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B20 and B100: Alternative Fuels

Proven Power of Biodiesel:

Any questions regarding biodiesel and engine performance continue to evaporate. Case in point is the current land speed record for the Production Diesel Truck class. Using B20, a Ford F-250 hit 182 MPH – compared to a top speed of 171 MPH using straight diesel.

Cleaner, faster, safer biodiesel is definitely leaving the pure petroleum competition in the dust. To see the performance trial, go to AmericasAdvancedBiofuel.com.

Growing interest in biodiesel as an alternative transportation fuel stems mainly from its renewable, domestic production; its safe, clean-burning properties; and its compatibility with existing diesel engines.

Biodiesel can be legally blended with petroleum diesel in any percentage. The percentages are designated as B20 for a blend containing 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel, B100 for 100% biodiesel, and so forth. B100 and blends of B20 or higher qualify for alternative fuel credits under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/key_legislation#epact92) for more information.

B20
Twenty percent biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel—B20—is the most common biodiesel blend in the United States. Using B20 provides substantial benefits but avoids many of the cold-weather performance and material compatibility concerns associated with B100.

B20 can be used in nearly all diesel equipment and is compatible with most storage and distribution equipment. B20 and lower-level blends generally do not require engine modifications. Not all diesel engine manufacturers cover biodiesel use in their warranties, however. See the National biodiesel Board's Standards and Warranties page to learn more about engine warranties. Because diesel engines are expensive, users should consult their vehicle and engine warranty statements before using biodiesel. biodiesel blends between B6-B20 must meet prescribed quality standards—ASTM D7467. 

Biodiesel contains about 8% less energy per gallon than petroleum diesel. For B20, this could mean a 1 to 2% difference, but most B20 users report no noticeable difference in performance or fuel economy. Greenhouse gas and air-quality benefits of biodiesel are roughly commensurate with the blend; B20 use provides about 20% of the benefit of B100 use and so forth. Low-level biodiesel blends also provide benefits, but users are encouraged to experiment with higher biodiesel blends to maximize benefits.

Blends

B100
B100 or other high-level biodiesel blends can be used in some engines built since 1994 with biodiesel-compatible material for parts such as hoses and gaskets. However, as biodiesel blend levels increase significantly beyond B20, a number of concerns come into play. Users must be aware of lower energy content per gallon and potential issues with impact on engine warranties, low-temperature gelling, solvency/cleaning effect if regular diesel was previously used, and microbial contamination. To avoid engine operational problems, pure biodiesel (B100) must meet the requirements of ASTM D6751-09, Standard Specification for biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuels.

B100 use could also increase nitrogen oxides emissions, although it greatly reduces other toxic emissions. All these issues can be handled, but currently B100 use might be best for professional fleets with maintenance departments prepared to deal with this fuel.

ASTM biodiesel Specifications
The tables below show selected requirements for B100 and B6 to B20 blends. 

B100
The table below shows selected requirements for 100% biodiesel (B100) as listed in ASTM D6751.

Requirements for biodiesel (B100) Blend Stock ASTM D6751

Property

Test Method

Limits

Units

Calcium and magnesium combined

EN14538

5 max

ppm

Flash point

D93

93.0 min

°C

Water and sediment

D2709

0.050 max

vol %

Kinematic viscosity, 40°C

D445

1.9-6.0

mm2/s

Sulfated ash

D874

0.020 max

% mass

Sulfur

D5453

0.0015 max (S15)
0.05 max (S500)

% mass

Copper strip corrosion

D130

0.020 max

-

Cetane number

D613

47 min

-

Cloud point

D2500

Report to customer

°C

Carbon residuea

D4530

0.050 max

% mass

Acid number

D664

0.50 max

mg KOH/g

Free glycerin

D6584

0.020

% mass

Total glycerin

D6584

0.240

% mass

Phosphorus content

D4951

0.001 max

% mass

Distillation temperature, 90% recovered (T90)b

D1160

360 max

°C

Oxidation stability

EN14112

3 min

hours

Cold Soak filterability

Annex A1

360 maxc

seconds

Alcohol control - One of the following must be met:

(1) Methanol content

EN14110

0.2 max

vol %

(2) Flash point

D93

130 min

°C

 a Carbon residue shall be run on the 100% sample.
 b Atmospheric equivalent temperature.
 c B100 intended for blending into diesel fuel that is expected to give satisfactory vehicle performance at fuel temperatures at or below 10°F (-12°C) shall comply with a cold soak filterability limit of 200 s maximum.

B6 to B20
The table below shows requirements for 6% to 20% biodiesel (B6-B20) ASTM D7467.

Requirements for biodiesel B6-B20 ASTM D7467

Property

Test Method

Limits

Units

Acid number

D664

0.3 max

mg KOH/g

Viscosity at 40°C

D445

1.9-4.1a

mm2/s

Flash point

D93

52b

°C

Cloud point

D2500

Report to customer

°C

Distillation temperature, 90% evaporated

D86

343

°C

Ramsbottom carbon residue on 10% bottoms

D524

0.35 max

% mass

Sulfur

D5453

0.0015 max (S15)
0.05 max (S500)

% mass

Cetane number

D613

40 minc

-

Ash content

D482

0.01

% mass

Water and sediment

D2709

0.050 max

% mass

Copper corrosion 3 h at 50°C

D130

No. 3

-

biodiesel content

DXXXXd

6-20

% (V/V)

Oxidation stability

EN14112

6 min

Hours

Lubricity at 60°C

D6079

520 maxd

micron

One of the following must be met:

(1) Cetane index

D976-80

40 min

-

(2) Aromaticity

D1319-88

35 max

-

 a. If Grade No. 1-D or blends of Grade No. 1-D and Grade No. 2-D diesel fuel are used, the minimum viscosity shall be 1.3 mm2/s.
 b. If Grade No. 1-D or blends of Grade No. 1-D and Grade No. 2-D diesel fuel are used, or a cloud point of less than -12°C) is specified, the minimum flash point shall be 38°C.
 c. Low ambient temperatures as well as engine operation at high altitudes may require the use of fuels with higher cetane ratings. If the diesel fuel is qualified under Table 1 of D975 for cetane, it is not necessary to measure the cetane number of the blend. This is because the cetane number of the individual blend components will be at least 40, so the resulting blend will also be at least 40 cetane number.
 d. Where specified, the blend level shall be +/- 2% volume unless a different tolerance is agreed to by the purchaser and the supplier.
 e. If the diesel fuel is qualified under Table 1 of D975 for lubricity, it is not necessary to measure the lubricity of the blend. This is because the lubricity of the individual blend components will be at least 520 microns, so the resulting blend will also be at least 520 microns.

   
  Most B20 users report no noticeable difference in performance or fuel economy.  
  The days of backyard biodiesel batching are long gone...  
 
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