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Old 02-05-2012, 14:02   #16
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Biodiesel has many beneficial properties and is definetly worth investigating however, it may have some significant drawbacks. Since most information on the product has been presented by organizations promoting it, one has to take a look at the other side of the coin.

(1) The principal issue is that biodiesel is a very aggressive solvent. Even USCG Type-A fuel hose is not completely immune. Some metals are also not recommended including copper alloys, common brass valves and fittings. Any spilled fuel will rapidly attack paint on engines, bilges, etc. Rubber engine mounts will be affected. On deck it will attack paint and bedding compounds, gelcoat, acrylic hatches and boat shoe soles. It appears that it may also affect fiberglass tanks if they are not specially coated. It certainly will dissolve and mobilize old scum and deposits in the fuel system.

(2) Newer engines with all Viton seals and gaskets can probably use it. Older engines are probably questionable. If the fuel causes any problem, the engine manufacturer may not consider it a warranty issue - it is your problem.

(3) Biodiesel is hygroscopic (absorbs water) and perhaps more subject to bacterial action. Biodegradability in the environment is one of its strong points but not good if it happens in your tank. There is not much information on long term storage in a typical pleasure boat environment, i.e. fuel sitting in a hot, humid tank for months and sometimes years. Commercial users and probably most automobiles do not have this problem.

What The engine Manufacturers have to Say


Detroit Diesel "Lubricating Oil, Fuel and Filters"

5.1.4 BIODIESEL FUELS Biodiesel fuels are alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from renewable resources. Biodiesel fuels must meet ASTM Specification D 6751. Biodiesel meeting the D 6751 specifications can be blended up to 20% maximum by volume in diesel fuel. The resulting mixture must meet the fuel properties listed in Table 5-1. Failures attributed to the use of biodiesel will not be covered by Detroit Diesel product warranty. The following quotation is extracted from World-Wide Fuel Charter - Draft for comments - June 2002, page 46 for reference and guidance:" Based on the technical effects of FAME [Fatty Acid Methyl Esters], it is strongly advised that FAME content be restricted to less than 5%. As a pure fuel, or at higher levels in diesel fuel, the vehicles need to be adapted to the fuel, and particular care is needed to avoid problems."

Cummins: "Biodiesel: Frequently Asked Questions"

Cummins test data on the operating effects of biodiesel fuels indicates that typically smoke, power, and fuel economy are all reduced. However, as there are no firm industry standards on the content and properties for bio fuels, consistency and predictability of biodiesel operation is not well documented. Biodiesel provides approximately 5-7% less energy per gallon of fuel when compared to distillate fuels. To avoid engine problems when the engine is converted back to 100% distillate diesel fuel, do not change the engine rating to compensate for the power loss when operated with biodiesel fuels. Elastomer compatibility with bio diesel is still being monitored. The condition of seals, hoses, gaskets, and wire coatings should be monitored regularly. Cummins certifies its engines using the prescribed EPA and European Certification Fuels. Cummins does not certify engines on any other fuel. It is the user's responsibility to use the correct fuel as recommended by the manufacturer and allowed by EPA or other local regulatory agencies. In the United States, the EPA allows use of only registered fuels for on-highway applications. The EPA has additional alternative fuel information at Alternative Fuel Conversion | Cars and Light Trucks | US EPA


Ford Motor Company says

Fuels containing no more than 5% biodiesel may be used in Ford diesel powered vehicles. Consistent with WWFC (World-Wide Fuel Charter) category 1-3, "Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) used in commercial fuel must meet both the EN 14214 and ASTM D 6751 specifications". There are still some unresolved technical concerns with the use of biodiesel at concentration greater than 5%. Some of the concerns are: Requires special care at low temperatures to avoid excessive rise in viscosity and loss of fluidity Storage is a problem due to higher then normal risk of microbial contamination due to water absorption as well as a higher rate of oxidation stability which creates insoluble gums and sediment deposits, Being hygroscopic, the fuel tends to have increased water content, which increases the risk of corrosion. Biodiesel tends to cause higher engine deposit formations The methyl esters in biodiesel fuel may attack the seals and composite materials used in vehicle fuel systems and it may attack certain metals such as zinc, copper based alloys, cast iron, tin, lead, cobalt, and manganese It is an effective solvent, and can act as a paint stripper, whilst it will tend to loosen deposits in the bottom of fuel tanks of vehicles previously run on mineral diesel. Ford believes that it is unlikely that the emission benefits of biodiesel will be sufficient to achieve Tier 2 emission standards with out catalysts and particulate filters.


From - Caterpillar

CAT neither " approves nor prohibits" the use of biodiesel however, any failures that result from the use of any fuel are not covered by any warranty.

And more from a company who sells Biodiesel......

CytoCulture Environmental Biotechnology

(This company sells biodiesel for marine outlets in California

The oxygenated methyl esters of vegetable oil cause Biodiesel to have surprisingly strong solvent properties with respect to natural rubber and several soft plastics. As a result, old rubber fuel lines and some seals or gaskets on fuel tanks may slowly deteriorate in the presence of higher concentrations of Biodiesel. Fortunately, few of these solvent effects are noticed at a B-20 blend, and most of the problems associated with the solvent effects occurred with boats using 100% neat Biodiesel. [ Do "few" and "most" imply that there are some problems ?]

