Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable and low CO2 fuel with benign tail pipe emissions. In the Pacific Northwest, B99 was the fuel of choice for dozens of fleets.

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage? 150 150 Star Oilco

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage?

Here’s good advice if you are relying on diesel as a back up fuel in the Pacific NW.

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Now is the time to refill and treat your back up fuel tanks.

Diesel as a back up fuel

Quite a bit of our business at Star Oilco is fueling back-up generators, emergency water pumps, refrigerated trailers and other long term off-road diesel storage requirements. In the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel blending is required by state laws and you need to take an extra duty of care when storing diesel as a back-up fuel.

This means that most off-road diesels and heating oils are ultra low sulfur diesel containing a small quantity of biodiesel.  That means long term storage requires a proactive approach.  You can’t just hope and wait to see what the fuel begins to look after years of storage.

Technical advice from Government Fleet Magazine to help you with storing diesel fuel.

Here is an article from Government Fleet Magazine on the subject which runs through the specifics of long term storage and what causes fuel to degrade when stored.  Government Fleet Magazine – How to Maintain Stored Diesel Fuel.

Star Oilco has also worked up a PDF check list on how to verify if your fuel is in need of freshening or is still in emergency ready shape.  If you are a customer of ours, we will deliver a laminated card version to keep next to your back up generator. If you are not a customer (or outside of our service area) drop us a message below and we will gladly email you the PDF.

For our customers, we recommend that you check the tank bottom fuel quality on an annual basis to make sure the product looks good. If the tank has sat for years and is dark in color (good diesel is bright and transparent – you will notice if it is in bad shape), we recommend pumping the tank out at least partially and replacing with fresh fuel. Often you can also hugely improve the quality of the fuel by polishing the fuel. Polishing is when you circulate fuel from the bottom of the tank through a pump, filter repeatedly in order to remove any sediment or growth from the fuel, and then place this fuel back in the same tank.

Look at your fuel for a bright and clear color.

For stored fuel, you also want to make sure it is stabilized and contains a biocide. Stabilizers prevent the oxidation of the fuel and prevent the effect of metals like lead, copper and zinc, which can react and degrade fuel. For heating oil systems with a return line, for instance, the fuel is flowing through a copper line to the furnace and then back to the tank in a return line.

Use additives designed to prolong the life of your emergency diesel fuel.

Biocides prevent the growth of biological activity in the tank. In scenarios whcontaminated_dieselere micro-organisms like algae, bacteria, yeasts, and other bugs are growing in your fuel, biocides can kill this growth. It is still important to remove the residual grit and other contaminants that are the hallmark of bugs growing in your tank. Usually you remove them by filtration or total turn over of the fuel. If your tank absolutely has to be clean, you can contract a tank professional to enter the tank and physically clean the tank bottom or reline the tank with either fiberglass or an epoxy resin.

Water in diesel destroys fuel quality rapidly. Check your tank for water every fall and spring.

In events where water finds its way into your storage tank, that can also be corrected by pumping the tank bottom. Additionally, you want to put in an absorbent material designed to absorb water and not fuel. If your long term storage tank has water and you are not planning to burn 100% of the fuel in the near future, DO NOT add anything that removes water by distributing into the fuel. Adding a “fuel drier” that actually pushes the water into solution with the diesel will worsen the long term quality of your fuel, not improve it. That water is where bugs find their home to grow in fuel.

Star Oilco will test your fuel at no charge if you have an open account.

Feel free to call us with any questions you may have about long term storage of diesel. Star Oil can also deliver treated diesel ready for long term storage complete with Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel additive to improve the long term storage quality of your fuel. For biocide, we use Valvtect BioGuard fuel microbiocide to kill any possible biological activity and prevent any chance of it starting.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

If you have a long term diesel storage tank and you are in the Portland, Oregon area, we are here to test your fuel.  Make sure your diesel is there for you when disaster strikes.

Tank Testing Form

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For more reading on diesel fuel quality assurance:

Fight Humbug in your Diesel Tank (using Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 to stabalize your stored diesel)

Diesel Fuel Technical Review (an easy to read and free text book on diesel fuel)

Emergency Back Up Generator Fuel Quality (designed to provide a checklist to help Facility Managers keep those back up generators ready for emergency action)

Using Desicant Breathers to keep diesel fuel dry and clean (an introductory primer on desicant breathers and how they can be used to keep long term diesel storage drier and cleaner)

Using Diesel Filters to clean up your diesel fuel quality (an introductory primer on using aggressive filtration in line with diesel fuel dispensing for fuel quality assurance)

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider
In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel 500 500 Star Oilco

In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel

Can you Bio diesel as a Heating Oil Fuel?

In a recent study, the viability of biodiesel – also known as bioheat – and its use as a heating oil was examined.Star Oilco an experienced provider of BioDiesel Heating Oil

TL:DR Biodiesel up to B20 and beyond do not require equipment changes or settings. Home heating systems have used biodiesel since 2000 and have shown no significant issues compared to standard fuel.

The study reviews pump seal performance, metal interactions, burner combustion and even reviews in-the-field users of biodiesel.

Use of biodiesel reduces GHG (Greenhouse Gas) by 50% – 86% compared to petroleum diesel, according to NORA.

 

In a study from Brookhaven National Laboratory that was submitted to the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), Dr Thomas A. Butcher and Rebecca Trojanowski studied the use of Biofuels in Heating Oil and any possible issues that could result from usage.

Biodiesel mixtures are labeled as B* where the * is the percentage of biodiesel. For example B20 would be 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.

By breaking it down into 5 separate studies and a review of actual field use for nearly 20 years, they set out to evaluate the possible fail points of using B20 and higher heating oil blends.

Bio Diesel and Pump Seal Material Evaluation

From the start, the pump shaft seals were identified as the area with the most concern of failure. So, this is where the study began. They identified the most common seals in pumps for North America were nitrile material. The study then focused on this material.

For this part of the study, they took the nitrile material and immersed it in different biodiesel and No.2 fuel blends. They soaked these for 670 hours at 125 °F.  The samples were than checked to see if the hardness changed, looked at swelling, tensile strength, and compression deformation.

Results: There were no significant changes for the nitrite for fuels meeting ASTM standards. This includes biofuel up to B100. The one concern was fuel that had acid numbers above 2 could lead to accelerated degradation. B100 standards call for acid numbers 0.5 and below.

Biodiesel and the Evaluation of Oil Burner Pumps Under Operating Conditions

This second test also dealt with the same seals. The difference in this test was that the pumps were in continuous action. They set up 42 pumps to run for 11 months. A pump would run for 5 minutes and then turn off for a minute. This resulted in 80,000 on/off cycles in a period of 8,030 hours. During this time no leaks were observed in any of the pumps.

Result: There wasn’t any difference in degradation between using B0 and B20.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" at low temperature with biodiesel

Copper fuel lines are installed in many older oil heating homes. This was due to lower cost and the fact they were easy to manipulate during installation. This could be a problem because No.2 fuel and biodiesel could accelerate the oxidative degradation of the fuels when exposed to copper.

This experiment consisted of using 10 inch tubes filled with different levels of biofuels: B0, B20, and B100. These would be stored at 70 °F  for 6 months in 3 types of tubes: stainless steel, old copper (a fuel line that had been in service for 30 years), and new copper. Most systems only would expose the copper pipes for a very limited time, so 6 months for any exposure is an extreme amount of time.

