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rwidman 09-04-2012 02:51 PM

Biodiesel Fuel
I was reading a magazine the other night and I came upon an article on biodiesel for boats. The author seemed to think that biodiesel, at least blends, was the marine fuel of the future. This was fuel made from soy beans, not recycled restaurant frying grease. When I put the magazine down, I noticed that it was several years old.

I haven't seen biodiesel advertised in my area, either for marine use or vehicle use so it appears it hasn't taken the industry by storm as the author predicted.

There was a study published that I read somewhere that rated a 2% addition of biodiesel to standard diesel fuel as one of the best diesel fuel additives available.

So the question is, has anybody seen biodiesel blends in their area? Is anybody on this forum actually using a biodiesel blend in his or her boat? If so, any improvements, changes, or problems associated with biodiesel?

Portuguese 09-04-2012 04:07 PM

Hello RON

In Brazil we already have automotive biodiesel mixed 8% with the normal Diesel. The word is that nest year, all diesel will be mixed including the marine fuel. We'll see where all this will go. Remember that Brazil has been using ethanol for more than 20 years now. Today, our domestic car industry is mostly comfortable with hybrid gas/ethanol and newcomers, basically Japanese and Koreans are already bringing in hybrid models of the same mode. I have come across biodiesel public transportation buses. The only difference is that they smell like the back of a McDonalds restaurant, they smell like old French fries.

There are no registered complains that I know of.
Let's wait and see

El Sea 09-04-2012 05:05 PM

Checkout : Alternative Fuels Data Center: Biodiesel Blends

We have cleaned tanks for FDOT and they really don't like BioDiesel but hey have to use it, gov mandated!

Larry M 09-04-2012 05:10 PM

Colombia's diesel is said to be 15% bio-diesel. The local boats haven't said one way or the other but there is an influx of fuel polishing companies there. If you read the literature, it says you're OK to use a blend but the shelf life is not what I think we are all use to. If I had a choice, I wouldn't put it in my tanks and that is what I hear from the marine diesel engine people.

Bendit 09-04-2012 05:20 PM

Here in NZ we have fuel available with 5% biodiesel.
My experience is that, although it's about 6% cheaper than straight diesel, we use about 10% more per hour at the same speed. Doesn't seem logical, I know, but I've checked it several times....anyone else?

psneeld 09-04-2012 05:31 PM

Couldn't find it quickly...there used to be an online map of biodiesel stations on the Chesapeake bay...there was something like 10-15 of them. I know there aren't too many in NJ.

It was popular with the Chesapeake sailing crowd but for many years was almost 2x as expensive...but what did they care they only bought a few gallons at a time...:D

The problem I think with biodiesel is that at concentrations above 10 percent like ethanol is destructive to certain engine parts (rubber, etc) and diesel engine manufacturers were really against it a few years back. However an independent fuel test for lubricity improvement noted a slight mix of biodiesel with regular diesel was a great mix.:thumb:

psneeld 09-04-2012 05:33 PM


Originally Posted by Bendit (Post 101748)
Here in NZ we have fuel available with 5% biodiesel.
My experience is that, although it's about 6% cheaper than straight diesel, we use about 10% more per hour at the same speed. Doesn't seem logical, I know, but I've checked it several times....anyone else?

I heard through the early reports that US biodiesel at 10% would result in a 5-10% increase in fuel consumption due to the stored energy difference.

Marin 09-04-2012 06:24 PM

Biodiesel use is on a rapid rise in China. There it is made from feedstocks that don't compete with food in terms of land, crops, or water. Their goal is to have all commercial aircraft in China flying on sustainable biofuel by the year 2030 and a good percentage of their trucks and diesel farm equipment run on biodiesel today.

Conversely, after a burst of interest in biofuel in the Puget Sound area the interest seems to have died away. There are people who " cook" their own for their own use but any efforts at large-scale production seem to have faded away. I've never met a boater who used it.

A friend bought a VW made for biodiesel and ran it that way for awhile. But biodiesel at the time was more expensive than other fuels and the places he could get it were few and a long ways away. So after a few months he gave up and switched to regular diesel.

In terms of commercial production the objectives in places like China, the Middle East, Australia, etc. seem to be near term feedstocks being trees like jatropha and soapberry as well as used cooking oil. The long term solution is algae.

Duvie 09-04-2012 08:22 PM

I heat my home using used vegetable oil in my modified boiler. The problem I see with biodiesel is that the cost for the material to make it has skyrocketed. I was paying 50 cents a gallon about two years ago for the vegetable and my latest purchase was $2.10 a gallon. The problems I have heard of also is that the bio tends to be a cleaning agent so using it in an older tank could prove problematic. I have also read that there can be issues with compatibility with various rubber parts and hoses. Lastly I think below about 40 degrees the strait bio will gel up.

