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Biodiesel is a biofuel produced from various feedstocks including vegetable oils (such as oilseed, rapeseed and soy bean), animal fats or algae. Biodiesel can be blended with diesel for use in diesel engine vehicles. The blending of biodiesel to reduce the need for importing of crude oil is being encouraged by many goverments.

These blends are referred to by the percentage of biodiesel used. For example B-10 is 10% biodiesel and 90% petroleum based diesel. B-100 is pure biodiesel. The introduction of biodiesel to a fuel supply system raises a number of issues that may need to be addressed.

  1. Will biodiesel in proposed blend void any equipment warranties? Some equipment manufacturers will not warrant equipment fueled by biodiesel.
  2. Will the government regulator overseeing fuel system require re-permitting? Generally speaking, regulators have viewed B-10 and lower as an "additive" to the fuel and, therefore, not a change in product dispensed. Above B-10 regulators may view it as a change in product requiring a new permit application [with permitting fees]. Getting submittals from equipment manufacturers that their products are compatible with biodiesel can be problematic. Manufacturers may refuse to declare compatibility; state compatibility up to a certain percentage [ie for b-10 or less] or may issue a statement of total compatibilty to B-100. Without compatibility statements, regulators may be reluctant to permit a change of product.
  3. What will biodiesel be used to fuel? Biodiesel has a shorter "shelf life" than traditional petroleum diesel and is generally not recommended as a fuel source for emergency equipment such as generators or fire pumps.
  4. What is biodiesel? The feedstock used to produce biodiesel may affect how the fuel performs, amount of particulate emmissions produced, fuel economy and durability of equipment fueled. Currently, biodiesel is not generally defined by as strict a standard as traditional diesel fuel. Since components of biodiesel can vary, so can the resulting experience of using it.
  5. What can I expect after switching to biodiesel? Since biodiesel is more detergent than traditional diesel fuel, expect more frequent filter changes in the beginning. Filters for the fuel dispensing sytem, engine fuel and oil filters may need more frequent changing until all components have adjusted.