Results: An acid value of 2 was shown to degrade nitrile material in the earlier experiments. None of the fuel crossed this mark. The closest was B0 in the stainless steel. This fuel got to 1.5 from .04 (where all the fuel started). These tests were considered to represent summer shutdown of a heat-only boiler or furnace.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" and biodiesel at high temperature

In addition to copper fuel lines, the other major source of yellow metal would be the brass nozzles. Most fuel isn’t in the nozzle long enough to cause any changes, but the fuel left unburned between firings is exposed to higher temperatures then those in the lines. It was decided to try and see if there was changes for this exposure.

The experiment was open top glass beakers with brass and stainless steel nozzles stored in B0, B20, and B100 levels of fuel. This setup was stored in an oven at 175 °F for a week.

Result: The result was a relatively small increase during this time. Even after the experiment was continued for another 4 weeks the numbers represented no significant differences.

Biodiesel Combustion Performance and Flame Sensor Response

The goal of this experiment is to evaluate the proper atomization and combustion performance of biodiesel blends in heating oil systems and to see if there was any issues with flame sensor operation and effectiveness.

The fuel for a home heating oil system requires the fuel to be pushed through a 10 micron filter and then pushed into a fire box at 100 – 150 psi and ignited. This is compared to a diesel engine that have a nominal pore size between 2 and 30 microns and then injected into the system at 20,000 psi.

According to the study, “In comparison to the… diesel engine, heating oil systems are open flame systems and excess air is used to ensure complete combustion. The amount of excess flue gas oxygen is generally between 3% and 6% excess O2 or 15% and 40% excess air to minimize smoke and ensure very low levels of carbon monoxide.” These are usually set by a technician and then re-checked on service calls every 1 or 2 years. “Since properly operating home heating oil systems burn the fuel completely in excess air and emissions are low… Due to this clean combustion, heating oil emissions are typically not measured or monitored, with the exception of smoke and CO.”

The testing was set up first for conventional No. 2 fuel and then adjusted for B100 fuel.

Result: Showed that B20 performed at the same level as regular No. 2 fuel and the bio blend could go all the way up to 50% before the need to adjust the airflow. So, the conclusion was that if the unit is running higher levels of biofuel, the air input needs to be adjust to optimize fuel combustion and reduce CO or smoke.

Review of Field Experience with BioDiesel Blends

Biodiesel blends have been used in the field for heating oil with some using B20 and above since 2005. Part of the study was reviewing customers that have been using B20 above. Of the surveyed providers, none reported a change of any burner or system components.

The report continues to talk about the levels of biofuel that was being used and the condition the fuel was in. Basically it was found that there was no difference from the standard petroleum only fuel.

Conclusion and results of BioDiesel study

  1. Fuels above a certain level of acid content can compromise seals, none of the bio blends reached this and they were statistically similar to petroleum only fuels.
  2. Long term cycling pump showed no leakages with biofuels.
  3. No impact on fuel stored in copper tubing at room temperature was found.
  4. No significant difference on fuel stored with copper at high temperatures and conventional No. 2 fuel.
  5. At higher than B50 concentrations it was found that the burner needed adjusted for best efficiency. B20 will operate at the same level as standard No. 2 fuel.
  6. Finally there appears no real difference in functional use of biofuel vs the use of No. 2 fuel.

So the good news, according to this report, is that if you want to use biodiesel up to B50 there appears no difference in settings or maintenance. As long as a reputable dealer that uses biodiesel that uses ASTM D675 for its B100.

Using biodiesel blends for heating oil reduces greenhouse gases. For more information on this see the NORA report.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider

How to order biofuel as your home heating oil.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil.

If you want to know a little it more about Bio-fuels and what feedstocks can be used.

 

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance 150 150 Star Oilco

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance

Emergency Back Up Generator Diesel Fuel Quality

The fuel in your generator is the single most overlooked item in maintaining a back up generator.  Be prepared and know your back up generator diesel fuel quality is ready with these best practices.

When the power goes out, don’t let a decade old tank of diesel be your weak link.

 

Diesel Generator Fueling Service

As a provider of back up generator fueling services we know how critical fuel is in an emergency.

Back up generators are everywhere when you start looking for them.  Rarely needed but when a storm or disaster strikes their failure to fire will be extremely conspicuous. In the Pacific Northwest where resilience planning around a major subduction zone earthquake is a monthly subject of talk.  Back up diesel will be the only immediately power source after a quake.  Diesel generators are taking center stage for emergency preparedness, placing those who maintain them in some high level policy discussions.

Avoid a double emergency when the back up power isn’t there for your need by focusing on the diesel fuel quality.

The worst case scenario for fuel quality is water getting into your diesel fuel reservoir as well as biological growth occurring in that water logged diesel. If water is present in diesel, and that diesel is in a warm dark place, bacteria will start growing in your tank. So first preventive step is watch for water.  The most likely problem with fuel you will see is the fuel aging and degrading in place over years of not being used.  That can be addressed with your routine maintenance on the tank.

CIM-TEK water absorber

NOTE: To get a small amount of water or to ensure a dryer tank of fuel, CIM TEK makes a Tank Dryer which absorbs a small amount of water in a tank. Handy similar to adding a desiccant into a closet with a slight condensation issue. 

Back up power generator diesel fuel quality.

The big rule for storing back up generator fuel is to make sure the diesel you use is clean and dry.

First ensure you are testing the generator by running it once a month.  Move fuel through the system and ensure the generator is starting right up. Run the generator for a while to use up fuel and be prepared to order a regular top off when you get below 3/4th of a tank. When checking the fluids on the generator prior to start up see if the fuel filter has a visual transparent bottom where you can see what the fuel looks like there. If it looks like dirty fuel or there is evidence of water take notice.  After cycling the generator take a peek and make sure the fuel it’s pulling into the generator is bright (not dark and degraded).  If you are seeing any water (even a small drop) that is an indication of real concerns.

If you are using up half a tank a year and adding to it, the fuel quality will usually stay within specification.  If you have worries the easiest way is to just start over. With older generators sometimes it’s a good idea to just evacuate the tank (empty all the older diesel fuel) and replace it with fresh diesel treated and stabilized for long term storage.

Most back up generators are seeing routine annual maintenance where the mechanical needs of the equipment are walked through. If this is occurring ask for a bottom sample from the back up generators fuel tank. Also ask to see what the fuel in the bottom of the fuel filter (assuming they are changing that) would give an indication if problems might exist deep in the fuel tank.

Back Up Diesel Generator Fuel Service

Sampling and Onsite Testing of Fuel from Generator Diesel Tank:

