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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings I've had a few messages sent back and forth on this site regarding Biodiesel. So I thought I would join the forms post the basics and answer any questions the Diesel owners out there have. As for my credentials I'm the HSEQ Manager for a large producer in NA.

What is Biodiesel made from?
Nearly anything that can produce an oil-
-Corn
-Vegetable Oil
-Soy Beans
-Canola
-Fish Oil
-White Grease
-Brown Grease
-Animal Fats
-Algae (This is the future)

What is B100?
The B### refers to the percentage of BioDiesel- Note that due to fuel regulations in the US distributors can put in 4.99% biodiesel into the blend and not tell you.

Common Blends

B100 = 100% BioDiesel
B20 = 20% BioDiesel 80% Petro Diesel
B10 = 10% BioDiesel 90% Petro Diesel
B5 = 5% BioDiesel 95% Petro Diesel

BioDiesel will ruin my engine- Not true although if your running an older or high mileage truck it will likely stop you in your tracks the first time you run it. The reason is that BioDiesel is an excellent solvent; so much so that one of the biggest uses for BioDiesel is Non-Hazardous parts washing solvent. It will clean years of sludge from your fuel tanks and fuel system. Your going to go through a few fuel filters but you and your engine will be just fine.

*Note many of the Biodiesel producers out there are small and may not adhere to good business standards. I would recommend sticking with BQ9000 acredited producers. (BQ9000 is the ISO 9000 of the Biofuel industry)

I lost mileage running B100- Probably true. If you run pure B100 you will gain horsepower and lose probably 1 mpg. Why? Because BioDiesel has a higher Cetane value then Petroleum Diesel but slightly lower BTU's. (Cetane is to diesel what Octane is to gas). Normal Diesel-Petroleum Diesel is supposed to be 43 Cetane and 45 for Government. I can tell you this is not always the case I don't want to offend anyone but some fuel stations usually independent cut their fuel with whatever.

Biodiesel has a Cetane range usually from 45 to 63. This varies based on the feedstock the BioDiesel was produced from.

I welcome any questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability
 

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ironraptor, hi, I'd like to chat about biodiesel. I've just started making bio so I can add 10% to my diesel. It's working well so I'm wanting to continue.

Studying up I notice agitation of the bio in the making process is like for an hour. Elsewhere I read that most of the reaction is within the first few mins. What would you recommend?

I've got some vege oil that is several years old but it has made good fuel. I read a number of opinions about age and use by dates. To some mine should be past it. Any thoughts?

Is there a simple method of determining residual methanol content? I note that one standard allowed up to .2%

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First thing the age of the vegetable oil is not important. Aged oils actually tent to work better for the process cause they have sat for a while and the solids had time to drop out.

Are you generating your reaction in the traditionally manor with acid or using enzymes? Do you pre-treat the oil prior to the reaction?

As for an easy way to determine Methanol content I'm not aware of one. It's measured through titration commercially. You need to very careful with this area as high Methanol content will pull moisture in from everywhere and has ruined more then one motor doing so.
 

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Ok great. I was careful to remove any water before storing and I think this helps. I've had wvo that smelled awful but get the water out and the oil appears to be fine. So yes, oil age doesn't appear to be a problem like I read elsewhere.

I've done 4 batches beginning with just one liter. Now I'm up to 10L (2.6 gal)
I preheat to extract any water.
Add sodium hydroxide (according to titration) to methanol .
Blend with a paint mixer for 3 - 4mins.
So I'm surprised at recommendations suggesting an hour for mixing. It seems like a waste of energy?

Agreed about hygroscopic nature of methanol. I'm planning on putting a silica gel moisture trap on my diesel tank for that very reason.

Is there an optimum temperature for titration of vege oil. The thought was I could heat it first to ensure water was removed then do the titration.

