Can Biodiesel Be Used In Diesel Engines?

Vehicles that run on biodiesel and regular diesel are identical. Although light, medium, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles are not strictly alternative fuel vehicles, they can almost all run on biodiesel blends. The most popular biodiesel mix is B20, which contains anywhere from 6% to 20% biodiesel and petroleum diesel. However, B5 (a biodiesel mix containing 5% biodiesel and 95% diesel) is widely utilized in fleet cars. Many diesel vehicles can run on B20 and lower-level blends without any engine modifications.

Biodiesel increases the fuel’s cetane number and improves its lubricity. A greater cetane number indicates that the engine will start more easily and with less delay. To keep moving parts from wearing down prematurely, diesel engines rely on the lubricity of the fuel. Improved lubricity decreases friction between moving parts, resulting in less wear. Biodiesel has a number of advantages, one of which is that it can improve the lubricity of the fuel at mix levels as low as 1%.

B5 is approved by all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). However, verify the OEM engine warranty to see if higher-level mixes of this alternative fuel, such as B20, are acceptable. For more information on OEM certifications for biodiesel use in automobiles, go to the Clean Fuels Alliance America website.

Can I run my diesel car on biodiesel?

Biodiesel can be used as a direct substitute or combined with normal diesel to power a diesel engine.

However, in the United Kingdom, biodiesel is normally only supplied in blended form to drivers. This is owing to the fact that just a few manufacturers have given their diesel engines their full approval for biodiesel use.

Bioethanol is in the same boat. While pure E100 bioethanol can be used as a fuel, compatibility issues mean that pure E100 bioethanol is not frequently used in the UK.

However, ordinary unleaded petrol in the United Kingdom contains up to 5% bioethanol, and E10 fuel is commonly accessible throughout Europe.

E10 is a blended fuel made up of 10% bioethanol and 90% gasoline, and the UK government has proposed that it will be accessible on UK forecourts by 2020.

Does biodiesel damage your engine?

Poor-quality biodiesel may not have an immediate influence on the running of your engine, but deposits, corrosion, and damage can build up over time until your engine breaks catastrophically.

Can I mix biodiesel with diesel?

The ethyl ester of pongamia pinnata has a higher calorific value than the ethyl ester of mustard oil. The calorific values of Blend A and Blend B are similar to diesel, which is more than single biodiesel blends, thanks to the combination of dual biodiesels and diesel.

Is biodiesel the same as diesel #2?

Biodiesel has a higher lubricity than petroleum diesel (it is more “slippery”). Sulfur is almost non-existent in biodiesel. This is also a good thing, as it will likely result in less emissions from biodiesel engines. Biodiesel has a higher oxygen content than petroleum diesel (typically 10 to 12 percent).

Is biodiesel cheaper than diesel?

How does biodiesel compare to ordinary petroleum diesel as its use grows in the marketplace? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Here are four factors to consider while assessing the potential impact on fleet.

1. Cost Analysis

When comparing biodiesel prices, the National Biodiesel Board recommends using the following formula: For each percent of biodiesel blended with petrodiesel, add one penny per gallon. B-5, for example, would cost about five cents per gallon more than petrodiesel. B-20 would cost an extra 20 cents, and so on.

The Department of Energy’s handbook provides another option “Alternative Fuel Price Report for Clean Cities,” available at Biodiesel pricing for low-level blends (B-2 to B-5) are nearly the same as conventional diesel, according to the September 2005 edition, $2.81 per gallon biodiesel against $2.81 regular diesel. Blends with B-20 are around ten cents extra at $2.91. Pure biodiesel (B-100), at $3.40 per gallon, is about 59 cents more expensive than conventional diesel.

2. Pollution Impact

According to the report, “In “Clean Alternative Fuels: Biodiesel,” the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows how biodiesel compares to normal diesel in terms of emissions.

The rise in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions is alarming because NOx is a major contributor to ozone formation. Fuel suppliers for fleets, such as Eastman Chemical, blend appropriate additives with biodiesel to counteract and reduce NOx emissions. For example, according to NREL-sponsored research, adding cetane enhancers such di-tert-butyl peroxide at 1% or 2-ethylhexl nitrate at 5% can lower NOx emissions. The study also claims that combining biodiesel with kerosene or Fischer-Tropsch diesel can lower NOx emissions.

“Biodiesel is a superior alternative for fleets interested in decreasing petroleum usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and regulatory pollutants,” adds NREL’s McCormick.

3. Gasoline Quality

“The only drawback we faced in transitioning to biodiesel was a gasoline quality issue with our prior supplier,” explains Curtis of Eastman Chemical. Biodiesel that does not satisfy high quality standards can reduce engine performance, clog filters and injectors, and result in a slew of other expensive repairs.

