Proactive Biodiesel Blending Practices Help Improve Performance
by Paul Nazzaro (Advanced Fuel Solutions Inc./Biodiesel Magazine) As biodiesel continues to emerge as a sought-after blending component for generic distillates in the Northeast and beyond, a recent study commissioned by the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association highlighted why it’s imperative that those handling the fuel educate themselves on the proper storage, blending, and distribution practices required to maintain biodiesel’s national quality standards.
Throughout 2016, to gain a better understanding of how much biodiesel is being blended into Connecticut’s heating oil pool, CEMA analyzed the biodiesel content of nearly 100 fuel samples from bulk storage tanks containing a range of blend levels. What they found, in some cases, was concerning—although not entirely surprising considering how commonplace below-the-rack blending has become.
A number of the samples CEMA pulled contained more than 20 percent biodiesel, with some north of 40 percent, when the fuel was labeled—and being sold—as B15 or lower blends. The wholesalers and distributors involved were left scratching their heads. What could possibly be causing such a significant discrepancy? After some investigation, it was determined that the storage facilities in question had one thing in common: blending into bulk storage systems ill-equipped to achieve homogeneity.
Those who value fuel quality and work diligently to ensure the satisfaction of their customers should consider a wild stream blending scheme that incorporates regular fuel monitoring to ensure that the biodiesel remains on spec. For those hesitant to make the investment in a costly tank mixer, a static line mixer or a simple y-connector to offload dual trucks (replicating a wild stream blending environment) are more cost-effective options.
Be sure that the biodiesel meets EN 15751, which measures the oxidative stability of the fuel and should be a minimum of three hours. If it does not meet ASTM specifications as defined within the D6751 standards, it’s possible that an aftermarket fuel stabilizer can bring the fuel back into specification.
In the meantime, everything you need to know about the proper storage, blending and transporting of biodiesel can be found in the U.S. DOE’s Biodiesel Handling and Use Guideline (Fifth Edition). READ MORE