodiesel with petroleum
diesel can help reduce many of the problems mentioned above. Biodiesel blends
are denoted as ?B? numbers, for example B100 is pure biodiesel, B2 is 2%
biodiesel and 98% petroleum diesel, B5 is 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel,
and so on.
To successfully blend biodiesel and
petroleum diesel you must have a biodiesel that has been properly
transesterified, dried and filtered to meet ASTM D 6751 or EN 14214. The
biodiesel and petroleum diesel need to be above 40?F when blended, and you need
to have active agitation to ensure complete blending.
Improperly blended biodiesel blends
will separate and cause significant problems during cold weather. Cold Flow
Improvers (antigels) designed for B100 biodiesel such as EnerFlow 1000 can be
added prior to blending with the petroleum diesel or you can use a dual
technology product such as EnerFlow 20 to treat the blended biodiesel.
Many OEM engine manufacturers limit
users to no more than 5% (B5) biodiesel. Use of biofuel with more than 5%
biodiesel can negatively affect some warranties.
What do I need to do to safely and effectively use
Biodiesel fuel blends?
Make sure your fuel supplier
certifies that your biodiesel meets ASTM D 6751 and or EN 14214.
Ask your fuel supplier what the
CFPP of the B100 fuel was before blending. It should be 15?F or lower.
Ask your fuel supplier how the
biodiesel and petroleum diesel is blended. (see above)
Ask your fuel supplier what the
CFPP of the blended fuel is as delivered. Depending on your location, it
should be 0?F to -20?F.
Make sure your fuel storage tank is
clean and water free before unloading biodiesel.
Use a product such as EnerFlow 20
to disperse water, improve cold flow characteristics of both the biodiesel and
petro diesel parts of the blend, raise Cetane, clean injectors, inhibit
corrosion, improve lubricity, slow oxidation, and stabilize the fuel. In some
special cases a product such as EnerFuel can be used.
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