Eastman Chemical changed suppliers within the first two months of their biodiesel program and hasn’t had any fuel problems since. Curtis strongly advises fleet managers who are considering using biodiesel to double-check that their fuel supply follows ASTM D6751 criteria. The American Society of Testing and Materials International (ASTM) is one of several international standard-setting organizations that have approved biodiesel requirements.

In the United States, ASTM D6751 is the most commonly cited standard. The goal of this guideline is to safeguard customers from subpar products, lower the cost of buying and selling biodiesel, and simplify the procurement process.

“The benefits can only be obtained if high-quality biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 requirements is utilized for mixing,” warns McCormick. “Biodiesel that isn’t up to grade can create engine difficulties and increased emissions.”

4. Execution

What effect does biodiesel have on engine performance when compared to normal diesel? The Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) estimates that using pure biodiesel results in a 5-7 percent reduction in maximum power output. That’s with biodiesel that’s 100 percent biodiesel. Lower ratio blends, such as B-2, B-5, or even B-20, appear to have little, if any, impact on perceived performance as long as fuel quality meets ASTM criteria. The greater lubricity of biodiesel is one performance problem. On the one hand, high lubricity helps to reduce early wear and tear in the fuel system. H

However, when switching from conventional diesel to biodiesel, the enhanced lubricity may pose issues. It can, for example, operate as a solvent for some fuel system components and concrete-lined tanks, releasing deposits built up on tank walls and pipes from diesel fuel storage, causing fuel filter blockages at first. The EPA recommended that car owners replace their fuel filters after the first tank of gas.

Another point of worry is how well it performs in cold conditions. In his analytical paper “Biodiesel Performance, Costs, and Use,” Anthony Radich of the Department of Energy writes, “The performance of biodiesel in cold temperatures is considerably inferior than that of petroleum diesel.”

He claims that the temperature at which wax crystals can develop in a vehicle’s fuel system and potentially clog fuel lines and filters is higher than that of petroleum diesel.

What happens if you put biodiesel in a diesel truck?

Across the country, biodiesel blends are utilized in diesel automobiles, trucks, buses, off-road equipment, and oil furnaces. Biodiesel can cut overall emissions from a diesel engine by up to 75%. Due to its naturally high lubricity, it can also help a diesel vehicle live longer by reducing engine wear and tear.

Is biodiesel blend same as diesel?

With gas prices fluctuating and the Obama administration devoted to reducing America’s reliance on oil, Americans appear to be more interested in alternative fuels, such as those derived from farm crops and other renewable organic sources. Biodiesel and vegetable oil, both of which can be used to power a diesel engine, are among the most readily available.

Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable or animal fats, is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel. Adherents claim it emits far less pollution than ordinary diesel.

Biodiesel is most typically supplied in mixes with regular diesel, such as B5, which contains 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum fuel, and B20, which contains 20% biodiesel. According to the US Department of Energy, B20 costs around 20 cents per gallon more than petroleum diesel. B100 (pure biodiesel) costs about 85 cents per gallon more than conventional diesel.

Plain, edible cooking oil is a cousin of biodiesel. However, because cooking oil from grocery store shelves is not economically viable (a gallon costs approximately $8), some people are converting diesel engines to run on old deep-fryer oil that restaurants frequently discard. Discarded oil is sometimes given away for free, but more restaurants are beginning to charge for it.

We adapted a diesel-powered 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI to run on biodiesel (B5 and B100) and fryer grease to test how they compare to standard petroleum diesel fuel. We discovered that they all permitted the car to perform adequately, but that the price and convenience of each varies.

B5, a biodiesel mix with 5% biodiesel, gave us the greatest overall performance. It was the most efficient in terms of performance, emissions, fuel economy, and convenience. B5 may be used in any diesel engine without requiring any modifications to the vehicle, and it is injected into the tank exactly like regular gasoline. However, because it is made out of 95% petroleum diesel, it offers little to help drivers transition away from fossil fuels.

Our Jetta performed admirably on recycled cooking oil, but the hassle of locating fuel sources and preparing the oil for use in the engine limits its appeal and negates its low cost.

New diesel automobiles with up to 20% biodiesel blends are now being warrantied by automakers. Engineers say they detect too many contaminants and irregularities in the gasoline at concentrations higher than that, or on cooking oil, to be comfortable extending warranty coverage.

Why do people not use biodiesel?

