At JatroDiesel, we believe it’s important to give our clients all the information they need to make the best possible decisions for their operations. Here, we’ve complied some of the most common questions we get from clients—along with answers—to help you learn more about biodiesel. If you have a question that you don’t see included here, please feel free to contact Customer Service or by call (937) 847-8050.
Because of its potential benefit to the environment and to facilitate greater energy independence, the biodiesel industry enjoys a tremendous support of its efforts to advance renewable energy technologies in the U.S. There are numerous government programs that provide grants, credits, and income tax credits to benefit the producers, distributors, and users of biodiesel.
In 2010, the Federal government also mandated Biodiesel usage as part of RFS2 (Renewable Fuel Standard 2), which is an important piece of legislation to jump-start the demand for Biodiesel. Per the mandate, each year an increasing amount of Biodiesel is required to be blended into Diesel fuel by the companies (Petroleum refiners and importers of diesel) who are obligated to do so. Also, each year, the EPA who oversees the RFS program, increase the total obligation. In 2017, it is 2 billion gallons per year.
Presently, more than 175 companies are actively marketing biodiesel and have invested millions of dollars into the development of biodiesel manufacturing plants. Based on the existing, dedicated biodiesel processing capacity and long-term production agreements, there is currently more than 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel capacity in the U.S.
Using biodiesel in existing diesel engines does not void the parts and materials workmanship warranties of any major U.S. engine manufacturer. The amount of Biodiesel blend to use varies per the engine manufacturer. A Popular blend is 20% biodiesel and 80% Diesel (or B20).
The current industry recommendation is that biodiesel be used within six months, or re-analyzed after six months to ensure that the fuel meets ASTM D-6751-12 specifications. This is the same as the shelf life of petroleum diesel, which most producers recommend. A longer shelf life is possible depending on the fuel composition, moisture content in the initial product and the use of storage-enhancing additives. Biodiesel from JatroDiesel has been tested after 9 months and passed ASTM.
The biodiesel industry has been active in setting standards for biodiesel since 1994, when the first biodiesel task force was formed within the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). ASTM approved a provisional standard for biodiesel (ASTM PS 121) in July of 1999. The final specification, D-6751, was issued in December 2001. Since then, numerous upgrades to ASTM 6751 have been made. Copies of specifications are available from ASTM at http://www.astm.org.
Experience with B20 suggests that no changes to gaskets or hoses are necessary. Almost every diesel truck or car manufacturer warranties engine when using B20. However, the recent switch to low-sulfur diesel fuel has caused most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to switch to components that are also suitable for use with biodiesel. In general, biodiesel used at B20 or above can soften and degrade certain types of elastomers and natural rubber compounds over time (primarily fuel lines and fuel pump seals).
Not with biodiesel from JatroDiesel. Call for pricing of blends ranging from B2 to B99.
Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine with no modification to the engine or the fuel system (however, pre-1993 vehicles should change fuel lines from rubber to neoprene, or the most common type of hose in use). Pure biodiesel (B100) has a solvent effect, which may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel use. With high blends of biodiesel, the release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken to replace fuel filters until the petroleum build-up is eliminated (typically two changes are recommended every 1,500 miles driven). This issue is less prevalent with B20 blends, and there is no evidence that lower-blends, such as B2, have caused filters to plug.
Just like common #2 diesel, biodiesel will gel in very cold temperatures. Although pure biodiesel has a higher cloud point than #2 diesel fuel, typical blends of 20% biodiesel are managed with the same fuel management techniques as #2 diesel.
JatroDiesel blends of 5% biodiesel and less have virtually no impact on cold flow. Jatrodiesel distills the Biodiesel so it works very well at low temperatures. If blended at B5 to B10, there are no performance or quality issues, even during the coldest winter temperatures.
For bulk customers using tanker trucks, we offer the following suggestions for tank blending of biodiesel in the winter:
- Top-load the diesel fuel into the tanker first, then the biodiesel
- When bottom-loading, load the biodiesel first to the tank, then diesel fuel
- If you have compartments on your tanker, mix each compartment to the desired blend (B5, B10, B20)
- Keep biodiesel above 45°F (7°C) prior to blending
- Ensure the success of the blending through agitation, if possible
One of the major advantages of biodiesel is the fact that it can be used in existing engines and fuel injection equipment with no adverse impact to operating performance. Biodiesel has a higher cetane number than U.S. diesel fuel. In more than 50 million miles of in-field demonstrations, B20 showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel also has superior lubricity and has the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel (falling in the range between #1 and #2 diesel fuel). Additionally, biodiesel burns over 50% cleaner than conventional diesel.
Vegetable oil is made from vegetable oil (used or virgin) or from animal fats. Both are triglycerides made up of, three oil molecules or esters, which are attached to one molecule of glycerin. Glycerin is what makes vegetable oil thick and sticky. To make biodiesel, you remove the glycerin and replace it with an alcohol (usually Methanol). This process is known as transesterification. The most important aspects of biodiesel production, to ensure trouble free operation in diesel engines and to meet ASTM standards are:
- Complete Reaction (no leftover unprocessed oil/reactants)
- Removal of Glycerin
- Removal of Catalyst (NaOH/KOH) (if using traditional process to make biodiesel. Jatrodiesel’s Super™process does not use Catalyst)
- Removal of Alcohol (Methanol)
- Absence of Free Fatty Acids
Note: With Jatrodiesel’s new process, Super™, no catalyst or acid is used in the conversion process. Instead of catalyst, Jatrodiesel uses high pressure and temperature to create the same effect. This saves in production cost as well as making the process much easier to operate. It also yields a significantly purer glycerin as there is no contamination of it from the catalyst or enzyme. Additionally, the final biodiesel is of a higher quality.
Biodiesel is one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels on the market. A number of independent studies have been completed and the results show that biodiesel performance is similar to that of petroleum diesel. The real difference is that biodiesel is better for the environment and human health than petroleum diesel.
This research includes studies performed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stanadyne Automotive Corp. (the largest diesel fuel injection equipment manufacturer in the U.S.), Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and the Southwest Research Institute. Biodiesel is the first and only alternative fuel to have completed the rigorous Health Effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. Biodiesel has been proven to perform similarly to petroleum diesel in more than 350 million successful road miles in virtually all types of diesel engines, as well as for countless off-road and marine hours. Currently, more than 600 major fleets use biodiesel fuel.