Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality


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Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality

  1. 1. Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Andrew Pressman This publication addresses questions that farmers and ranchers may have about using biodiesel in dieseland Mike Morris engines. Biodiesel can be substituted for petroleum-based diesel fuel in virtually any standard unmodi-NCAT Energy fied diesel engine. However, biodiesel has chemical properties that require somewhat different use andSpecialists handling. While most biodiesel users experience few if any problems, consumers can take precautionsSeptember 2007 to avoid potential problems associated with poor quality fuel.© 2007 NCATContentsIntroduction .................... 1Biodiesel, Ethanol,Vegetable Oil: What’sthe Difference? ............... 2Blending andStorage .............................. 3Issues and Concerns ..... 4 Photos: Vern GrubingerASTM Standards ............. 6The BQ-9000Program ............................. 7Warranty Issues .............. 8Fuel Quality Testing ..... 9Conclusion ....................... 9References ...................... 10 Introduction • It functions as an excellent fuel lubricant and performs similarly Biodiesel is becoming widely available in to low-sulfur diesel with regards to most parts of the U.S. and can be substi- power, torque, and fuel consumption. tuted for petroleum-based diesel fuel (“pet- rodiesel”) in virtually any standard unmod- • It can greatly reduce carbon emissions. ified diesel engine. Biodiesel offers many For discussion of the environmental advan-Funding for the development advantages over petroleum-based diesel: tages of biodiesel, see the ATTRA publica-of this publication was provided tion Biodiesel: the Sustainability the USDA Risk Management • It is made from domesticallyAgency. produced and renewable agricul- To find retail biodiesel distributors in your tural products, mainly vegetable oil area, use NCAT’s Farm Energy Search Tool, or animal fat.—National Sustainable Most biodiesel users pour it in the tank andAgriculture Information Ser- • It is essentially non-toxic and bio-vice is managed by the National degradable. experience few if any problems. Nonethe-Center for Appropriate Technol-ogy (NCAT) and is funded under less, biodiesel has chemical properties thata grant from the United States • It has a high flash point (over 300ºF) can cause difficulties. For example:Department of Agriculture’s and is difficult to light on fi re withRural Business- Cooperative • Biodiesel’s detergent or solventService. Visit the NCAT Web site a match.( properties can clog your fuel fi lterhtml) for more informa-tion on our sustainable • It reduces emissions of many toxic as it cleans carbon deposits fromagriculture projects. air pollutants. your engine.
  2. 2. • Compared to petrodiesel, biodie- any plant oil or animal fat. Making biodie- sel has somewhat worse cold-flow sel is a chemical process. During this chem- properties. ical reaction, a thick gooey substance, glyc- • Biodiesel degrades rubber and cer- erin, is released from the oil molecules and tain other materials, making it incom- replaced with a comparatively thin and light patible with some fuel lines, rubber alcohol, usually methanol. For an expla- gaskets, and other engine parts. nation of how to make biodiesel, see the This article offers suggestions to help farm- ATTRA publication Biodiesel: a Primer. ers and other consumers get the benefits of Biodiesel is also very different from raw or biodiesel while avoiding performance and “straight” vegetable oil (SVO). Almost any equipment problems. vegetable oil will combust, to one degree or another, in a diesel engine. So it’s possible Caution: If you are making your own fuel, to run most diesel engines on SVO. But this using and storing large quantities of biodiesel, is a somewhat risky process, mainly since or selling fuel commercially, you will need to raw vegetable oil is too thick and viscous to take many safety, legal, and quality-related precautions beyond the ones described here. run well in diesel engines. Biodiesel will perform well in almost any standard diesel engine without modifica- Biodiesel, Ethanol, Vegetable tions. On the other hand, to use SVO you Oil: What’s the Difference? will need to modify your engine. Conver- sion kits are readily available for $300 to Biodiesel is a very different substance from $1,500.