  1. Pull sample from tank bottom
    1. Use a professional “Bacon-Bomb Sampler” (google it to see one) or a small fuel transfer pump available at any auto parts store.
  2. Visually inspect it by swirling it in a beaker or mason jar.
    • Look for water and dirt fall out as you swirl.  If you see a few drops of water form you’ve got a water problem. If you are seeing coffee ground type material in the fuel, that’s biological growth. If an algal or gunk type slime appears, that’s also biological growth.
    • If clear like cranberry juice and bright – your fuel is in good shape.  If a darker cherry color yet still clear, your fuel is aging and you should consider swapping or burning fuel off in the next year.
  3. If fuel is dark in color (showing that it is aging in the tank) you can send that sample to a lab to test it. You want to ensure you are confirming the following:
    • Oxidation Stability (or Accelerated Stability)
    • Water Content in PPM (under 50 PPM is what you want, under 100 PPM is not uncommon, and over 100 PPM there is probably water in the fuel and you want to pursue remedial action.)
    • Make sure the fuel testing lab you are using (your current fuel vendor should have a recommendation or do it for free for you) is checking for:
      • oxidative stability (if it’s aging out of specification),
      • biological growth (if bugs are growing in it),
      • water content (indicating a puddle someplace in the tank causing higher water content in the fuel) and,
      • dirt content of the fuel (if there is dirt, there is probably biological growth or some other problem).
  4. Set aside sample in a warm dark place for a month and check it for biological growth occurring which will confirm if you have fuel growing inside the tank.
    • How to test diesel for biological growth In-House:
      • Take your sample that appears to be in great condition and set it aside in a warm dark place for a month (day light kills most biological growth in fuel, though day light ages your diesel in other ways).
      • When you come back to look at the sample, if a film or layer of darker color is appearing in the fuel, this is biological growth occurring.
      • If you see nothing and want to experiment further, add a slight amount of water to this sample, shake it up, and put it back in a warm dark place.
      • When you check back if there is a a new layer of darker color on the surface of where the water contacts the fuel, that’s what grows in your tank.
      • If nothing grows, your fuel is safely stabilized for storage this year. Even if water is finding its way into your fuel tank, the fuel is safe and will be ready to start.
        • NOTE: Do not leave water in your tank, even if the fuel looks good. Eventually it will be a major problem and something will grow. If you are putting biocide in your tank regularly and their is an environment for growth, something resistant to that biocide will take root and you WILL NOT be able to get it out of the tank without serious effort.

NOTE: If you are curious to see a fuel lab analysis of the diesel this is an example.  This is a lab analysis from Hydrotex, Star Oilco’s premium diesel additive provider.  They are very supportive in testing everything we send them for quality assurance. 

 

Do you have questions about generator diesel fuel storage?

If you have questions about fuel storage, Star Oilco has answers.  Star Oilco does not do tank cleaning, we still will help you figure out what you need to do in order to have the result you need.

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For more on Diesel Fuel Quality Assurance please see these other Star Oilco articles:

Desiccant breathers, dry diesel, and keeping your diesel fuel clean.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about dyed diesel.

Keep and make your diesel fuel cleaner. 

Bioguard Plus 6, Kill and prevent biological growth in your diesel fuel storage tank.

 

On Site Refueling in Oregon 700 394 Star Oilco

On Site Refueling in Oregon

6 reasons to use Wet-Hose diesel and gasoline fleet fueling in Portland, Oregon.

The best strategic decision to reduce needless driver hours and keep your fleet on the route without excuses.

Mobile Onsite Fleet Fueling Service for diesel and gasoline available in Oregon and Washington.

If some days you have more work than drivers…  Wet Hose Fleet Fueling is your solution!

 

There is a reason that fueling on-site and after hours is the preferred fueling method of growing fleets in the Pacific Northwest.  The fleet refueling solution that solves the complex problem of dispatching in a world short of drivers and facing unpredictable traffic. Mobile Onsite refueling or “Wet Hose” fueling is a solution that will push more money to your bottom line and reduce stress on your drivers.  Star Oilco can also merge our mobile onsite refueling service with our national Fleet Card system to give you one bill and easy reports for your fuel tax reporting by license plate and equipment number.

 One bill for On Site Fueling and Fleet Cards, labor saving in town and low prices over the road. 

Make your IFTA and PUC’s fuel reporting simple.

Secured fleet fueling while over the road.  Simple labor saving fueling in your yard.  Track equipment by license plate and equipment number on one invoice.

Reefer trailer fuel service

  6 Reasons to Use Wet Hose or Mobile Onsite Refueling

On Site refueling or “Wet Hosing” is a preferred method for fueling these days. Fleets of all sizes prefer getting their fleet fueling delivered after hours in their yard. The reasons are numerous but at the top of the list, labor is the driving force behind it.

Shaving off even fifteen minutes of labor–which is one of the two highest costs for most fleets, right after diesel–can have a huge payback to the bottom line.

If your fleet is consistently on overtime or short that one extra hour of legal driver time, picking up fifteen to thirty minutes per truck a few times a month can be a huge opportunity. If your drivers always seem to be bleeding into overtime or missed stops, you want on-site fueling.

Streamlining their route without a consideration for fuel will pay back rapidly. With a simple change in what a driver has to consider at the start and finish of their day, efficiencies are immediately seen with wet hose fueling. Most of all, this is seen if you are pulling your drivers out of the productivity killing vortex that is truckstops. Truckstops may show a good diesel price but they are making it up when your drivers wait in line inside the store while on the clock.

Call Star Oilco if you have questions and want to examine the payback value of Wet Hose Refueling compared against your current vendor for diesel. You might be surprised how much it will save you in time, money and management effort.

Six reasons why you should consider wet-hose diesel fueling:

  1. Driver Time – The most valuable resource your fleet owns.

    • Truck drivers are a limited resource and they cost more than you can usually measure in money alone. Without calculating the lost productivity of your truck, you are paying over $10 each time your drivers stop for fuel. The out of route stopping, refueling, and getting back on the road time could be half hour of lost time. As the average fill up we see is under 50 gallons, fueling your own trucks will cost you $.20 to $.50 a gallon in labor costs alone.
  2. One More Stop – Picking up productivity in your fleet.

    • Getting drivers on the road and without a reason to be out of route pays back dividends. If you pay productivity bonuses, your most productive drivers will thank you as well. Even in fleets where pay is by stop, not based on hourly wages, the ability those few times a year when drivers are so busy they are bumping up against DOT work rules, they will thank you for the convenience of being ready to go the start of each shift and not having to worry about that one more stop on the way back to base. A few extra stops a year is often worth thousands of dollars to your bottom line–more than a cost of a tank of diesel.
  3. Control Fuel Taxes – Track your taxes without chasing paper receipts.

    • Pay the right taxes. We have audited and seen where mobile on-site refueling pays back thousands of dollars in savings. Typically from just this often unnoticed needless expense alone. In Oregon many small towns have add-on taxes of their own that hide out in your fuel bill. Portland, Oregon’s diesel tax is a $.10 a gallon (or more for weight mile). Regardless, you can avoid these taxes and nail down a totally known cost of fuel.
  4. Control Your Type of Fuel – Ensure you are getting Premium Diesel, Dyed Diesel, or B20 Biodiesel.

    • If you are trying to guarantee the highest performance in your fleet the quality of your diesel matters. To guarantee you receive Premium Diesel, ensure one point of responsibility for the diesel fueling of your equipment.
    • Easily track what fuel went where for tax purposes. Wethose fueling provides the gallons moved by piece of equipment, license plate, and even VIN if that’s what you want it tracked by. Make fuel tax reporting easy and consolidated.
    • If you are working to guarantee a low CO2 footprint for sustainability reasons. Wethose fueling services are a great way to simplify that effort. Commercial prices for B20 Biodiesel are often more competitive than retailers selling the fuel as premium product as well. Additionally, with a single fuel vendor you can track back the source of the fuel for CO2 or other footprint analysis. Know what your impacts are.
  5. Easily integrates with cardlock and other fleet cards onto one bill.

    • If you have a major hub with a critical mass of trucks in town, wet-hosing yPride Advantage Sample Cardour fleet can pay back rapidly. Even if the majority of your fleet is over the road and out of town, on-site refueling can be a money saving proposition. You can also integrate it seamlessly with a Pacific Pride, CFN, Fuelman, Voyager or other fleet card program as well. Star Oil can provide a Pacific Pride or Fuelman card that will work over the road consolidating all your fuel into one bill. Star can also accept Fuelman, Comdata, WEX or Voyager and bill those fleet cards directly with onsite refueling. If your fleet uses one of these national fleet cards, call us to move to wet hosing. We bill directly to the card and license plate of each one of your trucks. (For further reading on corporate fleet card security features please read our article on Upgrade your Fleet Card’s Security Features.)
  6. Cost Plus Diesel – Budget to know every day you are getting a good wholesale rate for your fleet.

