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Biodiesel Fleet Maintenance
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Biodiesel Fleet Maintenance


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  • 1. Maintaining your Diesel Fleet for Biodiesel National Biodiesel OEM Technician Training Program
  • 2. Today’s Topics
    • Biodiesel Definition
    • Key Properties of Biodiesel
    • Fuel System, Air Intake, & Lubrication
    • Starting, Charging, Cooling, & Vacuum systems
    • Exhaust & Emissions Controls
    • Resources
  • 3. Biodiesel Defined
    • Biodiesel , n. -- a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, meeting ASTM D 6751, designated B100.
    • Biodiesel Blend , n. -- a blend of biodiesel fuel with petroleum-based diesel fuel designated BXX, where XX is the volume percent of biodiesel.
      • This tight definition was needed in order to secure vehicle, engine and fuel injection equipment company support for biodiesel, as well as to secure ASTM specs
  • 4. Biodiesel (B100) Attributes
    • High Cetane (avg. over 50)
    • Ultra Low Sulfur (avg. ~ 2 ppm)
    • High Lubricity, even in blends as low as 1-2%
    • High Energy Balance (3.5 to 1)
    • Renewable, Sustainable, Domestically Produced
    • Increases overall fuel production capacity in USA
    • Reduces HC, PM, CO in existing diesel engines
  • 5. Enhanced Lubricity
    • Equipment benefits
      • Superior lubricity
      • B2 has up to 66% more lubricity than #2 Diesel
    • EPA required sulfur reduction in 2006
    • No overdosing concerns vs. other lubricity additives
  • 6. Cold Weather Performance
    • Pure biodiesel does freeze faster than most petrodiesel
    • Your B20 supplier should provide blends of B20 that will not cause any cold flow issues in the winter
      • Exactly the same way they do with #2 diesel fuel
    • There are a variety of tools at the disposal of distributors to improve the cold flow operability of #2 petrodiesel and biodiesel blends
      • Blending with #1, cold flow additives, etc.
    • B20 has been used successfully in climates below -20 º F
  • 7. Biodiesel Fuel Stability
    • The biodiesel specification contains parameters for insuring adequate fuel stability for normal applications
    • The shelf life of biodiesel blends is recommended by NBB as 6 months
    • Stability additives available on the open market
  • 8. Solvency Effect
    • B20 & Under
    • Monitor filters, less than 2% need to be changed
    • Mild cleaning effect
    • Storage tanks may need to be cleaned, or keep extra filters on hand at start up
    • Housekeeping protocols for generic diesel equally important prior to blending
  • 9. Fuel System
    • Material compatibility is key for higher blends
    • Repair Fuel leaks to prevent impact to other systems!
    • From the fuel sending unit in tank to injectors
    • -primary & secondary fuel filters
    • -Fuel lines (sending & return)
    • -High pressure or
    • low pressure injectors
    • - o-rings
    • -transfer & injection pumps
  • 10. Lubrication System
    • Change oil as recommended by Engine manufacturer
    • Use OEM recommended engine oil
    • API, CI rating
    • Regular oil analysis maintenance program
    • Inspect dipstick for biodiesel smell
  • 11. Lube Oil Contamination
    • Current ongoing research, SAE CI Engine Performance with Alternative Fuels, 2008
    • A concern of engine manufacturers.
    • Same mechanism for the oil dilution for heavier fractions of diesel fuel as for biodiesel.
    • Due to high boiling point of biodiesel, the fuel is slower to vaporize after injection into the cylinder.
    • Remaining compounds will be deposited on the cylinder wall where they can be pulled into the crankcase by the normal scraping action of the piston's oil control rings.
  • 12. Air Filtration
    • In a diesel engine, the amount of air remains constant while fuel amount is varied for speed and power control
    • Lean mixture at idle ( 80:1 )
    • Rich mixture under load (20:1)
    • Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor
    • VW TDI EGR/ Intake design
    • Diesels thrive on air, lots of it, any air restriction will cause performance problems
  • 13. Starting & Charging System
    • Properly charged battery
    • Operating Starter or Alternator
    • Fouled glow plugs can cause hard starting
    • Glow plugs factory recalls
    • Dual Battery system
  • 14. Vacuum System
    • Older diesel maintenance issue
    • Leaky & Inoperative vacuum system can affect:
    • Brakes, Fuel shutoff, & transmissions
  • 15. Cooling System
    • Cooling system helps your engine warm up & cool down
    • Operating at optimum temperature helps
    • fuel economy & engine life
    • Cooling system hoses are not always biodiesel compatible, repair fuel leaks immediately to prevent damage to other systems
  • 16. Exhaust & Emissions Controls
    • EGR: exhaust gas recirculation
    • Catalytic converters
    • Diesel Particulate filters
    • Diesel Oxidation Catalyst
    • SCR: selective catalyst reduction (Urea)
    • Emissions regulations dictating changing engine and fuel injection design
  • 17. Are you Smoking?
    • Black smoke: injectors, air inlet restriction, engine timing, internal engine timing, injection pump failure
    • Blue Smoke: insufficient fuel, contaminated fuel,
    • High or low oil consumption, air in the fuel
    • White smoke: bad glow plugs, plugged return fuel line, insufficient fuel supply, low compression, air in fuel, injector or pump problem, engine timing
    • White smoke can be normal in cold weather before engine warms
  • 18. Miscellaneous
    • NOx Emissions see:
    • NREL’s “NOx solutions for Biodiesel”
    • Cold weather Operation
    • Timing belts & chains- replace at recommended intervals
    • Educate your fellow technicians
    • Bosch & Stanadyne & FIE/OEM statement
  • 19. OEM Warranty Statements and Biodiesel
    • All major U.S. OEMs support B5 and lower blends, provided they are made with biodiesel meeting ASTM D 6751, the existing ASTM International standard for pure biodiesel (B100)
    • Many are progressing toward support for B20due to recent approval of a new ASTM standard for B20 blends
    • Use of blends higher than B5 will not necessarily void existing warranties
    • For a complete listing of OEM position statements on biodiesel , visit:
  • 20. NBB Resources
      • Technical Library
      • Biodiesel Bulletin
      • Educational Videos Available
      • Informational Resources
      • Technical Resources
      • On-line Database & Spec Sheets
      • Biodiesel Quality Certification Program for Accredited Producers and Certified Marketers