(1) Generally, conversion means ethanol. Ethanol (or grain alcohol), the installing a separate fuel tank, heater, andPhoto: familiar alcohol found in alcoholic bever- fuel line, along with various switches and ages, is commonly blended with gasoline controls. The idea is to thin the oil by heat- (not diesel fuel) and is made by fermenting ing it, while taking precautions to keep cold, grains or other plants that contain sugar. gooey vegetable oil out of your engine. You Fermentation is a biological process accom- start and run the engine on standard diesel plished by yeasts and bacteria. fuel or biodiesel. Once the engine is warm Biodiesel is essentially permanently thinned and you’ve pre-heated the vegetable oil— plant or animal-based oil, with a viscosity stored in a separate tank—you can switch to approximating that of standard #2 diesel SVO. Several minutes before turning off the fuel. Biodiesel can be made from virtually engine, you switch back to standard diesel fuel or biodiesel, clearing all the SVO out of your engine and fuel lines. The U.S. Department of Energy, among many other organizations, cautions that SVO can reduce engine life and should not be considered a fuel for long-term use.(2) The use of SVO has been shown to cause piston ring sticking, injector and combus- tion chamber deposits, fuel system deposits, reduced power, reduced fuel economy, and increased exhaust emissions. Any of these Photo: Vern Grubinger conditions can reduce engine life, increase maintenance costs, or cause engine failure. Modern diesel engines are also equipped with catalytic converters, or fi lter traps, that are not designed to handle SVO.Page 2 ATTRA Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
  3. 3. Performance problems don’t necessarily You should avoid adding biodiesel to coldhappen quickly. Certain engines seem to petrodiesel, since this may cause crystalstolerate SVO better than others, and some to form. To prevent this from happening,vehicles run trouble-free for years. On the you can blend biodiesel with kerosene (alsoother hand, many SVO users succeed ini- called #1 diesel fuel) in a 50/50 mix beforetially, and are lulled into a false sense of adding it to cold diesel fuel.(5) If crystalssecurity, only to run into serious problems have already formed, the fuel will have tolater.(3) be heated until they dissolve.Despite the very real risk of engine dam-age, SVO has certain advantages that may Biodiesel Storagemake it worth considering for some farm- Biodiesel can be stored in standard petroleuming situations and equipment, especially in diesel storage tanks with some precautions:older engines. Using SVO is in some ways • Tanks that have previously beensimpler than making your own biodiesel. used to store diesel fuel should beMaking biodiesel generally requires you cleaned before use. As noted below,to use methanol, a toxic chemical, and to biodiesel is an excellent solvent anddispose of glycerin, a waste product. By will loosen deposits left by standardcontrast, SVO is generally only filtered diesel fuel. Tanks should also bebefore use, and there are few if any waste free of water, since this encouragesproducts to deal with. bacterial growth. • Tanks may be made of aluminum,Biodiesel Blends and steel, Teflon, or fluorinated poly-Blending ethylene or polypropylene. Fiber- glass is sometimes used, but shouldBiodiesel in its pure (100 percent) form is be approached with caution sinceknown as neat biodiesel or B100. It can be some resins are not compatible withreadily blended with petroleum diesel in biodiesel.(4)any proportion. A B20 blend, for example,is 20 percent by volume biodiesel and 80percent petrodiesel.Different blends serve different purposes.Small amounts of biodiesel (B1-B2) add Photos: Vern Grubingerlubrication to low-sulfur fuels. Blends in theB20 to B50 range provide significant envi-ronmental benefits with a low increase incost to consumers. Blending also reducesthe likelihood of the solvency, materialincompatibility, or cold weather problemsdiscussed below.The simplest method is splash blending.Biodiesel should always be poured on topof petroleum diesel, since it is slightlyheavier. The two fuels will mix fairly wellas the biodiesel gradually sinks throughthe lighter petrodiesel. Some form of agi-tation is needed, though, to achieve highlyuniform fuel. Random samples of splash-blended fuel being marketed as B20 havebeen found to contain actual biodieselcontent ranging from B2 to B90.(4) ATTRA Page 3