When fuel lines or gaskets are affected, they usually get sticky over time and soften or swell, causing fuel to drip from connections. In one case, the rubber fuel line between the primary filter and the fuel pump on a Yanmar sailboat engine became tacky, but did not leak, after 4 years of operating on 100% Biodiesel. The best solution is to replace affected lines and gaskets with modern synthetic hoses and seals.

In bench top studies conducted at CytoCulture, the Trident hose proved to be resistant to neat Biodiesel over a period of months, although the hose did absorb Biodiesel and swell slightly (tightens under hose clamps). With 20% blends, there have been no reports of any problems with these new fuel hoses.

Studies conducted for the National Biodiesel Board on the materials compatibility of Biodiesel concluded that the only hose and gasket material that was truly resistant to the solvent effects of methyl esters was Viton. Viton fuel hoses (Goodyear) can be special ordered for boats (usually expensive at over $5.00/ft for 5/16" line)

In a survey, 5% of the boaters reported minor problems with the Biodiesel if they spilled it on decks, on their engine or into their bilges. The solvent properties of the esters in Biodiesel can loosen old paint on engines or on painted surfaces in the bilge. Besides staining raw wood surfaces, Biodiesel is particularly harmful to teak decks with polysulfide seams (use extra caution when filling tanks via deck ports). Biodiesel could also harm rubber engine mounts if it were spilled and not cleaned up immediately.

Biodiesel can be stored for long periods of time in closed containers with little air space. The containers should be protected from weather, direct sunlight and low temperatures. Avoid long term storage in partly filled containers, particularly in damp locations like dock boxes (or boats ?). Condensation in the container can contribute to the long term deterioration of petroleum diesel or biodiesel.

As mentioned earlier, the addition of Biodiesel to a dirty fuel tank can accelerate the release of accumulated slime. When the boat is then used after sitting idle for a long period of time, the newly suspended sediment can accumulate and potentially clog the fuel filters.
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Old 02-05-2012, 14:20   #17
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Cummins does not recommend it for their marine diesels.
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Old 02-05-2012, 15:54   #18
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

This is the very reason I chose my auto engine to convert to marine use because its a peugeot, A French car engine with an impecable heritage and designed for burning all diesels, veg oil, heating oil, all with no further modifications to the standard factory set up
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Old 02-05-2012, 17:37   #19
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Re: Biodiesel: Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
I'd bet that 2% and 5% biodiesel fuel is at a lot of marinas and not always marked. These low biodiesel blends are widely used and usually cheaper than straight diesel. In my experience, most marina's buy fuel based soley on price. And even when they are picky, they have no way to check what fuel actually gets delivered.

Carl
If CarlF is right, then I'll need to rectify my new tank epoxy without delay. Does anyone have any ideas on how to verify if bio is already blended in what everyone assumes is regular diesel?
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Old 02-05-2012, 18:22   #20
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Originally Posted by Exile

If CarlF is right, then I'll need to rectify my new tank epoxy without delay. Does anyone have any ideas on how to verify if bio is already blended in what everyone assumes is regular diesel?
I wouldn't worry about B5, it's not enough to cause any immediate issues with your tank. 5% is a great blend, it more than makes up for the lubrication lost when they switch to ULSD, but not enough to freak out all the manufactures who are terrified of change.
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Old 02-05-2012, 19:33   #21
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

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I wouldn't worry about B5, it's not enough to cause any immediate issues with your tank. 5% is a great blend, it more than makes up for the lubrication lost when they switch to ULSD, but not enough to freak out all the manufactures who are terrified of change.
According to the Devoe Epoxy Co., I should be terrified of B-"1". Again, my inquiry is not about biodiesel generally or whether it's OK or not for marine diesel engines, but rather whether it will eat through my epoxy liner. Since your family is in the fuel business, do you know whether B-5 or any other bio blend is in the pipelines or already at our pumps? Do you guys have any experience with customers or others using bio in fiberglass tanks, on boats or otherwise? According to the mfg., even small concentrations of the stuff will eat through the "Devoe 236" that was used, but will not harm "Dev-Chem 253." If the correct tank liner is used & Westerbeke says my lines, hoses, gaskets & fittings are compatible with B-5, then no worries, right? By contrast, if the bio eats through the epoxy, compromises the tank itself, and leaks into the bilges & then the ocean or bay, we haven't exactly scored one for the environment -- agreed?!
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Old 02-05-2012, 19:41   #22
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Biodiesel has been documented to be more biodegradeable and thus slightly more prone to infection. Less a problem in dry-land applications, were the fuel is turned over every week (on boats this could be months) and were the humidity is lower (most marinas see heavy dew and low level fog nightly, as the wate ris often warmer than the air).

I've done the bug testing; yup, it's true. Truck, yes, boat no. Not worth any risk, specifically because any cost advantage is subsidy, and any global warming argument is fabricated.
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Old 02-05-2012, 20:01   #23
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Exile.

