Biodiesel Myths

Author The Biodiesel Kits Guide    Category Biodiesel Kits Basics     Tags ,

MYTH #1: Biodiesel will ruin your engine.

As long as your vehicle has a diesel engine, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be fine running on biodiesel without modification. The myth that biodiesel will ruin your engine is based on a few things. Many vehicles made before 1990 have natural rubber compounds that biodiesel is thought to degrade over time. Using lower blends of biodiesel decrease the chance that this will happen. In addition, this problem does not occur with all older vehicles and many people find that biodiesel works just fine even with pre-1990 trucks and cars.

Another reason for this claim is that due to biodeisel’s solvent properties, it will clean out sludge in older fuel lines. This can be a problem because if you have a lot of sludge in your fuel tank, it the fuel filter could potentially clog. This problem is not very common and can be solved easily by having an extra fuel filter and learning how to change it yourself.

MYTH #2: Using Biodiesel leads to a decrease in power.

The fact is that using a B20 blend is almost the same as regular diesel. There have been many on-road tests proving that the difference in power between vehicles running on B20 and those running on regular diesel is indistinguishable. When using a B100 blend, there may be a slight difference in the fuel mileage but not in torque or power.

Biodiesel has been tested in tractors, heavy machinery and larch trucks without a noticeable difference in power.

MYTH #3: Biodiesel doesn’t work in cold weather.

There is no doubt about it that there are issues with biodiesel in cold weather. Certain blends will gel at very cold temperatures. This problem can be dealt with without too much difficulty as biodiesel is used in vehicles and machines in extremely cold places such as ski resorts!

Different blends can be used as the temperature drops. In temperatures above 40ºF (4ºC) B100 can generally be used without a problem. In colder temperatures, lower blends can be used. For example, if the temperature is between 20-40ºF (-7ºC – 4ºC), it is recommended to B50. If you will be using biodiesel in below 20ºF (-7ºC) weather, B20 should be just fine.

In addition, many products are available that allow you to heat your fuel system. These products can prevent clogging and allow you to use your fuel of choice all year around…even B100!

If for some reason you find yourself unexpectedly in very cold temperatures and the biodiesel does wind up gelling, there’s no need to panic. Your engine will not be ruined, rather it will shut off because the fuel filter will clog. You will just have to wait until it gets a bit warmer.

MYTH #4: There is no quality control with Biodiesel.

The ASTM 6751 is a set standard that determines whether or not the biodiesel is legit. Although many people use homebrews, anyone who is buying from a biodiesel pump does not have much to worry about. In addition, the National Biodiesel Board has a  list of recognized distributors (the BQ- 9000). Ironically, many people worry about the quality of biodiesel whereas regular diesel does not have nearly as much quality control.

Myth #5: The government doesn’t support development of a biodiesel industry.

In January 2001 a program was providing was passed by the US Department of Agriculture to produce 36 million gallons of biodiesel. In 2003, bills were introduced in the US Congress that were in support of biodiesel including a bill that would give biodiesel a partial fuel tax exemption. Many states have passed legislation in favor of biodiesel and continue to do so. Due to government mandates, the US Military and national parks use biodiesel extensively.

In Canada, biodiesel use is also supported by the government. Road tax exceptions are provided for biodiesel and an increase in biodiesel use is called for in the “Climate Action Plans”.

There are many more myths about Biodiesel. Which ones have you heard?

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