  4. 4. • Both petrodiesel and biodiesel can fuel tank before converting to biodiesel. An cause metal parts to oxidize, so you alternative is to switch to finer fi lters. Any- should replace any parts made of one using B100 should know how to change brass, bronze, copper, lead, tin, or the fuel fi lter and should carry a spare fuel zinc with aluminum or steel. fi lter or two. Expect to change your fuel fi l- • If biodiesel or blended fuels are ter two or three times before all the deposits stored beyond around six months, are cleaned out of your engine. If you are fuel stabilizers should be added.(6) using a modest blend (B20 or lower), you Old fuel will become acidic and are less likely to notice fi lter clogging. form sediments and varnish. • Biodiesel and biodiesel blends Issue #2: Reduced Power should be stored at temperatures On average, B100 has about eight per- at least 15 degrees above the pour cent less energy content (BTU per gallon) point of the fuels.(7) The pour point than #2 petrodiesel, while B20 has one to is the temperature below which a two percent less energy content.(8) If you fuel will not pour. switch from standard diesel fuel to B100,A you may notice a slight decrease in horse- nyone using • Outdoor tanks should be located in power, torque, or fuel economy. At B20 or B100 should cool shaded areas if possible. less, you probably won’t be able to tell the know how change the fuel Caution: If you are storing large amounts of fuel, or selling it commercially, you will need A cetane number is an indicator of diesel fuelfilter and should to take many additional precautions and meet quality, measuring the readiness of fuel tocarry a spare fuel local laws and code requirements. ignite when injected into the engine. Biodie-filter or two. sel’s cetane number is higher than that of standard diesel fuel, and this advantage may partly compensate for its lower BTU content. Issue #1: Solvent Effects Because biodiesel ignites more readily in and Filter Clogging diesel engines than petrodiesel, some author- ities recommend setting the injection timing According to researchers at the University back by two to three degrees from top-dead of Idaho, filter plugging is the most common center. This will sometimes cause the engine problem experienced by biodiesel users.(4) to run quieter, although it may also slightly Biodiesel has excellent solvent properties reduce your power.(9) and can be used as a cleaning agent and paint remover. (It can remove the paint on Issue #3: Cold Weather the side of your car or tractor, if you splash it around while fi lling the tank.) In fact, it Performance can even dissolve concrete.(4) All diesel fuel, including petroleum-based fuel, begins to gel at cold temperatures. Petroleum diesel often leaves a deposit in The temperature at which a cloud of wax the bottom of fuel lines, tanks, and deliv- crystals forms in the fuel is known as the ery systems. Biodiesel can loosen and dis- cloud point. The cold filter plugging point solve these sediments, as well as rust and is the lowest temperature at which fuel can other materials. This causes fuel fi lters to be drawn through a metal screen fi lter.(10) become clogged—sometimes in a matter of The pour point is the temperature below hours after switching to B100. Symptoms of which a fuel will not pour. fi lter clogging include a sudden power loss In general, biodiesel gels at somewhat higher or engine shuddering. temperatures than conventional #2 diesel. Older vehicles have more accumulated When wax crystals begin to form in biodie- deposits, and are especially prone to fi lter sel, the entire fuel tends to cloud at the same clogging. Ideally, you should clean an old time. In contrast, petroleum diesel is madePage 4 ATTRA Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
  5. 5. up of many different compounds that gel at since they will work on the petroleum-baseddifferent temperatures. When some of these portion of the fuel.begin to crystallize, others remain liquid to amuch lower temperature. Issue #4: Softening Fuel LinesThe cloud point for standard #2 diesel fuel Using a high-percentage biodiesel blend oris around 5ºF. The cloud point for biodiesel B100 can cause certain types of elastomersdepends on the feedstock and the amount and natural rubber compounds to bubble,of free fatty acids in the fuel. The cloud bleed, soften, and degrade over time. Virtu-point for soy diesel is around 32ºF (4), ally all diesel vehicles made since the earlycompared to cloud points around 20ºF for 1990s use components that are compatiblecanola and 12ºF for rapeseed.(11) Biodie- with B100.(4) But some older fuel hoses willsel made from used cooking grease or ani- need to be replaced.mal fats will tend to cloud at higher tem-peratures than biodiesel made from virgin Equipment changes are rarely if everoils. Biodiesel from the most highly satu- necessary with blends of B20 or lower.