Can You Run Biodiesel In Any Diesel Engine?

Biodiesel may be used in any diesel engine without modification and is a straight replacement for petroleum diesel. Rudolf Diesel, a German engineer, invented the first diesel engine in 1893 to run on peanut oil. Biodiesel and petroleum diesel can be mixed in any ratio. B5, B20, B50, and B99 are common blends.

Can regular diesel engines use biodiesel?

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.

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.

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 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).

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.

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 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.

Can you mix biodiesel and diesel?

Yes, biodiesel and diesel fuel can be mixed and used interchangeably. Will I have to replace my fuel filters more frequently if I use biodiesel? Biodiesel functions as a solvent. It will remove a lot of the diesel deposits that have built up in your fuel tank.

Can you make biodiesel without methanol?

Yes, biodiesel can be made by reacting vegetable oil with alkyl sources such as methanol, ethanol, dimethyl carbonate, methyl acetate, and ethyl acetate, among others.

Can I make my own diesel fuel?

My Ford F-250 diesel crew-cab pickup did not pique my curiosity in producing bio-diesel fuel. No, it was after I paid $150 to fill up its 48-gallon gasoline tank that I decided to investigate the bio-diesel craze!

I believe it took me longer than most to consider bio-fuel because everything I ever heard or read about it came from the save-the-earth crowd, who drove around in old diesel school buses plastered with “flower power” and faded “stop global warming” bumper stickers—indicators that should be erased from my memory right now. In fact, a family friend named Jack Jones, who owns several diesel vehicles, asked me one day if I knew how to create bio-diesel fuel, which sparked my interest.

Making your own fuel to power diesel vehicles, farm tractors, and backup generators is a fantastic fit for anyone living off-grid or on a farm, regardless of who the early promoters were. Diesel fuel is not only simple to create, but it also requires very little equipment to get started. It is surely feasible to perfect the process with more expensive equipment later, as with other hobbies that might become obsessions, so I will start with the basics.

Where to start

You’ll need a steady supply of discarded cooking oil, and if you don’t have it, you’ll be wasting your time. This implies you’ll have to become friends with the owners of fast-food establishments in the area.

Waste vegetable oil (WVO) from commercial deep fryers is the starting point for all bio-diesel production processes, which may also incorporate lard and other kitchen grease. In most situations, the waste cooking oil is poured into temporary storage tanks behind the restaurants at the end of each day. Currently, most fast-food restaurants hire someone to collect this lost oil, along with other restaurant waste, once a week. However, as bio-popularity diesel’s grows, we’ll soon be defending our own sources and competing to see who can get there first each week! You’ll need a 50 to 100-gallon tank in your truck bed or on a compact trailer since you can’t just back up to a 500-pound tank of liquid waste oil and dump it into a bucket. You’ll also need a battery-powered gasoline pump; don’t worry, all of these products are easy to come by, and I’ll include a list of providers at the end of this post.

I’ve made it clear that you must first locate a source of waste vegetable oil. Keep in mind that if you have to drive 100 miles into a city to find a fast-food establishment, you may be wasting more fuel collecting waste oil than you can produce.

Chemical process

I’m not going to go into great length about the actual chemical process that occurs since you’ll pick it up as you get more involved. Because it’s so simple to create bio-diesel fuel, advertisements for kits that are relatively inexpensive and will make it much easier for you to get started abound on the Internet and in DIY magazines. Once you’ve begun manufacturing your own diesel fuel, you can invest in fuel test kits, fuel filters, and other devices to increase the quality and consistency of your output.

It takes four components to manufacture bio-diesel, regardless of which fuel-making kit you buy (and there are a lot of them): Methanol (racing fuel), sodium hydroxide (home lye), and water are all waste vegetable oils. These are a must-have for any process, no matter how basic or complex it is.

Safety issues

A few safety precautions are in order before you head out into the backyard and drop a can of drain opener (lye) and your son’s model airplane fuel (methanol) into a coffee can full of frying oil. It is probably conceivable to build your own bio-diesel processor from the ground up, given the minimal equipment required. However, the manner in which these highly reactive compounds are combined together, as well as their management during this process, raises major safety issues.

To begin with, methanol is extremely flammable, yet unlike most other flammable liquids, it burns without producing a visible flame. You may have witnessed a high-speed sports car race where a pit crew member began rolling on the ground for no apparent reason. These vehicles run on methanol, and fuel spills are common during quick pit stops, resulting in serious burns to crew members even when there are no flames or smoke visible. When sodium methoxide is combined with lye, the resultant sodium methoxide will burn if it comes into contact with bare flesh. Furthermore, you will not be aware that you are being burned because it kills all nerve endings immediately.

If you’ve ever used normal home lye to unclog drains or manufacture soap, you know how harmful it is to your skin and how hot it gets when thrown into water. Aluminum, tin pans, zinc coatings, and most paints are all swiftly corroded by lye, so only use glass, stainless steel, or chemical-grade polyethylene containers when working with these caustic compounds.

Finally, the vapors of sodium methoxide (a combination of methanol and lye) are particularly toxic to breathe, so make sure your fuel-making location is well ventilated (preferably an outside shed). During the actual mixing operation, keep a fire extinguisher close and a nearby water hose regularly releasing new water into a bucket.