Can You Run Biodiesel In A Regular Diesel Engine?

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 diesel engines run on 100% biodiesel?

No, biodiesel is made through a chemical process known as transesterification, which turns natural oils and fats into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Vegetable oil combustion without conversion to biodiesel results in soot deposition and deposits, which can cause power loss and engine failure. See What Is Biodiesel for more information.

If your vehicle was built before 1993, the rubber gasoline lines will almost certainly need to be replaced. One of the most significant advantages of using biodiesel is that it can be utilized in existing diesel engines without compromising performance. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel for heavy-duty vehicles that does not necessitate specific injection or storage.

It’s worth noting that newer diesel Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes cars (2007 or after) feature a fuel system with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) that can cause fuel/oil dilution in the diesel engine, regardless of whether diesel or biodiesel fuel is used. If certain safeguards are not taken, the engine oil may be diluted by the fuel over time. One suggestion is to make sure you use your diesel engine on a regular basis. Furthermore, if you use 100 percent biodiesel in these vehicles, you must change the oil at least every 3,000 miles and keep an eye on the oil level (this is not an issue with vehicles using biodiesel blends, such as B20). If you have any questions, please contact our biodiesel fuel experts.

“Federal law forbids the voiding of a warranty solely because biodiesel was used,” the US Department of Energy explains in its Biodiesel Handling & Use Guide. The failure would have to be traced back to the biodiesel. If an engine fails due to biodiesel use (or any other external circumstance, such as dirty diesel fuel), the damage may not be covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee.”

No, biodiesel may only be used in diesel engines with a compression ignition system.

Biodiesel functions as a solvent. It will remove a lot of the diesel deposits that have built up in your fuel tank. This may cause early fuel filter clogging, but it will not result in a higher frequency of filter changes if you continue to use biodiesel.

Vehicles that run on biodiesel achieve nearly the same MPG as those that run on petroleum. Find out more.

Yes, biodiesel can help you get more mileage out of your engine. Biodiesel has better lubricating characteristics, which helps to keep crucial engine parts from wearing out.

Using biodiesel instead of petrodiesel will dramatically reduce tail pipe emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Sulfur oxides and sulfates, which are important contributors to acid rain, will be almost eliminated. Nitrogen oxide emissions may rise slightly, however this can be mitigated by the use of newer low-emission diesel engines. Find out more.

Click here to see a complete list of filling stations that sell biodiesel.

Petrodiesel is not present in pure biodiesel, B100 (100 percent biodiesel). Biodiesel can be combined with petrodiesel and sold as B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petrodiesel blend) or B5 (50 percent biodiesel, 50 percent petrodiesel blend) (5 percent biodiesel, 95 percent petrodiesel blend).

Can any diesel engine use biodiesel?

Biodiesel may be used in any diesel engine without modification and is a straight replacement for petroleum diesel. 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%.

Does biodiesel damage your engine?

When utilizing biodiesel in any engine, a number of issues related to fuel compatibility must be taken into account. The effect of biodiesel on engines and aftertreatment systems is logically dependent on the blend level. While the most substantial effect would be predicted with pure B100 or high level blends in many circumstances, intermediate level blends are more prone to fuel insolubles precipitation and filter blockage. Long-term operation with low biodiesel blends can have certain cumulative impacts.

Biodiesel proponents, such as biodiesel manufacturers and environmental organisations that encourage the use of biodiesel, frequently claim that biodiesel can be utilized in existing diesel engines with no changes. While it is true that most diesel engines can be started and operated for a number of hours using biodiesel fuel (at least in moderate weather), engine manufacturers restrict biodiesel use in many engine models to assure no negative impacts over the engine’s lifetime. Biodiesel fuel limits are often imposed through new engine warranties, which are voided if the engine is used with a fuel that does not satisfy the manufacturer’s criteria, such as B100 or high level biodiesel blends. Another difficulty is the lack of standard requirements for straight biodiesel and/or biodiesel blend fuels. Even if the engine is designed to run on average B100 fuel, the variability of a non-standard fuel without a widely agreed and enforced quality criteria can cause problems.