    • Star Oilco can connect your fleet to an agreed and easily verifiable cost plus supply agreements. Be it OPIS Average or Low Rack Plus agreements, we can guarantee you have a good wholesale price of fuel.  You can also use B20 Biodiesel or Renewable Diesel fuels at a discount price to reduce your fleet’s emissions if that is a priority for you.  Onsite refueling will provide a simplified fleet management experience for both your drivers and your Accounts Payable department. Call us if you want to talk about what this can do for your business. ( For further reading on the benefits of premium diesel and a wholesale partner for diesel, read our article on What is the benefit of Premium Diesel versus untreated diesel?)

Contact Star Oilco with any questions you may have about Wet Hose Fueling your fleet.  

We are here to serve you and make Mobile Onsite Fueling simple.

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For more on Fleet Fueling Best Practices read these other Star Oilco articles:

Upgrade your Fleet Card’s Security Features

The difference between Portland, Oregon Diesel and the rest of Oregon.

Seven ways to stop fuel theft before it happens.

Eliminate Fuel Theft and Save Money

Farm diesel and gasoline fueling delivery service 150 150 Star Oilco

Farm diesel and gasoline fueling delivery service

Fueling of a Farm Tank with a Star Oilco Truck.

Diesel and Gasoline Rural Fuel Delivery Service.

Fill your farm, nursery, or homestead fuel tanks now.

Now is the time to order gasoline or diesel for your rural operation.  In Oregon and Washington diesel and gasoline prices risen to a recent high.  Off-road diesel and farm gasoline prices in particular can benefit from a bulk delivery order before the upcoming hurricane season causes fuel price volatility.  Hurricane season usually spikes prices in the Pacific Northwest because they cause national petroleum supply interruptions going into Fall.  Get ahead of the need for fuel.

This is the time to fill your farm fuel tank.

If you have a bulk tank now is the time to order as we are seeing stable prices for diesel and gasoline in the Pacific Northwest.  Order your fuel now, and get a great price before the market changes.  Call us and discuss your need.   We are here to help and make keeping your equipment going when you need the fuel there without a hassle.

Rural Gasoline and Diesel delivery.

Agricultural fuels for farm use.

Call Star Oilco to keep your farm’s tank full.  Whether it’s a 100 to 500 gallons of gasoline and dyed diesel or a 25,000 order of B20 biodiesel.  We are there to serve you to make things easy.  With what is going on, you will not regret having plenty of fuel next to your barn at these market prices.

Star Oilco Crest

Star Oilco is a locally owned Oregon business serving Willamette Valley farms and businesses since 1936.  Veteran owned, locally operated, and committed to your needs here in Oregon and Washington. 

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Please see these other posts if you are curious about off-road fuels:

If you have questions about Off Road or Dyed Diesel please see our FAQ

What you need to know about long term diesel storage 

How to fight “Humbug” growing in your diesel tank.

Bulk Transporter Article on Star Oilco B99 Biodiesel use 150 150 Star Oilco

Bulk Transporter Article on Star Oilco B99 Biodiesel use

Star Oilco graces the pages of Bulk Transporter Magazine.

Read the Bulk Transporter Magazine article about Star Oilco’s pioneering use of B99 Biodiesel in 105,500 GVW petroleum truck and trailers in the Pacific Northwest.

You can read the article by following the link below.

Star Oilco delivers sustainable fuels to Oregon in near-zero carbon trucks

 

 

If you want to talk about what Star Oilco has been doing with B99 as a major transportation fuel we look forward to talking.

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B99 Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

B99 Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Fuel

Using B99 Biodiesel in a Tier 4 Heavy Duty Diesel

B99 Biodiesel reduces CO2 footprint of a 105,500 GVW truck and trailer by more than half at a lower cost than petroleum diesel.

What is B99 Biodiesel?

B99 Biodiesel is as pure of blend of Biodiesel you can get in the United States and still participate in the incentives associated with this alternative fuel.  B99 is the product received by petroleum refiners, terminals, and truckstops to blend with petroleum diesel.  Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement.  B99 Biodiesel is a common blendstock with petroleum diesel (being 99% biodiesel).  It can be presumed that nearly every major truckstops throughout the US  is consistently using either a blend of 5%, 10% or 20% of biodiesel   The reason for this is both due to it’s price advantage against petroleum currently as well as Federal/State laws requiring it’s use.

Why Higher Blends of Biodiesel Matter?

Biodiesel is a low CO2, net energy positive fuel.  Depending on the feedstock Biodiesel is made from a CO2 reduction of 30% to 80%+ can be expected compared to petroleum diesel.  As the West Coast (Oregon, Washington and California) ramps up CO2 regulations that charge an additional cost for carbon emissions associated with petroleum diesel the financial case for Biodiesel becomes obvious.  Early adopters will see direct financial benefit.

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Star Oilco has fielded the Optimus Technologies system on our 105,500 GVW truck and trailers.  Star Oilco began with a single Freighliner truck and trailer operating a Cummins ISX as a trial.  This truck’s typical route was approximately 305 miles round trip from Portland, Oregon to Grays Harbor, Washington.  This run is from Star Oilco in Portland, Oregon to the Grays Harbor REG Biodiesel plant and back to the Portland terminals for delivery of this product.    Over the last year and a half this truck has performed amazingly well, the only maintenance concern is swapping the fuel filters more regularly with every oil change.  Mileage and power difference are negligible as noticed by drivers or our Elog system.  On a few occasions a loss of power was experienced requiring an in between service fuel filter swap.

This field trial of the Optimus Technologies system Star Oilco has regularly saved between $15 and $75 a day when running this dedicated route, depending on the cost of B99 Biodiesel versus petroleum ultra low sulfur diesel.  Consistently the price of B99 Biodiesel has been below petroleum diesel in the Portland, Oregon market. This has been due to a combination (or is effected by) RIN values, a Blender’s Tax Credit on biodiesel, and Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program which also prices the CO2 reduction value of B99 Biodiesel.   We see this trend continuing as an assumed market reality for biodiesel.

What is the business case for our deploying B99 Biodiesel Optimus Tech upfit kits?

The systems increase the intelligence of our late model trucks with their very complicated Tier 3 and Tier 4 emissions systems.   The Optimus Kit enables two saddle tanks to operate with the duty cycle of the truck. One tank (which we will be running B5 ULSD or R99 through) is dedicated to fuel the particulate trap and SCR systems.  These systems have extremely tight tolerances and tend to choke on higher blends of biodiesel.  By dedicating a tank with a smart controlling system we reduce the maintenance and concern with these after treatment systems hopefully extending the maintenance cycle on these traps by years while reducing inconvenient efficiency killing regens.

The Optimus Kit also enables a modern diesel engine to run B99 Biodiesel.  It does this by controlling the temperature of the fuel in it’s dedicated saddle tank and routing B99 to the engine when the RPMs and operating temperatures are best for this fuel. Upon start up and shut down the Optimus Technology kit will flush the engine, fuel rail, and injectors with the petroleum/R99 tank ensuring easy start up and no cold weather effects.  The B99 saddle tank is temperature controlled as well to enable performance in extreme weather.  When operating under load the Optimus Kit will move to B99 as the fuel into the engine.  As B99 Biodiesel has a substantial reduction of emissions, particulate, and other compounds when combusted; this further reduces the impact of miles on a truck to the particulate trap and it’s service needs.

Beyond this maintenance experience, the performance and function of the system has been indistinguishable to our other trucks running the same route.

