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Thank you for your interest in Biodiesel, if you have any questions please send us an email.

 

 

 

What is Biodiesel? Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative to petroleum diesel made from domestic, renewable resources such as vegetable oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats.

How is Biodiesel Made? Making biodiesel is a fairly simple process. The vegetable oil or animal fat is reacted with methanol or ethanol and a catalyst, such as sodium hydroxide, to produce a methyl ester - the biodiesel. The methanol or ethanol and the catalyst used in the process are recovered and can be re-used. The bi-product of biodiesel production is glycerine, which can be used for other purposes such as the making of soap.

How is Biodiesel Used? Biodiesel can be used in virtually any diesel engine without modification. It can be used in its pure form (called B100) or as a blend with diesel fuel at any ratio. The most commonly used form of biodiesel is a 20% blend of biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, known as B20. This has become a common practice as a balancing of benefits with costs, cold weather and solvency considerations associated with biodiesel. (More on these below.) Biodiesel provides similar horsepower and fuel economy as petroleum diesel with superior lubricity to reduce wear and tear on the engine.

What are the Benefits of Biodiesel? Biodiesel provides numerous environmental and economic benefits: Biodiesel reduces nearly all forms of air pollution compared to petroleum diesel. In particular, biodiesel reduces toxic contaminants and cancer-causing compounds, along with the soot associated with diesel exhaust. Biodiesel also reduces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. Lifecycle analyses of biodiesel production, distribution and use show that biodiesel produces 78% less CO2 than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel has a positive energy balance, producing 3.2 units of energy for every unit of energy used in production. In contrast, diesel fuel produces on .89 units of energy for every unit of energy used in production. Biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable. The use of domestic, renewable sources of energy reduces our dependence on imported oil, thereby improving our nation's energy security. The domestic biodiesel industry provides jobs and economic development. Biodiesel is easy to use and can be used in existing diesel vehicles and engines.

Does Biodiesel Have Proven Viability and Reliability? Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Departments of Transportation and Energy recognize biodiesel as an alternative fuel. An ASTM standard, D6751, has been developed to ensure biodiesel quality. Diesel vehicles has driving more than fifty million miles on biodiesel fuel in the United States, even more in Europe. Washington State users include: the cities of Tacoma, Seattle and Olympia; Intercity Transit; McChord and Fairchild Air Force bases; Mt. Rainier National Park; Central Valley, Northshore and Chief Leschi school districts; and the Washington State Ferries.

Will Biodiesel Affect Engine Warranties? In general, the warranty remains the same as when using petroleum diesel - failures resulting from the use of any fuel are not covered. Many of the major engine manufacturers have prepared warranty statements concerning biodiesel. These are available from the manufacturers or several are available through the National Biodiesel Board. You may wish to consult with your engine or vehicle manufacturer if you have concerns about your warranty.

Are there special handling or safety considerations? In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for biodiesel. There are differences, however, in the requirements for pure biodiesel and biodiesel blends. Flash Point: Biodiesel has a significantly higher flash point than that of diesel fuel, making pure biodiesel one of the safest fuel to use, handle and store. Cold Weather: As with any diesel fuel, biodiesel can gel at low temperatures. Pure biodiesel (B100 or 100% biodiesel) requires some special handling, such as a heated or insulated storage tank. For biodiesel blends, precautions beyond those employed for diesel are generally not needed. Solvency: Biodiesel can loosen or dissolve sediments in fuel tanks and fueling systems. Cleaning tanks prior to biodiesel use may be warranted. At a minimum, fine gauge filters should be used on fuel lines going into and out of storage tanks, as well as in the vehicle. Check these filters often during the initial phase of biodiesel use and change as needed. The solvency effect is reduced when using biodiesel blends. The solvency property of biodiesel makes it an excellent parts cleaner, but avoid contact with painted surfaces. Material Compatibility: Biodiesel can soften or degrade natural rubber hoses and gaskets, leading to fuel leaks and spills. Most newer engines contain synthetic parts. However, older engines should be checked and any natural rubber parts replaced. Biodiesel is also not compatible with some metals and other materials. Aluminum, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene, and most fiberglass make acceptable storage tanks. Brass, bronze, copper, lead, tin and zinc should be avoided. Spills: Spills of biodiesel blends should be treated as a petroleum diesel spill. Spills involving pure biodiesel require much less intensive clean-up. Consult with your local department of ecology or fire department for details.

Are there requirements for preparing vehicles and fuel systems for biodiesel? One of the benefits of biodiesel is its ease of use. However, there are some precautions that must be followed to ensure a trouble free experience. Consult the notes above for a preliminary discussion of the precautions required.

 

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