What’s Biodiesel?

Let’s cover what Biodiesel is first : it usually refers to either a vegetable - oil or animal fat - based diesel fuel that consists of long - chain alkyl esters. It’s normally made by chemically reacting different lipids with an alcohol. These lipids can range anywhere form things like vegetable oil to animal fat.

Biodiesel is intended to be used in standard diesel engines and can also be used alone or it can be blended with petrodiesel. It can even be used as a low carbon alternative to heating oil.

The products that are more commonly distributed for use in different fuel marketplaces are blends of diesel and conventional hydrocarbon-based diesel products. There’s a system that most of the world uses in order to state the amount of biodiesel in any fuel mix and it’s called the “B” factor. Here are some examples :

- 100% biodiesel is referred to as B100
- 20% biodiesel, 80% petrodiesel is labeled B20
- 5% biodiesel, 95% petrodiesel is labeled B5
- 2% biodiesel, 98% petrodiesel is labeled B2

Does that make sense?

The blends that have less than 20% of biodiesel can be used in different diesel equipment with no or only minor modifications. The B6 to B20 blends are usually covered by the ASTM D7467 specification - American Society for Testing and Materials. It’s an international standards organization that is known for developing and publishing voluntary consensus technical standards for a pretty wide range of different material, different products, different systems, and more than enough different services.

If biodiesel is put to use in its pure form - which is B100 - it may require for specific engine modifications in order to avoid a lot of maintenance and even problems with performance. No one likes when their car can’t perform to its full potential.

You can blend pure biodiesel with petroleum diesel by doing these things:

- You can mix the Fuel Tank or tanks at the manufacturing point before the delivery of it.
- Splash mixing ! (Where you add certain percentages of biodiesel & petroleum diesel)
- In - line mixing; where two different components appear at the tanker truck at the same time.
- Metered Pump mixing - the petroleum diesel & biodiesel meters are preset to X total volume. There’s transfer pumps that pull from two points and then mix.

Because of the Energy Policy Act that was passed in 2005, the use of biodiesel has been increasing here in the United States. In the United Kingdom, there’s something called the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation that requires suppliers to always include 5% renewable fuel in all fuel that’s for transport that’s sold in the United Kingdom by 2010. When it comes to road diesel, this effectively means 5% biodiesel.

If you didn’t know, biodiesel has much better lubricating properties and much higher cetane ratings when you compare them to today’s lower sulfur diesel fuels - it even reduces fuel system wear. The calorific value of biodiesel is approximately 37.27 MJ/L - this makes it 9% lower than regular Number 2 petrodiesel.

Hmm, what do you think?