Biodiesel Mandates in the Pacific Northwest

Oregon and Washington have passed legislation which puts a price on the CO2 emissions associated with petroleum diesel.   These laws mean that petroleum fuel costs more than biofuels with a low CO2 footprint.  These laws are also added on top of other mandates and incentives for biofuels.  Biodiesel blends between 5% and 20% are common on the west coast at every gas station, cardlock, and truckstop.

How Can I Utilize B99 or B100 in My Own Fleet? 

Star Oilco uses The Vector System developed by Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies. The Vector System is the only EPA-compliant biodiesel engine system and upgrades any medium or heavy-duty engine to operate on 100% biodiesel. It can be installed in as little as 12 hours. Learn more about The Vector System by contacting Optimus Technologies here directly or by reaching out to Star Oilco locally. 

 

 

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For more on Biodiesel, Renewable Diesel or Low CO2 fuels please see these other Star Oilco articles:

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Biodiesel

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Renewable Diesel 

Do you have questions about Renewable Diesel in Oregon 

Wet Hose Fueling Service in Portland, Oregon

About Diesel Fuel 

Biodiesel Use and Handling Guide 

What is the benefit of Premium Diesel versus normal diesel? 900 639 Star Oilco

What is the benefit of Premium Diesel versus normal diesel?

Premium Diesel delivered in Oregon and Washington with every gallon of Star Oilco diesel.

Are you clogging filters, seeing corrosion, suffering repeated DPF regens, or fighting biological growth in your tank?

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Premium Diesel with routine tank maintenance is the solution to your problem.

Premium diesel provides real benefits to the long term maintenance cost of any diesel fleet.

Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel has a higher cetane, an aggressive detergent for cleaning injectors and tanks, pushes water out of the fuel keeping it dry while traveling down your fuel rail, as well as stabilizes the fuel to ensure it does not begin to grow algae or other biological problems in your tank.

Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel has plenty of benefit for a very small additional cost.  The most profound and not highlighted is the effect on long term storage of tanks and what your bulk storage tank bottoms look like long term. Namely that the corrosion inhibitors, moisture demulsifiers and stability benefits of Premium Diesel will pay back dividends for your entire fleet.  As time passes the bottom of your tank begins to age and collect anything that might fall out of solution.  Premium diesel will significantly reduce these danger particles that can get into your fleet’s fuel system.  Premium diesel not only improves the active daily performance of your fleet, it also prevents the long term problems that build up in fuel storage.

A first hand extreme example.  Recently we have seen where a customers sprinklers put a huge quantity of water in their storage tank and the additive kept that fuel bright, clean and not growing fuel algae.  Upon sending the sample to the lab of course water content was higher than you want, but that fuel was in great shape considering this extreme failure of fuel quality assurance. Controlling and preventing for the unforeseen is worth the effort.  What might have been a disaster costing tens of thousands in down equipment was an oddity we were able to fix for them in a few hours.  All because additive fuel kept that fuel within specification even in the most extreme of scenarios.

 

To read more about Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel and more in depth research on the benefits of premium diesel:  Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel Brochure.

Backup Generator Fuel Portland

If you have a commercial fleet and want to have Star Oilco sample and test your fuel for quality assurance please do not hesitate to ask. We are here to help.

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Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel 700 394 Star Oilco

Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel

What are the alternatives to petroleum diesel in Oregon?

If Oregon bans the sale of petroleum diesel, a rapid transition to biofuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel would happen.

 

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HB 3305 Petroleum Diesel ban

In Oregon, HB3305 is a House Bill proposed by Representative Karin Power to outlaw the sales of petroleum diesel to the public for use in motor vehicles.  HB3305 quoted below:

“Prohibits retail dealer, nonretail dealer or wholesale dealer from selling petroleum diesel for use in motor vehicle on or after specified dates. Requires public improvement contract to require that motor vehicles be powered by fuel other than petroleum diesel. Prohibits public body from using petroleum diesel in motor vehicle under control of public body”

The full text of the current version of HB3305 can be seen here.

HB 3305 mandates non-petroleum diesel be the only legal fuel for sale to diesel powered motor vehicles in Oregon.

Star Oilco has customers ask about this proposal and how real it is?  In Oregon the focus on low CO2 fuels in the legislature is so consistent we can expect this to not go away.  Even if HB 3305 does not move this Legislative session, this will not be the last of biofuel mandates.  For this reason Star Oilco has been working to be ahead of the curve with non-petroleum diesel substitutes. Star Oilco has been selling B99 biodiesel since 2002 and renewable diesel since 2015.  If your fleet has an interest in learning more about low CO2 fuels or try these fuels, Star Oilco is ready to serve you with both R99 renewable diesel and B99 biodiesel.

News coverage of Oregon HB 3305 is below

The Center Square’s Oregon, whose coverage of this has been syndicated to many other online news organizations, lead with the headline: Bill in the Oregon Legislature would ban diesel fuel sales by end of decade.

CDL Life had this to say: The bill would begin to ban the sale of “petroleum” diesel by “non-retail dealers” as soon as 2024 in Clackamas, Washington or Multnomah counties and state-wide by 2027.

Landline as well has following the story: Oregon bill would ban petroleum diesel. Later in the article they add this to the background of HB 3305’s origin: Power said in a statement that her goal is to phase out petroleum-based diesel and replace it with renewable diesel. She says she introduced the bill on behalf of Titan Freight, a local trucking company she says has already transitioned to renewable diesel.

KXL covered this local news quoting Oregon State Representative Shelly Boshart-Davis, a legislator who owns a trucking company and actually buys quite a bit of petroleum diesel.

Lars Larson radio interviews Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis about HB 3305.

KQEN news radio in Douglas County also covered it with the headline: GOP says supermajority declares war on working class.

The Wildcoast Compass covered the story quoting Rep.Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville): “There is absolutely no way we can implement this legislation in accordance to these timelines without extreme disruption to Oregonians’ daily lives and the obliteration of our economy as we know it,” 

Oregon Public Broadcasting covered HB 3305 a few days after the bill dropped which might be an indication it’s moving forward. From the story: One bill, House Bill 3305, would set a staggered timeline for ending sales of diesel in the state — first in the Portland area, then throughout Oregon. Its backers hope to spur widespread use of “renewable diesel,” a product with far lower emissions that can be used in any diesel engine. They say the fuel could be an important and near-instant way for the state to cut into greenhouse gas emissions while other technologies emerge.

The Banks Post covered HB 3305 as well with the headline: Diesel fuel under fire in Oregon legislature.

What HB 3305 means in the real world?

HB 3305 means the petroleum diesel used by any commercial vehicles operated on Oregon’s highways will be replaced with biofuels.

Biofuels will replace on-road petroleum diesel at all Oregon:

  • Retail gas stations
  • Trucks stops
  • Commercial cardlocks (Pacific Pride and CFN)
  • Privately owned bulk tanks
  • Mobile on-site fueling (wet hose fueling), and
  • All other bulk deliveries of diesel fuel.

Given the media coverage of this law, which no doubt will grow if this bill progresses to hearings.  Star Oilco wanted to provide more background of what this law would mean for Oregon.  We hope this provides in depth information about what the options are for diesel fuels and a whole host of background information.  The news coverage so far fails to really provide this depth and background for those with concerns.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Star Oilco seeks to be a neutral and accurate source of information.

Star Oilco sells renewable diesel in bulk and by our mobile on-site fueling service. It is worth mentioning from our first hand experience that users of it become raving fans.  Renewable diesel is a new fuel that many believe out performs petroleum diesel in every way. Many customers who have used it experienced improvements in horse power, fuel economy, and emission regeneration system performance.

