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Biodiesel vs Your Warranty

Posted by Emergency Power on

Biodiesel is being treated with caution by the fuel injection equipment manufacturers and engine companies. While many support the development of alternative (non-petroleum) fuels in diesel engines, they are worried about unregulated biodiesel being used in equipment that was designed to run primarily on highly regulated #2 Diesel. A variety of source materials is used to make biodiesel, which means there are lots of undesirable finished products that could end up in your fuel tank. This is of great concern to diesel engine companies because there can be all sorts of bad stuff roaming through their equipment such as:

  • Free methanol
  • water
  • free glycerin
  • Mono-, di-, and triglycerides
  • Free fatty acids
  • Solid particles and Oxidated fuel.

If your diesel engine/generator is under warranty and you want to run biodiesel, you'd better think twice before filling up your tank.

Biodiesel Pros and Cons

In addition to petroleum, Diesel fuel can be made from various vegetable oils, including canola and soybean. The ASTM has also released a standard, D-6751, for biodiesel fuels. Stanadyne, as well as the other major fuel injection equipment manufacturers, has determined that a blend of 5 percent biodiesel that meets the ASTM D-6751 standard and 95 percent mineral diesel that meets the ASTM D-975 standard should not harm fuel system components. This blend is referred to as B5. As with ULSD, biodiesel fuel also has various advantages and disadvantages:

Benefits of biodiesel

  • Reduced exhaust emissions
  • Made from a renewable resource
  • Almost no sulfur (in the biodiesel itself)
  • Higher cetane value (51 minimum versus 40 minimum for mineral diesel)
  • Excellent lubricity

Disadvantages of biodiesel

  • *Could harm certain elastomers (seals)
  • Has poor resistance to oxidation, especially when blended with ULSD. This results in spoilage and the formation of acids and varnishes
  • Biodiesel can absorb much more water than mineral diesel
  • Has lower energy content

Most diesel engine companies including Aurora Generators will not warranty your engine if anything but normal automotive diesel fuel is used. Many businesses just don't cover fuel injectors and fuel pumps thus avoiding any disputes on what type of fuels where used and examining the engine for evidence. Have a comment or suggestion? We would like to hear from you. Please feel free to post a response.


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