(8)rated feedstocks may gel at temperatures as Besides rubber, other vulnerable materialshigh as 50-55ºF. identified by the National Biodiesel BoardLow-percentage biodiesel blends generally include polypropylene, polyvinyl, and Tygon.have cold weather properties similar to pet- Although there have been a few reports ofrodiesel. The cloud point of B20 may be degraded injection pump seals, by far the most3º-10ºF higher than #2 petrodiesel.(8) common problem you are likely to encounter is with rubber fuel lines. If you have an olderSimple cold weather precautions include vehicle, you should inspect your fuel linesusing engine block or fuel filter heaters frequently after you begin using biodiesel.and parking vehicles in or near a build-ing. Fuel additives can also inhibit crystal The good news is that these problems aregrowth and gelling in standard diesel fuel. likely to appear gradually, if they appearAnecdotal reports suggest that few if any at all. Hoses will begin to soften and (even-of these products work well on B100. They tually) weep. You are unlikely to experiencemay be effective on blended fuel, however, a catastrophic failure. Case Study: vehicles, gradually expanding his usage seemed as if he needed to change fil- Phil Foster Ranches as he became comfortable with the ters more often than normal. “Maybe fuel’s performance. He also asked his the fuel was a tad off ... We’ll probably Phil Foster began using biodiesel on his supplier lots of questions about test- never know for sure.” organic vegetable farm near San Juan ing, standards, and feedstocks. Bautista, California in 2004. He saw the Fuel economy may have decreased use of non-petroleum fuels as consis- By 2006, biodiesel made up 81 percent slightly, in the range of three to five tent with his philosophy as an organic of the roughly 20,000 gallons of diesel percent. There have also been a few vegetable farmer. He liked the idea that fuel consumed annually by the farm’s cold mornings (18º - 20 ºF) when the any fuel spills would be biodegradable tractors, pickups, and delivery trucks. vehicles running on B100 would not and far less toxic than standard diesel. Most of the farm’s diesel vehicles are start. Switching temporarily to B30 dur- He was attracted by the air quality now running B100, although with some ing cold weather has solved this prob- and health advantages for his family of his older equipment Phil has been and his workers. And he liked the idea reluctant to go above B30. lem, and all vehicles have started fine of purchasing fuel made from agricul- on B30. Overall, Phil comments that “After four tural products, preferably ones grown Phil recently bought a new truck, which years of using biodiesel, we’ve had locally or regionally. he plans to run on B30 for the first six to very good results.” He did experience Phil didn’t have the time or inclination some filter plugging when switching twelve months - enough time for any to make his own fuel, so he began pur- to biodiesel, and he now changes his problems to show up. Once he’s confi- chasing biodiesel from a local retailer. filters at every service. He also went dent in the vehicle’s performance, he’ll Initially, he tried B100 in some of his through a period recently where it switch it over to ATTRA Page 5
  6. 6. approved a standard specifically for biodie- Biodiesel-Compatible Fuel Lines sel, ASTM D6751. This standard covers all The following fuel lines are claimed by their manufacturers to be biodiesel fuels, regardless of feedstock or B100-compatible (14): processing method. • Goodyear part numbers 65148 thru 65153 & 65161 thru 65163 meet SAE specification J30R9. These legal requirements only apply to fuel that is sold. Home brewers, cooperatives, • Gates part number 4241G and 4241M for marine use. and farms making fuel for their own use are • Kuriyama part number A4143. not required to meet ASTM D6751. • NAPA fuel injection hose part H205. • McMaster-Carr Viton rubber tubing part number 5119K51 ASTM testing must be done by qualified (among many others). laboratories and requires expensive equip- • Thomas Register listing of other Viton tubing suppliers. ment. The standards are listed in the table on the following page. Issue #5: Engine Oil Dilution Case Study: and Fuel Oxidation The Minnesota Biodiesel Mandate In blends higher than B20, unburned In September 2005, Minnesota passed a biodiesel can make its way past the piston law requiring all diesel fuel to contain two rings and into the oil pan.