You question got me wondering. I found the following after a few minutes of searching:

Actually, there’s a good chance that you're already running a B5 biodiesel blend in your diesel engine because federal law allows for biodiesel to be blended up to 5% without being reported.

So, unless there a different rules for boats (not likely), they don't even have to tell the marina if there's 5% biodiesel in the delivery. If the epoxy specs are not just the result of some lawyer worrying, seems like you better get it fixed.

Carl
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Old 02-05-2012, 20:11   #24
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

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Exile.

You question got me wondering. I found the following after a few minutes of searching:

Actually, there’s a good chance that you're already running a B5 biodiesel blend in your diesel engine because federal law allows for biodiesel to be blended up to 5% without being reported.

So, unless there a different rules for boats (not likely), they don't even have to tell the marina if there's 5% biodiesel in the delivery. If the epoxy specs are not just the result of some lawyer worrying, seems like you better get it fixed.

Carl
Do you have a link?
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Old 02-05-2012, 20:41   #25
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Biodiesel | Biotane Fuels
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Old 02-05-2012, 20:53   #26
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

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OK, good lead -- thanks. I'll try and chase down what Federal law they're referring to and report any results. It sounds like I'm looking at a tank redo.
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Old 02-05-2012, 21:38   #27
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

This looks to be the source of the Federal law referred to in CarlF's recent post. In 2008, the FTC required labeling of biodiesel fuels, but only blends containing 5% or more. Thus, blends that contain less than 5% bio are exempt from labeling. This exemption, combined with all of the fed & state subsidies, tax incentives, and mandates, means there is a good chance that bio is already at the pumps and in our tanks whether we want it or not. Even if it is not already there, it's a safe bet that it will be in the near future. Meanwhile, the EPA is frantically trying to decipher the implications for underground storage tanks, and of course getting ready to impose new mandates for tanks that have proven entirely suitable for decades holding petro-based fuels. Once again, the law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head . . . .

Thanks for the tip, CarlF, even though it's likely bad news for my boat's new fuel tank.

http://www.agi.state.al.us/uploads/9...elResource.pdf

Commission Approves Federal Register Notice Announcing Final Amendments to Automotive Fuel Ratings
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Old 02-05-2012, 21:55   #28
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Biodiesel is problematic for marine and automotive engines that use rubber hoses, gaskets, and seals in areas that make contact with the fuel. Methanol is used in the production of biodiesel; and through the washing process (which is a critical step in the manufacturing process), the methanol should technically be "washed" away. This isn't always the case. Methanol tens to lurk in the fuel and over time can damage the rubber. Rubber also hardens when exposed to vegetable oil and oil esters over a prolonged period.

Biodiesel friendly engines do not use rubber in areas that make contact with fuel. Rather, they use a polyelastomer such as Viton. You can buy Viton hoses, gaskets (or at least gasket material) and retrofit most older engines, but it usually involves getting into the injector pump...which isn't always practical or cost effective.

It is also a magnet for bacteria and yeast. Biocide additives should address that issue.

Personally, I would stay away from it. I have a Perkins 4.108, and have no intention of retrofitting the engine with Viton so it can run a more expensive and lower energy yield fuel. It's a no-brainer!

If you find biodiesel at fuel docks, it is most likely to be blended with Diesel. You can use it until you get to a fuel dock with real Diesel.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:29   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile

According to the Devoe Epoxy Co., I should be terrified of B-"1". Again, my inquiry is not about biodiesel generally or whether it's OK or not for marine diesel engines, but rather whether it will eat through my epoxy liner. Since your family is in the fuel business, do you know whether B-5 or any other bio blend is in the pipelines or already at our pumps? Do you guys have any experience with customers or others using bio in fiberglass tanks, on boats or otherwise? According to the mfg., even small concentrations of the stuff will eat through the "Devoe 236" that was used, but will not harm "Dev-Chem 253." If the correct tank liner is used & Westerbeke says my lines, hoses, gaskets & fittings are compatible with B-5, then no worries, right? By contrast, if the bio eats through the epoxy, compromises the tank itself, and leaks into the bilges & then the ocean or bay, we haven't exactly scored one for the environment -- agreed?!
We're a Canadian company, so I wouldn't know about the US pipeline. In our area all gasoline may contain up to 10% ethanol and they certainly do not advertise this. I do know for a fact that our particular pipeline that we use has not started with biodiesel blends yet.

I suggest calling local commercial fuel suppliers, they would know for sure. They're daily fuel price update should indicate what the specifics of each fuel is.

We fill many furnace oil tanks that are fiberglass, these tanks are safe for all blends of biofuel, but I'm not familiar with your type of tank unfortunately.

The manufacturer would know, but my guess is that they're being a little over protected about the lower % blends.

I certainly understand your concern though, peace of mind is everything at sea.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:57   #30
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Re: Biodiesel - Coming To A Fuel Dock Near You??

Exile,

Two years ago I saw a truck delivering fuel to a marina in RI. The truck's whole tank was painted with a picture of cows grazing in a pasture. I wondered "What's a milk truck doing here?"

I asked the marina manager if it was bio-diesel and he said something to the effect of "I didn't order bio-diesel"

Carl
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