Currently renewable diesel is in extreme high demand, limited production, and commands a high premium over petroleum diesel with few sources of supply.  Renewable diesel has some major backers in the trucking industry as well as OEMs.  As the availability of this next generation fuel grows, the number of plants manufacturing it expands, and it’s price comes down, this type of law may make far more sense.

If petroleum diesel is no longer legal for sale in Oregon, what does that mean diesel vehicles will use?

There are two immediately available diesel rated biofuels that can replace petroleum diesel.  These are two very different fuels. Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel have differences in their properties.  So please don’t confuse biodiesel and renewable diesel as the same fuels.

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel are very different fuels.

Biodiesel is a proven and longtime available fuel in Oregon.   Biodiesel is not actually a hydrocarbon diesel though, it is a diesel like biofuel made from vegetable oil usually sold in a 5% to 20% blend with petroleum diesel. It is not recommended to run pure biodiesel in late model diesel engines if they have a particulate trap.  This differs from Renewable Diesel which is a next generation synthetic hydrocarbon diesel made from various feedstocks including vegetable oil.  It is actually diesel, it can be used as a pure drop in fuel without any blending with petroleum diesel.

What are non-petroleum diesel fuels?

Oregon HB 3305

Biodiesel or B99 (99% Biodiesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Renewable Diesel or R99 (99% Renewable Diesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Blends of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel (branded REG UltraClean Diesel)

HB3305 allows for biofuels in replacement for diesel.  We assume that change would be from a current Oregon fuel mandates of B5 or R5 biofuel diesel blend to a B99 or R99 mandated fuel.   Under current Oregon law all diesel fuel must contain a 5% blend of biodiesel or renewable diesel.  Oregon’s biofuel content law can be read at ORS 646.922 and we can assume this would change that to a 99% mandate. Why 99% instead of 100%, that is a good question relating to Federal regulation of the US diesel and gasoline markets.

 

Why does this require a 99% blend (B99/R99) instead of 100% biofuel?

The reason biodiesel and renewable diesel are sold at a 99% blend is because of Federal rules associated with how petroleum companies must handle these fuels.  For this fuel to be used under the US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard program biodiesel and renewable diesel must be blended at a minimum 1%.  When fuel is blended at 1% with diesel, the EPA enables it to generate a “Renewable Identification Number” or “RIN” which is regulated to ensure a minimum amount of biofuels is used in the stream of commerce for fuel in the United States.  This Federal program is separate and unrelated to any program in Oregon, though the law recognizes and seeks to align with the framework created by the EPA.

What are the fuels HB 3305 would allow to be used by diesel motor vehicles in Oregon if this bill was passed into law?

The two fuels immediately available if this law was passed into law are B99 Biodiesel and R99 Renewable Diesel.

Both of these fuels exist today but have their own drawbacks.  In a nutshell, B99 is not a drop in substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is recommended to be blended at 20% with petroleum diesel (NOTE: B99 biodiesel can be used in modern diesel with an up-fit kit provided by Optimus Technologies).  On the upside, biodiesel is plentiful and competitive with petroleum diesel in cost.  If HB 3305 passed though this plentiful fuel wouldn’t be a ready substitute beyond a 20% blend with renewable diesel or with mechanical changes to existing trucks.  Contrast this with  R99 renewable diesel as a drop in ready to go substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is ready to use without blending, but has the downside of being in short supply and at a cost premium above petroleum diesel.

If Oregon’s over 2,000,000 gallons of diesel usage a day (or 750+ million gallons a year) was mandated to renewable diesel no doubt that premium would probably exceed $2 a gallon over petroleum diesel given R99’s lack of ready additional supply.  This $5 a gallon presumes that Oregon would have to pay more for the existing renewable diesel supply finding it’s way to California with several dollars a gallon of value paid for it’s lower CO2 baseline value.  California has a Clean Fuel Standard and a CO2 Cap and Trade program which provide a monetary value for renewable diesel’s lower CO2 numbers.  Oregon has a Clean Fuel Program as well, but it’s program does not pay as much for low CO2 fuels as California, making low CO2 fuels such as renewable diesel more expensive in Oregon.

B99 Biodiesel in depth.

Blends of biodiesel below 20% are extremely common in Oregon.  All fuel must contain at least 5% biodiesel content and many retail outlets, cardlocks, and major truck stops commonly sell a 10% to 20% blend of biodiesel around the state.

Biodiesel is a diesel like fuel manufactured by a chemical reaction called transesterfication, typically from vegetable oil or recycled cooking oil.  It is made by a relatively simple process and biodiesel has been a proven fuel in use in Oregon for nearly twenty years.  Star Oilco started handling and selling biodiesel in 2002.  Prior to 2007, B99 was commonly used by many commercial fleets due to it’s huge reductions in tail pipe emissions.  Vehicles manufactured after 2007, are clean diesels.  The US EPA required new clean diesel emissions systems which are impressive in their ability to make modern diesel engines extremely clean, but they can only handle biodiesel blends below B20 or 20% biodiesel unless an upgraded system is added.

Today B99 is a possible fuel for a modern clean diesel fleet with an upgrade to existing vehicle fuel supply system.  Optimus Technologies has an approved technology to enable a modern diesel aftertreatment system to operate without problems on B99.   Star Oilco has purchased five of these systems and is currently fielding them in the Pacific NW.  We expect these systems to be mainstream in coming years, but just like Renewable Diesel the technology is newly available and scaling up.

For more information about biodiesel please see our biodiesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about biodiesel.

If you are interested in using biodiesel in your fleet, you can contact Star Oilco with questions or if you want to start researching we highly recommend starting with this US Department of Energy handbook titled Biodiesel Use and Handling.

 

R99 Renewable Diesel in depth.

Renewable Diesel is a next generation biofuel made from fats, oils, and greases. It is not an alternative diesel, renewable diesel is a petroleum free hydrocarbon diesel fuel. It is diesel! Renewable diesel not only less than half the CO2 of diesel refined from petroleum fuel, but it is cleaner burning and has shown evidence of reducing the cost of maintenance in fleets using it. Renewable diesel is a profound technology which has the potential to use the lowest grade trap greases, sewer materials, rendering wastes, municipal garbage, and a host of other refuse products making them into this high performance, sustainable, low CO2 diesel.

There are two categories of technology that renewable diesel is made from.  Hydrogenation and Fischer Tropsch process.

Renewable Diesel from Hydrogenation or Hydrotreating

Hydrogenation derived renewable diesel is very similar in manufacture to modern petroleum diesel in that the molecules of a the feedstock is cracked and reformed in the presence of a catalyst to form a very specific series of hydrocarbon molecules.  These being diesel and propane range fuels. The feedstocks used by renewable diesel plants are vegetable oils and animal fats.

The hydrotreating plants providing renewable diesel to Oregon currently are Neste from a plant in Indonesia, Diamond Green (in a joint venture with Valero), Sinclair, and Renewable Energy Group. All of these plants are over subscribed and 100% of their production is being taken at a premium primarily by the California low CO2 fuels market.   There are several new renewable diesel plants under way though.  Holly Frontier, Marathon, CVR Energy, and Phillips 66 are converting existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel plants.  This process costs billions of dollars, will take years to complete, and also will be likely destined for California’s low CO2 fuel market with smaller markets like Oregon being an afterthought.

Renewable Diesel from Fischer Tropsch process.