Killick 09-04-2012 08:51 PM

We've been using a 15% bio blend for the past 7 years (in the PNW). Other than replacing one small section of old hose (most of the system is copper) we've had no issues. Power is a D330 Cat (circa 1970) with just under 10,000 hrs. A recent mechanical survey uncovered no problems. For the older diesels - bio adds lubricosity that's not present in the newer low sulpher blends. Highly recommended if you can find a good source. It's not cheap any more.

Rambler 09-04-2012 08:56 PM


Originally Posted by psneeld (Post 101752)
I heard through the early reports that US biodiesel at 10% would result in a 5-10% increase in fuel consumption due to the stored energy difference.

It looks like you're saying that if you mix 10% stuff in with the fuel, you burn 10% more of the fuel/stuff mixture to get the same energy.

So consumers are paying for the stuff that doesn't provide any measurable energy when (if?) it burns.

Is this like the "new and improved" cookie that has 50% fewer calories, but it's 50% smaller than the original cookie?

markpierce 09-04-2012 09:21 PM

Please, don't bring it here.

ben2go 09-04-2012 09:56 PM

Bio problems that I know of.

1)It can gel in temps as high as 50 degrees depending on what the bio is derived from.

2)Engines usually require a straight diesel header tank to start and warm the bio fuel through a liquid to liquid coil inside the tank(s).

3)Tank(s) either need to be replaced,or modified,to accept the previously mentioned liquid to liquid warming coil.Old tanks will need to be cleaned out.Bio will break down sludge an clog filters.

4)Filtration on the bio tanks will need to be compatible with bio.

5)Older rubber fuel lines will need to be replaced.Some fuel lines have a tendency to become soft and collapse under the suction of the injection pump's lift pump.This is prone to auto installs,so marine application maybe different.I should note that this is on vehicles running standard fuel hose not fuel injection rated hose.

This the only issues I have noticed from my friends installs on their off road trucks and older cars.I am planning to run a VW based I/O in my boat with a bio tank.Locally I have access to enough veggie oil to run straight waste veggie oil.It's basically run through a system similar to a fuel polisher.

FF 09-05-2012 05:19 AM

The States LOVE!!! Bio fuel and ethanol as you pay for 11 Gal to get 10 gal of fuel use.

And they tax by the gallon.

Biodiesel can cause problems , esp with old tanks as ALL the crap can come loose at one time.

Sadly the farm lobby loves burning food and ADS loves ethanol subsidies , so there here to stay.

Next down time its time to install those clean out plates in the diesel tanks.

Carry a case of filters and learn how to prime your engines.

Gulfstar 36 09-05-2012 08:40 AM

Here is what I have found after running it up to 99% in my 2000 VW TDI.

1. Your 10% loss in consumption if figured on a 99% mix. I saw this in real world in my car going from 48 MPG to 42-43MPG.

2. B10 does not gel at 50f, B20 is safe to about 20-30f. B99 will gel at 58 or so.

3. B99 will scrub your tanks. Running this blend carry a case of filters with you. B10 and B20 not as much but be aware.

3. Any blend of Bio will add lubricity, good news for older engines not built for ULS.

4. B99 smells funny when burnt.

rwidman 09-05-2012 09:30 AM

As usual, we have some pretty conflicting stories here.

I like the idea of the increased lubricity since the government has mandated ULS fuel with its decreased lubricity and I have an older engine not specifically designed for ULS. I think I would consider using 2% biodiesel for that reason, possibly even 5%. Or I would use small quantities of pure biodiesel as an additive. I just can't remember seeing it around here anywhere, water or road.

Gulfstar 36 09-05-2012 10:13 AM

Good info here.
Biodiesel - America's first advanced biofuel!

Nomad Willy 09-05-2012 12:29 PM

For lubricity why not just add a bit of 2 stroke OB oil?
Seems to me there's a downside to that.

rwidman 09-05-2012 01:07 PM

I think this is the study I read a while back:

Lubricity Additive Study Results - Diesel Place : Chevrolet and GMC Diesel Truck Forums

Of course, we don't know the qualifications of the people and equipment involved so we don't know how reliable it is.

Daddyo 09-05-2012 01:16 PM

We ran 20% bio in our previous boat and the Lehman seemed to love it. Ran smoother with less smoke and fumes. No problems with our old tanks. I like the stuff a lot. We would by it from the trucks so it was fresh.

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