(8) This happens percent biodiesel. Soon after the mandate because biodiesel has a slightly higher vis- went into effect, Minnesota truckers began cosity and density than standard diesel. to experience sporadic problems, includ- Eventually, this fuel in the engine oil can ing trucks breaking down on the road, hefty repair bills, and lost road time. The culprit polymerize, causing oil sludge that coats was clogged fuel filters and it soon became metal surfaces and causes moving parts to apparent that biodiesel was to blame. stick.(4) If you are using biodiesel blends Cold weather gelling was found to be the higher than B20, you may need to change main problem. In December 2005, the Min-I your engine oil more frequently. nesota Department of Commerce confirmed n 2001, ASTM that some biodiesel producers had shipped approved a biodiesel that did not meet ASTM D6751 Issue #6: Microbial Growth specification for free and total glycerin.(12) standard specif- Water can sometimes drip through vents “There’s no room for poor-quality biodie-ically for biodiesel, and collect at the bottom of fuel tanks. sel in the marketplace,” said Steve Howell,ASTM D6751. Certain varieties of algae, yeast, and fungi technical director with the National Biodiesel can grow at the interface of the fuel and Board. “Although investigations have indi- water.(4) In order to prevent microbial cated that other factors unrelated to biodie- sel may have led to at least some of the fil- growth, you should drain any water from ter-plugging reports in Minnesota, there’s the bottom of your fuel tank on a regular no question that off-specification biodiesel basis. Certain biocides can also be added can have a severe reaction in cold weather, to control microbial growth, but the dead even in low blends.”(13) microbes may plug fi lters. All Minnesota biodiesel producers subse- quently had to prove that their fuel met ASTM specifications.(12) After imple- ASTM Standards menting additional quality measures, The American Society for Testing and the Department of Commerce reaffirmed Materials (ASTM) is the industry organiza- the ruling that diesel fuel was required to tion that defines legal fuel standards: mini- contain two percent biodiesel meeting mum values that a fuel must meet to operate ASTM D6751 specifications. safely in a compression ignition engine. Minnesota’s experience showed that even a low-percentage of off-spec biodiesel— All diesel engines sold in the U.S. are man- as low as two percent!—can cause perfor- ufactured to meet ASTM D975, the legal mance problems . standard for petrodiesel. In 2001, ASTMPage 6 ATTRA Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
  7. 7. Table 1: ASTM Standards Property ASTM Method Limits Units Calcium & Magnesium, EN 14538 5 max ppm (ug/g) combined Flash Point (closed cup) D 93 93 min Degrees C Alcohol Control 1. Methanol Content EN 14110 0.2 max % volume 2. Flash Point D 93 130 min Degrees C Water & Sediment D 2709 0.05 max % volume Kinematic Viscosity, 40 C D 445 1.9 – 6.0 mm2/sec Sulfated Ash D 874 0.02 max % mass Sulfur S 15 Grade D 5453 0.0015 max (15) % mass (ppm) S 500 Grade D 5453 0.05 max (500) % mass (ppm) Copper Strip Corrosion D 130 No. 3 max Cetane D 613 47 min Cloud Point D 2500 Report Degrees C Carbon Residue 100% Sample D 4530 0.05 max % mass Acid Number D 664 0.50 max mg KOH/g Free Glycerin D 6584 0.020 max % mass Total Glycerin D 6584 0.240 max % mass Phosphorus Content D 4951 0.001 max % mass Distillation, T90 AET D 1160 360 max Degrees C Sodium/Potassium, combined EN 14538 5 max ppm Oxidation Stability EN14112 3 min hoursAdapted from The National Biodiesel Board, Specification For Biodiesel (B100) – ASTM D6751-07a.(15) blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel The BQ-9000 Program management practices. The National Biodiesel Board has insti- tuted a cooperative and voluntary quality Any biodiesel producer, marketer or assurance program called BQ-9000. The distributor of biodiesel or biodiesel blends program was developed to ensure a more in the U.S. or Canada is eligible for pro- consistent quality for biodiesel being pro- gram accreditation. Accredited manufactur- duced, marketed, and used. While ASTM ers and certified marketers under this pro- standards only cover fuel quality, BQ-9000 gram are listed on the BQ-9000 website, encompasses storage, sampling, testing, ATTRA Page 7