Currently there are a number of smaller demonstration facilities making renewable diesel from wood waste and other feedstocks.  The largest proposed project currently on the books is Illinois Clean Fuels which will be collocated with major CO2 capture facility making their product negative CO2.  Fischer Tropsch renewable diesel is expected to be the future of refining given it’s flexibility of feedstock.  It’s process enables the use of municipal garbage, agricultural waste, woody biomass, and other low value plentiful materials as feedstock.  Given that the United States is called by some the “Saudi Arabia of garbage” we have plenty of supply waiting for a higher and better use as low CO2 transportation fuel.  Illinois Clean Fuels has a great explanation of how Fischer Tropsch makes renewable diesel and jet fuels.

Where can you get Renewable Diesel in Oregon?

Star Oilco currently is selling R99 Renewable Diesel for commercial use.  We can deliver to fleets seeking it in bulk or mobile onsite delivery (wet hose R99 diesel service begins Spring 2021).  If you fleet wants to trial renewable diesel, Star Oilco can work with you on a loaner tank for a 90 day demonstration of the fuel.  Call Star Oilco if you have an interest in Renewable Diesel for your fleet 503-283-1256.

If you have questions about renewable diesel, Star Oilco wants to provide answers.  Feel free to reach out if we do not have the answer we will research it.

For more information about renewable diesel please see our renewable diesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Renewable Diesel.

 

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Every Question We Have Been Asked About Biodiesel 150 150 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Biodiesel

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Bio-diesel

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, creating jobs and improving the environment. Biodiesel is commonly blended in a 5% to 20% component with petroleum diesel and can be found available at retail around North America as a blended fuel.  Biodiesel is a low CO2, net energy positive fuel which depending on the feedstock it is made from can vary from a 30% to 80%+ reduction in CO2 emissions compared to petroleum diesel.  Biodiesel is made from a diverse mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, industrial non-food grade spent oils, animal fats, as well as virgin vegetable oils such as canola, soy, and corn oil. For more information see the National Biodiesel Board’s “Biodiesel Basics” page.Simple Bio-diesel chart showing how to make

How is biodiesel made?

Biodiesel is most commonly made from taking an animal fat, used cooking oil, or a virgin vegetable oil and mixing it with an alcohol (such as methanol). This process is called transesterification and it creates two products glycerin and esters (usually methyl esters or alkyl esters which is the chemical name for most biodiesel).  The crude biodiesel is then further processed to remove excess water and other impurities. The standards for commercially sold biodiesel in the US is ASTM D6751.

What does ASTM D6751 mean?

Biodiesel to be sold in the United States must meet an industry standard which is ASTM D6751.  ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) D6751 is the specifications for B100 or 100% Biodiesel.  Biodiesel is usually blended with diesel fuel for retail sale.  This specification defines the properties of the biodiesel from the refiner prior to sale to the public. The properties include things like flashpoint, water content, oxidative stability, sulfur ppm (parts per million), and other specifics that this biodiesel needs to be at in order to hit these standards (Source).

Once a fuel is within all these properties it can be blended with diesel, which has its own ASTM standards, for more about ASTM D975 and other fuel specification concerns please see the Changes in Diesel Fuel – Technicians Guide for more and very in depth information.

Can biodiesel be used in normal diesel engines? / Which cars use biodiesel?

Regardless of where you are in the United States there is a reasonable expectation of purchasing biodiesel in your diesel fuel.  Formally, B5 is supported by all major OEMs selling diesel engines in the U.S. In 2016, at least 78 percent of diesel vehicles supported B20 (Source).  Regardless of what your owner manual says about biodiesel fuel, B20 biodiesel is a proven fuel and is automatically presumed for any new diesels on the road. In many parts of the United States B20 is a commonly found fuel at retail stations, commercial cardlocks, and national truck stop chains.

In the Pacific Northwest, where low CO2 emission policy is front and center, biodiesel can be expected to be found in every gallon of diesel sold in some form.

Oregon law says “All diesel fuel sold in the state must be blended with at least 5% biodiesel (B5) if that fuel is going to be used in vehicles. For the purpose of this mandate, biodiesel is defined as a motor vehicle fuel derived from vegetable oil, animal fat, or other non-petroleum resources, that is designated as B100 and complies with ASTM specification D6751. Renewable diesel qualifies as a substitute for biodiesel in the blending requirement” (Source).  Oregon and Washington has plenty of retail and commercial cardlock locations selling above 5% biodiesel as the defacto fuel given the incentives as well as low CO2 mandates in Oregon.

Can biodiesel be used for heating oil?

Yes. Biodiesel has been effectively used as a heating oil for over 20 years. In fact an in-depth report by the Sustainable Energy Technologies Department Energy Conversion Group shows that blends up to B50 can be used without needing to change or adjust your settings. Read our blog for a summary of this report.

Can biodiesel be mixed with conventional / regular diesel?

Most biodiesel that is sold is as a blended form with petroleum diesel. In a blend, the “B” stands for the amount of biodiesel that is included in the product. For example, B20 would be 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. Biodiesel can also be combined with renewable diesel – a blend of B20 would be called B20/R80 diesel.

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Can biodiesel be used in diesel generators?

Yes. In fact, Oregon is one of several states that require biodiesel be blended into all diesel fuels. That means this fuel has been used successfully in the fuel supply for years. As with any fuel that can sit for extended amounts of time, we recommend you take proper precautions, such as using additives, to ensure your fuel is ready to be used when needed. If this is a concern, please contact us – we would love to talk to you about your storage needs.

Can biodiesel be made from animal fat?

Yes, biodiesel refers to (according to the National Biodiesel Board) a methyl ester made from chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol to produce fatty acid esters. This is called transesterification. The lipids could be sourced from many different types of oils, such as vegetable, soybean or animal fat based oils/tallows. For a deeper dive into some of the different types of feedstocks, read our blog.

Can biodiesel be used in airplanes?

Yes and no. There have been several tests using biofuels but fuel for aircrafts is different than regular diesel. Fuel gels at a plane’s flying altitude so aircrafts can’t use regular diesel or biodiesel. Several tests with biofuels have proven successful. Read more about the use of biofuels in the future.

Can biodiesel freeze?

Gelling is the term used for diesel fuel starting to freeze. The paraffin present in diesel starts to solidify and at lower temperatures, it can start to solidify and crystallize. Some blends of biodiesel at B20 and higher will gell at a higher temperatures than petro diesel. During the winter months, it’s important to use additives that combat this or use lower percentages of biodiesel for your fuel. In low enough temperatures, even petro diesel will freeze.

Can biodiesel replace oil? / Can biodiesel replace diesel / fossil fuels?

At this time, no. While the quality of the fuel for biodiesel and renewable diesel is as high as the petrodiesel we have today, the production of these fuels can’t meet the demand that is needed. This has to do with available feedstock and infrasturcture to recycle usable wastes.

The long answer to this question, though, is YES. As technology advances, there may be a time that all fuel is derived from waste and plant crops instead of petroleum.

For an idea where the market is going and how much fuel we are using here is a little bit more information on current usage.

In the early 2000’s, the biodiesel market was about 25 million gallons. In 2016, the market had grown to 2.8 billion and it’s still increasing. The on-road diesel demand is 35 billion to 40 billion gallons. The industry goal is to be producing 10 percent of the transportation market by 2022 (Source).

Which biodiesel is best?

Biodiesel that meets the ASTM D6751 is the best. While making your own biodiesel isn’t hard, keeping the fuel filtered and free of excess water is challenging. Finding a reputable provider that uses fuel that meets specs and also filters and treats your fuel like Star Oilco helps ensure you’re using the best fuel possible.

Which is biodiesel plant/crop? What crop/plant produces/yield biodiesel?

