Biodiesel: A Tried and Trusted American Fuel

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel that can be manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. It is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum diesel fuel.

Biodiesel is a liquid fuel often referred to as B100 or neat biodiesel in its pure, unblended form. Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel is used to fuel compression-ignition engines, which run on petroleum diesel. See the table for biodiesel’s physical characteristics.

How well biodiesel performs in cold weather depends on the blend of biodiesel. The smaller the percentage of biodiesel in the blend, the better it performs in cold temperatures. Regular No. 2 diesel and B5 perform about the same in cold weather.

Fleets across Indiana and the US run biodiesel fuel year round in their on and off road fleets. Yellowstone National Parks run biodiesel in everything from visitor shuttles to off road equipment.

The following is a mechanics experiences and view point on biodiesel.

Case Study – Mechanics View on Biodiesel
Scott Balding, Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor, Wabash Valley College located in Mt. Carmel, Illinois

Scott Balding is a third-generation technician and has been working with diesel engines for about 34 years. During this time he has witnessed significant change in engine technologies and today he leads the diesel equipment technology department at Wabash Valley College in Mt Carmel, Illinois.

His main responsibility is to educate and train young men and women about diesel technology and fuels, helping to prepare them for a career in diesel equipment technicians. On average Balding has between 35 and 40 students learning about diesel engines used in the agriculture, construction and trucking industries.

One area of focus for his students is the use of biodiesel in diesel engines.

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel that can be manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. It is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum diesel fuel.

Biodiesel is a liquid fuel often referred to as B100 or neat biodiesel in its pure, unblended form. Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel is used to fuel compression-ignition engines, which run on petroleum diesel. See the table for biodiesel’s physical characteristics.

How well biodiesel performs in cold weather depends on the blend of biodiesel. The smaller the percentage of biodiesel in the blend, the better it performs in cold temperatures. Regular No. 2 diesel and B5 perform about the same in cold weather.

Fleets across Indiana and the US run biodiesel fuel year round in their on and off road fleets. Yellowstone National Parks run biodiesel in everything from visitor shuttles to off road equipment.

The following is a mechanics experiences and view point on biodiesel.

Case Study – Mechanics View on Biodiesel
Scott Balding, Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor, Wabash Valley College located in Mt. Carmel, Illinois

Scott Balding is a third-generation technician and has been working with diesel engines for about 34 years. During this time he has witnessed significant change in engine technologies and today he leads the diesel equipment technology department at Wabash Valley College in Mt Carmel, Illinois.

His main responsibility is to educate and train young men and women about diesel technology and fuels, helping to prepare them for a career in diesel equipment technicians. On average Balding has between 35 and 40 students learning about diesel engines used in the agriculture, construction and trucking industries.

One area of focus for his students is the use of biodiesel in diesel engines.

“At first many of the engine manufacturers approached biodiesel with caution,” says Balding. “However, as the biodiesel industry adopted ASTM specifications and minimum quality standards, the engine manufacturers have embraced biodiesel.”

There are myths in the industry suggesting that using biodiesel leads to filter plugging. According to Balding, that myth has some truth, but must be taken in context. In 30 plus years working on diesel engines, Balding sees one reoccurring issue when it comes to diesel fuel – cleanliness.

“Diesel is a dirty fuel and after years of use build up will occur in storage tanks and the engine fuel system,” says Balding. “Biodiesel has solvent properties and will remove this buildup. Farmers need to realize that their fuel storage and equipment tanks must be clean and they need to change filters on a regular basis. Once the transition to biodiesel blended fuel is complete, then your system is clean and you can return to a regular maintenance schedule as recommended by your engine manufacturer.”

Balding is a biodiesel proponent and is hopeful that when his students graduate they will have a solid understanding of the many benefits of biodiesel. He wants them to be aware of biodiesel – not be scared of it – and carry that message out into the industry.

“This young group of technicians is more accepting of biodiesel than some technicians that have been in the industry for decades,” says Balding. “That‘s the same with any technology change. It’s time to ignore the myths – that’s all they are myths – and embrace biodiesel for what it is … a good fuel that is good for our environment and economy.”

Biodiesel Case Study Search : http://www.afdc.energy.gov/case