Total life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels are virtually impossible to measure, contrary to popular belief. For example, there is considerable disagreement about the actual energy and greenhouse gas savings of biofuels displacing fossil fuels, and there is also considerable disagreement about the actual energy and greenhouse gas savings of biofuels displacing fossil fuels “Even for the same biofuel type, a large number of publications that analyze the life-cycle of biofuel systems present varying and sometimes contradictory conclusions.” (For further information, read this study). While biofuels may have lower “direct” emissions, their far more abstract “indirect” releases usually result in higher life-cycle emissions. In other words, greenhouse gases are emitted at numerous stages in the manufacture and use of biofuels, as well as in the manufacturing of fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel used in agriculture, as well as during chemical processing, transportation, and distribution, all the way to final usage. This method consumes a large quantity of fossil energy across the supply chain, making biofuels less environmentally friendly than petroleum-based fuels. It takes 18 megajoules of fossil energy to generate one liter of soybean-based biodiesel, which is equal to half a liter of gasoline, from crushing to transport. The unaccounted-for environmental issues that develop indirectly as a result of the usage of biofuels are significant: 1) direct conflicts between land used for fuel and land used for food, 2) other land-use changes, 3) water scarcity, 4) biodiversity loss, and 4) nitrogen pollution from fertilizer overuse.

Our main biodiesel feedstock, soy-based biodiesel, is very land-intensive, requiring five times the amount of land as ethanol to produce the same amount of biofuel energy. Biodiesel emits much more NOx than regular diesel because it contains significantly more oxygen (see this study here). NOx is a highly potent family of greenhouse gases that has a 300-fold stronger warming effect on the atmosphere than CO2. The Union of Concerned Scientists has reached the following conclusion: “Biofuels have major side effects that negate their climatic benefits and put water supplies at risk.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2014 that indirect emissions from biofuels contributed to global warming “may result in higher total emissions than when petroleum products are used.” And, according to a research commissioned by the European Union, indirect CO2 emissions from biofuels are four times higher than those from petroleum-based products. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the climate benefits of replacing petroleum fuels with biofuels are negligible. Even more forthright was a recent research by Chatham House: “It has been discovered that biodiesel made from vegetable oils is worse for the environment than fossil diesel.”

While demand for biofuels is on the rise (due to government mandates), domestic oil use is either slowing, flattening, or even dropping. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2014, total U.S. oil production will increase by more than 20% by 2025, while demand will decline by around 8%, since new car efficiency regulations, for example, are predicted to reduce usage by 2.2 million b/d. As a result, the supply of oil is fast expanding. Crude oil production in the United States has surpassed 9.5 million barrels per day for the first time since 1972. And, with tremendous development potential in Canada (which ranks third in the world with 173 billion barrels of known oil reserves) and Mexico (where new energy reforms will allow international investment), North American oil security is just becoming stronger.

Figure 2: Conveniently Ignored…Renewables’ Lower Efficiencies are Best typified in the Electricity Sector in the United States (Capacity Factors in 2018)

Is all diesel fuel biodiesel?

However, thanks to the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign, technologically improved diesels are now being manufactured to satisfy new, tight emissions requirements, removing those headaches.

Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen now offer diesel cars in the United States, with a total of 23 models compared to just nine in 2008. In addition, Chrysler plans to release a light-duty Ram 1500 diesel truck in late 2013, while rumors of diesel choices for General Motors Corporation’s tiny Chevrolet and GMC pickups have circulated. As more of these cars hit the road, demand for diesel fuel — and biodiesel — is expected to rise.

Diesel engines today achieve 20-40% higher fuel economy and generate more torque at lower rpm than gasoline engines. Biodiesel fuel has several advantages to petroleum diesel in these vehicles: it is produced in a more environmentally responsible manner, it helps lower pollutants, and it reduces America’s reliance on foreign oil, all without requiring any vehicle modifications.

Thousands of significant fleets, including all four branches of the US military, NASA, and state, city, and private fleets, use biodiesel today. Boats, as well as farm, construction, and manufacturing machinery, typically run on biodiesel.

Biodiesel in its purest form is rarely utilized. Instead, it’s usually mixed with petroleum fuel and labeled according to the amount of biodiesel in the mix. B5, for example, is made up of 5 percent biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel. Almost all “normal” diesel marketed in the United States contains some biodiesel, in blends as high as B5. Following that, B20, a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel, is widely utilized in fleet and commercial vehicles and is the most widely distributed blend.

The National Biodiesel Board’s website has a map of retail biodiesel locations.

Does Shell diesel contain biodiesel?

Shell Diesel and Shell biodiesel blends are both developed to fulfill the needs of the most discerning customers and are readily accessible at most Shell locations across the United States.