Actually I'm having a great time with titration. For years I didn't want to know about it. I run blended wvo for some time till about 4 years ago. Now that I got keen doing titration, I'm like a 'dog with a bone'.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To answer your question I'm not entirely sure. I have not run much Vegetable oil commercially we typically can't get enough of it at a reasonable price to do much with. Higher temps should be fine as long as your consistent with your temperatures.

As for your mixing question that shorter mix time should be fine with the batch size you are running. I would not hesitate to go with around 5 mins unless you start seeing cloudy batches which could indicate some of the material has not reacted.
 

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For the age question, I'm running a two tank setup with svo. Oil as been sitting for two year and is working fine. Remove most of the water before sitting. Also I live in Canada and gets pretty cold and since my wife does not want me to leave my tank in the kitchen :p it as froze twice during winter resulting in a huge chunk of butter but doesn't seem to have change the property of the fluid...
 

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For the age question, I'm running a two tank setup with svo. Oil as been sitting for two year and is working fine. Remove most of the water before sitting. ...
Yes, agreed. My way is to keep oil dry, exclude oxygen and store cool or at least out of the sun.

ironraptor,
I made a 20L (US5gal) bio batch with more good results. It was from the same barrel as before so I saw no need to re-titrate. I did reduce the methanol to 18% of the cold oil volume. What will I notice if I reduce the methanol content too much? Am wanting to save on methanol cost by using the minimum safe amount..
Thanks
 

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I take it you are water washing the biodiesel after reaction? Pretty much all of the residual methanol will be drawn in to the wash water and then finally into the air when drying your fuel (heat). I think the majority of methanol is left in the glycerol byproduct.

If you don't use enough methanol you will likely have an incomplete reaction. Testing: (3/27 test) http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/qualitytests.php

I used to use a manual cone tank setup, use a biopro 190 now.

Make sure you use a mask, etc when doing this manually in open containers. Methoxide is NOT good for you.

For how-to videos go here: http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/biodieselarticles.php
 

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IronRaptor,

I appreciate your starting this thread. Its real helpful to a novice like myself.

I was visiting Western IL and I filled my tank with B11 from a Shell station. I found the station by using an App from the National Bio-Diesel Board.

Biodiesel - America's first advanced biofuel!

They provided the contact phone for the regional supplier, Johnson Oil Company, and the manager was a great guy. Surprisingly, the cashier at the Shell station assured me that they only have "real" diesel and do not have Bio-Diesel (as if it were a bad thing) and it was only after re-confirming with the supplier that I confirmed I was fueling with B11 (Soy origin). The pump made no mention at all of the B11...and based on the cashier's response, i wonder if its for fear that diesel owners will be chased off ;-)

Apparently IL offers a tax break IF the amount of Bio-Diesel is greater than 10% so B11 is common in the State.

I will be interested to see how this fuel performs.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's very interesting. And actually illegal per federal law they can only blend 4.99 percent and not post it.

At B11 ypu should see no difference in mileage or performance. If you run it continously and your truck is new enough to have a regeneration system you will eventually notice it's running the cycle less.

I've been testing blends and recording all the data in my 2014 powerstroke. I'm going from B1 all the way to B100 recording mileage, HP, regeneration cycles, and fuel type. While soy bio is very pretty it actually the lowest Cetane rating of the bio feedstocks. Probably be another 6 months before I have all the data but even tally I will post.

An additional piece of very cool news for the big truck world the EPA has approved a device that will allow the truck to start on petroleum diesel then switch to Biodiesel B100 once the tank has reached 55 F. And if installed all other emission devices can be removed. We are installing these on our delivery trucks next week. I'll monitor them and post data as well.

Good luck
 

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That's very interesting. And actually illegal per federal law they can only blend 4.99 percent and not post it.

At B11 ypu should see no difference in mileage or performance. If you run it continously and your truck is new enough to have a regeneration system you will eventually notice it's running the cycle less.

I've been testing blends and recording all the data in my 2014 powerstroke. I'm going from B1 all the way to B100 recording mileage, HP, regeneration cycles, and fuel type. While soy bio is very pretty it actually the lowest Cetane rating of the bio feedstocks. Probably be another 6 months before I have all the data but even tally I will post.