  • Material compatibility—Engine components that come into touch with the fuel can be manufactured of incompatible materials depending on the engine make, model, and model year.
  • Oil dilution—With all engines, there’s a chance that some fuel can leak into the crankcase and dilute the lubricating oil. The stored fuel can use a large chunk of the engine’s oil capacity over time. The lubricating oil and engine components that come into touch with the oil/fuel mixture might affect the engine’s durability and lifetime.
  • Fuel injection equipment—Affects on fuel injectors, filters, and other fuel system components can result in considerable engine performance degradation.
  • Emission control system—Biodiesel fuels can have a negative impact on emission aftertreatment systems, such as catalysts and particulate filters. As a result, there may be an increase in engine emissions or a reduction in the durability of emission components.

From the 1990s to the early 2000s, when biodiesel was first commercialized, tidy biodiesel was accessible at the pump in specific geographic locations, such as Germany. Due to fuel compatibility difficulties, biodiesel is increasingly being used in low-level blends. Fuel injection and engine manufacturers all around the world have adopted B5 blends. The maximum blend level allowed by most European automobile manufacturers is B7.

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.

Can I run biodiesel in my Duramax?

GM has yet to officially debut its next-generation Duramax diesel engine, but the firm announced today that the new engine, which will power the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD models, can run on a 20% biodiesel blend (B20).

Is biodiesel the same as diesel 2?

Biodiesel has a higher oxygen content than petroleum diesel (typically 10 to 12 percent). As a solvent, biodiesel is more chemically active than petroleum diesel. As a result, some compounds that are generally regarded acceptable for diesel fuel may be more aggressive. Biodiesel is a significantly safer alternative to petroleum diesel.

Can I use biodiesel in my Cummins?

Cummins is a firm believer in the usage of environmentally friendly alternative fuels. To encourage the use of renewable, domestically grown fuel, all of our automobile and industrial engines are compatible with B5 biodiesel.

Only the engines listed in this document are B20 certified. Cummins is continuing to research biodiesel concentrations greater than 5%. All future goods will be biodiesel B20 compliant. We are aware of the increased interest in B20 fuel blends and are enthusiastic about renewable fuels.

Some OEMs that employ Cummins engines that aren’t named in this advisory may have their own biodiesel-related releases that are particular to their application. Customers who want to use biodiesel should additionally check with their OEM to make sure that all supplied components, such as fuel tanks and lines, are compatible.

Is biodiesel cheaper than regular 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 www.eere.energy.gov/afdc. 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.

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 biodiesel the same as ultra low sulfur diesel?

Sulfur is a common ingredient in all diesel products, but what does it mean to you? Is it safe for your car? Let’s look at the various levels of sulfur in diesel fuel and how they effect your equipment.

What is Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel?

Since 2010, all pumps in the United States have been required to dispense ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) rather than low-sulfur diesel (LSD). Furthermore, because to the lower sulfur concentration, all vehicles manufactured after 2007 are only suitable with ULSD. When compared to LSD, ULSD contains 97 percent less sulfur, making it safe to use with improved emission control devices in modern vehicles. These systems are harmed by higher sulfur levels. Sulfur is one of the most common contaminants in diesel exhaust, and it is not just hazardous for engines.

Is Biodiesel Ultra-Low Sulfur?

Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning fuel derived from plant or animal matter. It emits less pollutants than conventional diesel. To comply with EPA standards, it must meet the same ULSD total sulfur requirement. As a result, biodiesel has a lower sulfur content than ultra-low sulfur diesel. While there are minor differences between biodiesel and standard diesel, they do not endanger your engine when you fill up at the gas station. All diesel sold at the pump in Oregon contains at least 5% biodiesel (also known as B5).

Is Off-Road Diesel Ultra-Low Sulfur?

Off-road diesel, often known as colored diesel, contains very little sulfur. It still meets the EPA’s environmental standards and will not harm engines. However, don’t use it to fuel your highway cars because it’s only meant for equipment that won’t be driven on public roads. Generators, construction equipment, and other diesel-powered devices are examples of this equipment. Check out our blog on clear and red-dyed diesel to learn more about off-road diesel.