  8. 8. It’s certainly true that bad quality biodie- Are You Sure Your Fuel Is Meeting ASTM Standards? sel can cause performance problems that A study released in November 2006 suggests that inconsistent fuel are not the fault of the engine maker and quality continues to be a real issue for the US biodiesel industry— so are not covered by the warranty. These despite the legal requirement that commercial fuel must meet ASTM situations are no different from ones where standards. a problem has been caused by bad quality Co-funded by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the National petroleum diesel or gasoline. Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the study randomly collected Engine manufacturers would generally refer biodiesel samples from 32 fuel distributors around the country between any customer with fuel-related problems to November 2005 and July 2006. the fuel supplier. According to the National Half of the samples failed to meet at least one of the ASTM D6751 Biodiesel Board, any reputable fuel supplier specifications, and some samples failed multiple standards. Thirty (petrodiesel, biodiesel, or blend) should percent of the samples failed to meet the flash point standard, and stand behind its product and cover any fuel one-third of the samples failed to meet the total glycerin standard.(18) quality problems that occur.(16) Biodiesel sold in the U.S. is subject to qual- ity requirements that are just as strict as Will Biodiesel Void My those for standard diesel fuel. You are on Warranty? strong legal ground in using ASTM-compli- ant biodiesel fuel—just as you would be in Many farms and ranches are discouraged using ASTM-compliant petroleum diesel. from using biodiesel, especially in newer Unfortunately, though, your strong legal vehicles, because of fears that they will position does not guarantee that you will be “void their warranties.” free from warranty-related hassles. Some It’s a good idea to check with your vehicle equipment dealers are still poorly informed manufacturer to see if they have an official and will caution customers against using policy on the use of biodiesel. Most major biodiesel, since they (mistakenly) regard it engine companies have formally stated that as unregulated or unreliable. biodiesel blends below 20 percent that meet ASTM D6751 will not void their engine warranties. Caterpillar - Biodiesel Use Statement The National Biodiesel Board has posted on “Caterpillar neither approves nor prohibits use its website several statements from engine of biodiesel fuels. Caterpillar is not in a position companies ( John Deere, to evaluate the many variations of biodiesel and Caterpillar, and New Holland are among the long term effects on performance, durabil- the many companies that have adopted pol- ity, or compliance to emissions standards for icies supportive of biodiesel. Other compa- Caterpillar products. The use of biodiesel fuel does not affect Caterpillar’s materials and work- nies are in the process of developing guide- manship. Failures that result from the use of any lines for biodiesel. fuel are not Caterpillar factory defects. There- A number of authorities state fl atly that fore, the cost or repair would NOT be covered by a Caterpillar’s warranty.”(17) the use of biodiesel does not, in itself, void engine warranties. [See, for example, (1) Caterpillar Commercial Diesel Engine Fluids and (2)] Engine warranties typically cover Recommendations the “materials and workmanship” of the SEBU6251-08 March 2004 engine, and say little or nothing about fuel.Page 8 ATTRA Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
  9. 9. How Can I Be Sure I’mGetting Good Fuel?It’s important to keep the issue of poor qual- Photo: www.biodieselcommunity.orgity, off-spec fuel in perspective: The vastmajority of biodiesel consumers experienceno fuel-related problems whatsoever. Thereis also (unfortunately) off-spec gasoline anddiesel fuel in the marketplace too.To reduce your chances of buying off-specbiodiesel, get to know your dealer and askquestions. How long have they been in busi- pHLip test results, showing fuel quality problems.ness? What feedstocks are used? What arethe cold weather characteristics of the fuel?How frequently is the fuel tested for ASTMcompliance? Are your manufacturer and While most of these are mainly of interestmarketer BQ-9000 accredited? to biodiesel fuel makers, some are within the capability of technically minded fuelDon’t assume that bigger companies are consumers, too.necessarily better. Many small producerstake pride in making excellent fuel, and Conclusionsome large producers have been known tomake bad batches. Biodiesel users should take some basic pre- cautions to avoid performance problems: • Perform regular maintenance, checkDo-It-Yourself Fuel fuel fi lters frequently, and changeQuality Testing them as