Any plant that produces an oil can be used to produce biodiesel. The plants and crops that are most likely to be used, would produce a lot of oil for the amount of work that goes into growing them. Some of the experimental crops are ones that grow in areas that don’t produce quality food, like Camelina sativa. A member of the mustard family, it grows well in poor soil and harsh conditions and doesn’t displace crops that produce food.

Here are the blogs we have posted so far about some of the biodiesel feedstocks that have been tested and used.

Feedstock: Babassu oil & Beef Tallow
Feedstock: Borage Oil & Camelina Oil
Feedstock: Algae Oil & Canola Oil
Feedstock: Castor Oil and Choice White Grease
Feedstock: Coconut Oil and Coffee Oil
Feedstock: Evening Primrose Oil and Fish Oil
Feedstocks: Hemp Oil & High IV and Low IV Hepar
Feedstocks: Jatropha Oil, Jojoba Oil, & Karania Oil
Feedstocks: Lesquerella Oil & Linseed Oil
Feedstocks: Moringa Oil & Neem Oil
Feedstocks: Palm Oil & Perilla Seed Oil
Feedstocks: Poultry Fat & Rice Bran Oil

Which is better: biodiesel or diesel?

Biodiesel has advantages of producing lower emissions, providing lubricity to the moving parts and being produced in the United States.

Diesel is more abundant, is easily created from crude oil, and has a lower gel point.

Which is better depends on what you are looking for.

Which states mandate biodiesel?

According to AFMP (American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers):

  • Minnesota: Has a B2 requirement year round (September 2005) and a summer requirement of B20 (May 2018).
  • Oregon: Requires a B5 reguirement year round (July 2007).
  • Washington: Requires 2% of the diesel sold in Washington to be biodiesel (December 2008). This can be substituted with Renewable Diesel (July 2009).
  • Pennsylvania: According to AFMP, “2% biodiesel for on-road compression ignition engines one year after annualized in-state production reaches 40 million gallons, 5% biodiesel (100 million gallons), 10% biodiesel (200 million gallons), and 20% biodiesel (400 million gallons)” (July 2008). Renewable diesel can substitute for up to 25% of this requirement, in addition to heating oil and off-road diesel (May 2011)
  • New Mexico: Requires B5 for all diesel vehicles (July 2012).

Which countries produce biodiesel? / Which countries use biodiesel?

global biodiesel production by country
Biodiesel is produced around the world, led by the U.S., Brazil and Germany.

The US produced 6 billion liters in 2017 or about 1.6 billion gallons. This website has the exact numbers for 2017, 2018 and some of 2019 production of biodiesel in the U.S.

Biodiesel in the US is largely made from soybeans at this time.

United States Month Biodiesel Production 2017 to 2019

Will biodiesel damage my engine? / Will biodiesel damage my car?

Biodiesel can be used in any car or engine that is using diesel. Biodiesel is a solvent this means that it may start cleaning the tank or pipes that previously just used petroleum fuel, for this reason fuel filters may clog initially.

How will biodiesel help save money?

It depends! If the price of a barrel of crude rises to a high level, biodiesel can be cheaper. In addition, if RIN’s are available (basically a credit for using biodiesel), they can lower the price of biodiesel and make it less expensive to use and purchase.

How will biodiesel help reduce pollution?

Petrodiesel uses crude oil, which is trapped CO2 from ages past. When it is burned, it releases this CO2 back into the air.Average Biodiesel Emissions Compared to Conventional Diesel When you use biodiesel, you’re using CO2 that is being captured by the growing plants or the waste. This is current CO2 you aren’t adding to the net sum in the environment.

As for regular pollutants, here is a chart that shows what using biodiesel does compared to conventional diesel. There is a significant reduction to pollutants that are expressed through the exhaust.

How long will ecodiesel last? / How long can biodiesel be stored?

Diesel, including biodiesel, does go bad after awhile. Diesel fuels adhering to ASTM specification should be safe for storage up to a year without additional treatment and testing. If you are storing diesel for long term use, it is a good best practice to treat the fuel with a biocide and oxidative stabilizer to ensure that the fuel stays within specification and nothing will begin to grow in your fuel tank. The biggest enemy of long term diesel storage is water and dirt entering the fuel through a tank vent. As temperatures change, a tank will breath, pulling in air and moisture from outside. Keep your fuel within specification by ensuring there is no water in the tank and that outside contaminants can’t get into a tank.

Where biodiesel is used? / Where is biodiesel used in the world?

Biodiesel use is encouraged by many countries and usage has increased greatly since 2001. This graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that the U.S. used 2.1 billion in 2016 or about 22% of the total amount of biodiesel used that year. Wikipedia lists 31 countries and explains the amount of biodiesel they use each year. World biodiesel consumption, 2016

Where to buy biodiesel?

If you live in Oregon, every gas station has at least 5% biodiesel. Cardlock locations throughout the states have stations with biodiesel blends. For other locations, this site is a great resource.

Where can biodiesel be used?

Legally, it can be used anywhere although some biodiesel derived from palm oil is restricted in certain countries.

When / where was biodiesel invented?

The definition of diesel is a liquid that uses compression and oxygen to ignite without the use of a spark. Rudolf Diesel created the diesel engine in Germany. The design for engines first used coal dust suspended in water and later vegetable oils, such as peanut oil. These fuels were later abandoned when petroleum became abundant and cheaper to produce.

Where does biodiesel fuel come from?

In the United States, the primary source for biodiesel is soy beans. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the feedstocks break down as such:

  • Soybean Oil – 52%
  • Canola Oil – 13%
  • Corn Oil – 13%
  • Recycled feedstocks – 12%
  • Animal Fats – 10%

Even with Soybean oil as the primary source, the remaining meal is used to produce food for animal feed. For more information on feedstocks of biodiesel, here is an ongoing blog we have been working on to examine the resulting fuels produced by the various feedstock.

Where are biodiesel plants?

Here is a list of sites in the United States.

When did biodiesel begin?

The original diesel engine ran on peanut oil, so technically biodisesel was first used in the 1890s. Most oils in the 1800s were from bio stocks. It wasn’t until petroleum became abundant and thus cheaper that biofuels and oils were abandoned for this cheaper source.

When does biodiesel gel?

The feedstock determines when biodiesel will gel. The most common feedstock is soy, which has a cloud point of 0°C (32°F) for B100. Petroleum diesel has a cloud point of -45°C (-49°F) to -7°C (19°F) (Source). Cloud point refers to when the paraffin begins to crystallize and the fuel looks a little cloudy.

Biodiesel and petrodiesel is usually blended and this lowers the cloud point of biodiesel in the fuel considerably. In addition, additives are frequently added during cold weather that further lowers the cloud point.

When is biodiesel day celebrated?

National Biodiesel Day is March 18th, which is also Rudolf Diesel’s birthday. August 10th is International Biodiesel Day, a celebration of Rudolf Diesel’s prime model running for the first time on August 10, 1893.

Who invented biodiesel?

The diesel engine is defined by “any internal-combustion engine in which air is compressed to a sufficiently high temperature to ignite diesel fuel injected into the cylinder, where combustion and expansion actuate a piston.” Until petroleum was developed as a cheaper alternative, animal and vegetable oil was used. One of the first fuels used in the diesel engine was peanut oil, and thus biodiesel was born.

Can you use 100% Biodiesel even in the winter?

The answer is YES.  While biodiesel has a lower cloud point then petroleum diesel there is a technology by Optimus Technologies called the Vector System. This allows a truck to start on regular diesel until it gets up to temp and switch over to run on up to 100% biodiesel.  The City of Ames, Iowa is one success story of this technology. (Story Here)