Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Considerations for Using Biodiesel Wisely

Here are the 4 primary considerations SBN advises all new users for using biodiesel safely and responsibly (taken from the generic membership agreement):

1. Material Compatibility - I understand that biodiesel can accelerate the break down of rubber fuel hoses and gaskets causing them to leak. Vehicles made before 1994 probably have rubber fuel hoses and gaskets and will need to be replaced either before or upon failure with biodiesel compatible hoses and gaskets such as Viton. Check with the vehicle manufacturer.

2. Cold Flow - I understand that biodiesel may need to be “winterized” in colder temperatures by mixing a sufficient percentage of petro diesel (5% or more), kerosene and/or anti gel additives with the biodiesel, depending on the temperatures the car is in, to keep the fuel flowing properly. Depending on the source and quality, biodiesel can begin to first cloud, and then gel between 25F- 45F. It is advisable to test your current fuel to know the temperature it begins to cloud.

3. Cleaning Effect - I understand that the solvent characteristics of biodiesel will loosen and “clean out” the petroleum based diesel sediments that stick and accumulate in the fuel system over time. This dislodged diesel sediment can clog the fuel filter and require monitoring and possibly changing the fuel filter within the first few tankfuls of biodiesel. A clogged filter may cause the car to stall and fail to start. It is advisable to have a new fuel filter on hand and be ready to replace it if the symptoms arise.

4. Warranty - I understand that the use of pure biodiesel (B100) or blends above B20 may void my vehicle warranty. Check with vehicle manufacturer about what percentage of biodiesel is currently accepted by them.

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