necessary.You can mail a sample of fuel to a labora- • Understand biodiesel’s cold weathertory for comprehensive ASTM testing, but properties and take appropriatethe price tag is likely to be a hefty $800 $1,000 or more. Fortunately, there aresome inexpensive alternatives for consum- • Be aware of biodiesel’s incompat-ers and fuel makers. ibility with certain materials and replace any incompatible parts,Dr. Randall von Wedel has developed a sim- especially rubber fuel lines.ple testing kit called the pHLip (pronounced • Regularly drain water from the“fl ip”) Test. You fi ll a vial with B100 to bottom of fuel tanks, to preventthe indicated level, then fl ip the sample 10 microbial growth.times and wait 10 minutes for the fuel tofloat to the top. Through visual inspection • Use stored biodiesel within aboutyou can identify a variety of fuel quality six months.problems, including old, poorly washed, or • Make sure that fuel meets ASTMoxidized fuel. The kits are NOT a substitute D6751.for ASTM testing and standards, but cost • Incorporate biodiesel into farmingonly around $5 per test and allow quick in- operations gradually. Start slowlythe-field testing. For more information, visit and expand your use of the fuel you gain confidence.Several simple fuel quality tests are also • Make sure your biodiesel comesdescribed on the Journey to Forever site, at from a reputable source. Get to know your fuel provider and askhtml. These include the “wash test,” “repro- questions about feedstocks andcessing test,” “methanol test,” and others. quality ATTRA Page 9
  10. 10. References 10. Anon. No Date. Background. National Biodiesel Board. Retrieved May 10, 2007. www.biodie-1. Pahl, Greg. 2005. Biodiesel: Growing a New _ files/fuelfactsheets/Cold%20Flow.pdf Energy Economy. White River Junction, VT: 11. Brown, Jack and Jim Davis. January 31, 2007. Chelsea Green Publishing Company. “Agronomics of Oil Seed Crops in the Pacific2. Clean Cities. 2006. “Straight Vegetable Oil as a Northwest.” Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest Diesel Fuel?” Washington, DC: U.S. Depart- Biodiesel Workshop Course. National Biodiesel ment of Energy. Retrieved May 9, 2007. Program, University of Idaho. 12. Zeman, Nicholas. 2006. “Remember December.” Biodiesel Magazine, October. Retrieved May3. Engine Manufacturers Association. 2006. 11, 2007. “Use of Raw Vegetable Oil or Animal Fats article-print.jsp?article_id=1180 in Diesel Engines.” Chicago, IL: Engine Manufacturers Association. 13. Barrett, Rick. 2006. “Minnesota Aims to Get Biodiesel Back In Gear.” Milwaukee Journal4. Van Gerpen, Jon. “Biodiesel Use and Consumption.” Sentinel, February 1. Retrieved May 11, 2007. Montana Oilseed and Biodiesel Workshop. Great Falls, MT: Montana Farmers Union and 20060201/ai_n16036216/print Montana Grain Growers Association, 14. Anon. No date. “Solvency Effects.” Piedmont Bio- February 15, 2007. fuels. Retrieved May 14, 2007. http://biofuels.5. Ryan, David. 2004. “Biodiesel—A Primer.” coop/general-information/solvency-effects Butte, MT: National Center for Appropriate 15. Anon. 2007. Specification For Biodiesel (B100). Technology. ASTM D6751-07a. National Biodiesel Board.6. Anon. 2006. Fuel Quality and Performance Guide. Retrieved June 9, 2007. National Biodiesel Board. Retrieved May 11, pdf-files/fuelfactsheets/BDSpec.pdf 2007. _ files/Fuel 16. Anon. No Date. “Biodiesel Standards and Warran- QualityandPerformanceGuide.pdf ties.” National Biodiesel Board. Retrieved May7. Tyson, K. Shaine. 2001. Biodiesel Handling and 14, 2007. fuelfactsheets/standards-and-warranties.shtm Use Guidelines. Golden, CO: National Renew- able Energy Laboratory. 17. Freckmann, Chad. 2006. “Biodiesel: A Renew- able, Premium Fuel to Meet Today’s and8. Anon. 2005. “Use of Biodiesel Blends above Tomorrow’s Energy Needs in a Clean and 20% Biodiesel.” National Biodiesel Board. Sustainable Manner.” Kilarnock, VA: Hampton Retrieved May 14, 2007. Clean Cities Coalition. Retrieved May 9, 2007. pdf _ files/Biodiesel_Blends_Above%20_20_ Final.pdf CleanFuels-Biodieseloverview.pdf9. Pelly, Mike. 2003. “Mike Pelly’s Biodiesel Method.” 18. Anon. January 2007. “Biodiesel tests reveal off-spec Journey to Forever. Retrieved June 5, 2007. fuel in U.S. market.” Biodiesel Magazine. www. 10 ATTRA Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
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  12. 12. Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality By Andrew Pressman and Mike Morris NCAT Energy Specialists © 2007 NCAT This publication is available on the Web at: or IP315 Slot 314 Version 102407Page 12 ATTRA