An additional piece of very cool news for the big truck world the EPA has approved a device that will allow the truck to start on petroleum diesel then switch to Biodiesel B100 once the tank has reached 55 F. And if installed all other emission devices can be removed. We are installing these on our delivery trucks next week. I'll monitor them and post data as well.

Good luck
I misspoke, there is a small blue 1.5" gov't sticker (Stsmp) on the pump which apparently indicates Bio-diesel; however, there is no advertising. Shell has made no effort to let the consumer know they are selling B11 or even informed their cashiers. Now if that fuel were being sold in Boulder, CO it would be quite popular because its a very "green" community but on the banks of the Mississippi River in IL it ain't "real diesel" and its content is kept quiet. It appears the Shell station is merely taking advantage of the State Tax Incentive rather than attempting to market a Bio-Dielsel product to the consumer.

One other question I have for you is that it was the "dirtiest" pump I have ever seen. There was an oily residue on both sides of the pump itself all around where the pump handle is located and on the ground from overfills. It was not a single spill event. Is there anything about bio-diesel which makes it evaporate more slowly than dino or that would leave behind this residue? Or is this just poor housekeeping by the employees?

I have read that Soy based is one of the cleaner Types of Bio-Fuel compared to, lets say, animal tallow or WVO. As for any noticeable difference in mileage or performance, I would have thought I would see some increase in lubricity and thought the injectors had quieted down some. I did not add Power Service Diesel-Kleen (silver bottle) to this tank which is my standard practice with Dino. Don't you think I will see some additional level of fuel system "cleaning" with B11 ?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's still not correct if the pump is dispensing more then 4.99 that content by law must be posted. Regardless there is a tremendous negative stigma for Bio-diesel in the Tri-State area (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana) and the surrounding states from 2006 when everyone tried B50 and B100 which plugged filters everywhere as it cleaned their systems out.

As for the dirty pump diesel fuel itself has contaminants in tiny amounts (metals, sulfur, etc) that do not evaporate. Bio and petroleum are the same in that regard. The current 15 ppm sulfur limit is on of the reasons most people lube their injectors as the sulfur was the sacrificial metal or lubricating metal just as lead was once upon a time in gasoline. So your question would bio evaporate more slowly? The answer is no if its ASTM 6751 (the Bio Fuel standard) it would evaporate about the same rate. So a few things could be going on. Here's my first guess: Bio-diesel is quite corrosive to seals that are not compatible with it. So if they are blending B11 in the tank it would be fine, however, if they are blending it in the pump with straight B100 coming in they may have the wrong seals and it could be leaking. This is the same reason you don't run B100 in your fuel system till your sure it can handle it. Next guess would be just what you said poor house keeping.

So the ASTM 6751 is the standard for Bio. And BQ9000 is an ISO 9000 rip off for the quality standard of Bio Diesel. There are only 9 Plants in the US that hold that cert (meaning they have a quality program, get audited, etc) so if the bio supplied did not come from one of those plants there is always a chance its off spec.

At B11 there is not enough bio to see the changes you are looking for. 11% just isn't enough in most cases. This is also effected by what kind of Bio is mixed. While Soy is the prettiest bio (bright yellow) it is the worst performer in terms of Cetane and lubricity. So while I'm sure it was cleaning it a little that concentration is so low I'd expect you'd notice no change at all. Most of my data will come from my 2014 Ford which did not quiet down till B30 blend but I can share my experiences with out fleet and a few employees running it as well. Our fuel delivery trucks have Cummings diesels (Ford) all mid 90's they were at B50 before you could hear a change in the engine. These trucks are old enough they love the stuff. The small cummings in the Dodge pickups takes higher levels also same as my ford. While the Duramax being an Isuzu quieted right down at B20.
 

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^^^^IronRaptor^^^^

Thanks for ALLl of this very useful information. I reallly appreciate the thoroughness of your responses.

Cheers
 
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