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A Biodiesel Blend Handling Guide

A puBlicAtion of tHe:

Minnesota Biodiesel technical cold Weather issues team Handling Subcommittee
Hoon Ge, MEG Corp - Chair John Scharffbillig, Minneapolis Public Works Fleet Services Chuck Ahlberg, Metro Transit Emily Clark, Donaldson Company Inc.

A Biodiesel Blend Handling Guide

Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel made fromdomestic, renewable resources. In Minnesota it is made primarily from soybean oil, but it can also be made from other vegetable oils, recycled frying oils and animal fats. The term ‘biodiesel’ refers to the pure, unblended fuel and is referred to as B100; in this document, ‘diesel’ refers to all petroleum-based diesel fuel. Like petroleum diesel, before biodiesel is accepted into the fueldistribution system, it must meet strict quality standards to ensure trouble-free performance (as required by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Biodiesel Specification, D6751). Unprocessed, raw vegetable oils and animal fats are NOT biodiesel — they can cause deposits and engine damage, cannot be used to meet Minnesota’s biodiesel requirements and are not registered fuels approved bythe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended with petroleum diesel in any percentage. Biodiesel blends from 2 percent to 20 percent can be used in most diesel equipment with no or minor modifications. Biodiesel blends are indicated by a “B” with a number following the “B” that represents the percentage of biodiesel in a gallon of fuel. Theremainder of the gallon can be No. 1 diesel, No. 2 diesel, kerosene or heating oil. Biodiesel blends higher than B20 require special handling and may require equipment modifications. These issues can be managed but because of the special handling required, higher level blends are not recommended except in cases where human exposure to diesel particulate matter (PM) is high and health concernsmerit the additional attention to equipment and handling (e.g., underground mining). Diesel engines are a large and growing segment of our transportation fleet. The EPA’s recent mandate to drastically reduce sulfur content in diesel is expected to result in quieter, smoother running engines that are actually cleaner than gasoline engines. The greater efficiency of diesel engines and higher energycontent of diesel fuel promises a more economical source of transportation power for all vehicles. This could all result in a greater number of diesel engines used in light trucks and passenger vehicles. As diesel fuel is poised for greater usage in the U.S. transportation fleet, it is appropriate that federal policy includes the commercialization of renewable alternatives. One alternative that isready for the market is biodiesel. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that the United States use 500 million gallons of biodiesel in 2009 with incremental increases to 1 billion gallons in 2012. In September 2005, Minnesota became the first state to implement a biodiesel mandate of B2, meaning that virtually all diesel sold in Minnesota contains 2 percent biodiesel and 98percent petroleum diesel. On May 1, 2009 this mandate will increase to B5 (5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent biodiesel). After tracking many consumer and industry events, a pattern of problems surfaced and various solutions were identified. It is the goal of this publication to outline some of these common and uncommon problems, provide possible solutions and recommend handling and use guidelines thathave been found to help, reduce or eliminate problems. Minnesota Laws for 2008 chapter 297, Article 1, Section 68 required the Commissioners of Agriculture and Commerce to consult with a broad range of stakeholders who are technical experts in cold weather biodiesel and petroleum diesel issues. The goal of this consultation was to make recommendations regarding improvements in the production,...
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