Myths about Biodiesel
Ethanol and Biodiesel are the same
Ethanol is produced from fermentation of a Biomass with enzymes to create an alternative to automotive gasoline. Biodiesel is produced from the transesterification of fats and oils to create an alternative to diesel fuel or fuel oils. They are not the same but both have the same environmental benefits as an alternative to petroleum fuels.
Biodiesel does not improve the overall emissions quality of the fuel
Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions up to 80% vs. Petroleum diesel fuels. Biodiesel reduces particulates in the exhaust to virtually nothing. Biodiesel is naturally an Ultra Low Sulfur fuel. Biodiesel used in an open flame system, like home heating oil, reduces NOx as well. Yes the overall emission quality is greatly improved by adding to or replacing you Petroleum based fuel oils with Biodiesel.
Major engine/vehicle modifications will be needed to run biodiesel
Biodiesel fuel that meets the specifications of ASTM D6751 will run in any combustion-ignition (diesel) engine with little or no modifications whatsoever. Biodiesel may be run in its neet form B100 or in any blend combination with petroleum diesel, BXX.
Biodiesel costs more than other alternative fuels
When reviewing the high costs associated with other alternative fuel systems, many fleet managers have determined biodiesel is their least-cost-strategy to comply with state and federal regulations. Use of biodiesel does not require major engine modifications. That means operators keep their fleets, their spare parts inventories, their refueling stations and their skilled mechanics. The only thing that changes is air quality.1
All new and/or different storage infrastructure is needed when implementing biodiesel
In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum
diesel can be used for biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry,
dark environment. Acceptable storage tank materials include aluminum, steel,
fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene and teflon. Copper, brass,
lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided.1
The production of biodiesel is taking money away from my business
Biodiesel as a direct fuel or blended into petroleum fuel oils is a commodity that is purchased by marketers and distributors just as petroleum fuels and sold with the industries normal margins. Any petroleum distribution company will not be losing money due to the implementation of biodiesel into their product slates. Petroleum refineries are also purchasing biodiesel and introducing it in the front end of the distribution chain, so most distributors will not notice a difference in pricing, storage and handling, or any other aspects of their supply chain due to the implementation of biodiesel.
Biodiesel always clogs fuel filters
Clogged filters could be due to one or a combination of many factors. Some of the factors include:
Free standing water in a storage tank
Sediment in the storage tank
Sludge built up in storage tank
Material compatibility issues with seals/tanks/lines
Petroleum fuel not meeting ASTM D975 or ASTM D396 specifications
Biodiesel not meeting ASTM D6751 specifications
Biological contamination in storage tank (only possible if free standing water exists in tank)
Filter element not compatible with fuel/fuel blend
Ambient temperatures below or at the cloud point of the fuel/fuel blend
The most common factors to filters clogging in the field are ambient temperature at or below the cloud point, as well as free standing water and sediment in the storage tanks. We recommend following the provided usage and handling guidelines provided by NREL.
1. NBB on the Internet. 2010. National Biodiesel Board. Sept. 20, 2010 <http://nbb.org>.