Biodiesel Blending, Storage and Quality Control
Getting the most out of your investment in biodiesel.
There are so many benefits to fueling up with biodiesel. To make sure you experience them in your operation, here are some tips to help maximize the performance of the biodiesel you buy.
Tips for blending biodiesel in cold weather.
First, it’s important to know the cold weather specifications for both your base diesel fuel and biodiesel before blending. Then, follow these guidelines:
- Always blend biodiesel with petroleum diesel with both fuels at least 10º F above their respective cloud points. The warmer the biodiesel, the better it will blend. A blending temperature of 70º F or higher is ideal.
- If pumping biodiesel in cold weather through a conventional fuel pump, keep the hose and supply line to the pump equally protected with heat.
- In-line blending ensures the best mixing.
- If in-line blending for loading trucks is not available in cold weather, first add half of the diesel — warm if possible — then add warm biodiesel at high pressure and volume to enhance thorough mixing. Follow by adding the other half of the diesel.
- Avoid introducing biodiesel directly into a cold and empty tank.
Handle all blends of biodiesel as you would any diesel fuel.
The cloud point of the biodiesel blend will determine the storage temperature of the fuel.
- Store at the proper temperature. For biodiesel blended fuels up to 30% biodiesel, heated and insulated tanks are not typically needed — except in extremely cold climates. It is recommended that B100/B99 be stored in heated and insulated tanks.
- Take extra precautions in extreme cold. Above-ground storage and handling systems — including pipes, tanks and pumping equipment — should be protected with insulation, agitation, heating systems or other measures if temperatures regularly fall below the cloud point.
Simple steps to ensure your biodiesel maintains quality after delivery.
After you have purchased quality biodiesel from an accredited producer, there are steps you can take to maintain product quality — and it starts with clean tanks. Clean tanks are critical both for your business and your customers.
- Clean, inspect and repair your tanks before filling with biodiesel blended fuel. Have older tanks cleaned professionally to remove particles and deposits that might contaminate the fuel supply.
- Keep storage tanks and fuel systems water-free at all times. Water can promote fuel system corrosion and microbial growth, which can compromise fuel quality.
- Monitor hoses, fills, vents and gaskets for leaks.
- Check tanks monthly for water by obtaining a tank bottom sample. A sample should be taken before and after every fuel delivery — especially if fuel is not delivered frequently
A customer’s words: Why clean tanks are important
Over time, petroleum diesel fuels can accumulate water, sediment and contaminants. Clean-burning biodiesel acts as a solvent that naturally cleans the materials left behind in petroleum fuel tanks. These materials then contaminate the biodiesel, which can lead to plugged fuel filters and other quality issues. It’s not the biodiesel that’s the problem — it’s the petroleum diesel contaminants. That’s why it’s critical to have clean tanks and clean transfer tanks, to keep the biodiesel clean.
Energy Management Specialist, Ag-Land FS, Inc.
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