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B20 Biodiesel

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about heating oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about heating oil

Heating Oil FAQ (and not so FAQ)

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil

It’s getting cold again in the Pacific Northwest, so it is time to take a look at some common questions we have been asked about Heating Oil.  If you don’t see an answer to a question you have, please feel free to call, email, or message Star Oilco and we will gladly answer. We especially welcome questions  that require research.

What is Heating Oil in Oregon?

Heating Oil in Oregon is diesel and can have a biodiesel blend as well.  Diesel fuel has several grades either #1 or #2 Diesel.  The number refers to the grade with #1 being called either “stove oil” or “Kerosene” as another term for it.  Typically when someone is requesting or talking about heating oil they are talking about #2 Diesel dyed red to denote there are no on-road fuel taxes associated with the fuel.

How does a heating oil furnace work?

There are several types of oil furnaces.  The most common is a vaporizing burner.  These furnaces typically work by taking a liquid combustible fuel, vaporizing it into a fine mist through a fuel oil nozzle, and igniting that mist into fire. That fire heats either air or water for your home’s comfort.

Heating Oil Fired Air Furnaces

Air furnaces usually move the air through a heat exchanger where a blower then moves air over the heat generated by your furnace, and finally the air is pushed through your home’s vents. 

Heating Oil Fired Water Furnaces and Boilers

Boilers and Water furnaces heat a tank of water which is then distributed several different ways to heat your home.  Either by moving hot water to radiators, radiant plumbing under your floor, or to a heat exchanger and blower which transfers the heat from the hot water into vents blown throughout your home. 

Heating Oil System prior to the combustion system

The parts leading up to the Burner of of an oil furnace system are simple. There is a tank to hold a reservoir of oil, a line from that tank (and sometimes a line back to it), a fuel filter, a fuel pump, and a vaporizing burner that combusts the heating oil into fire. Combustion of the fuel takes place in a fire box next to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger takes on the heat of the flames to heat either air or water. In an oil furnace, the heat exchanger is assisted with a blower that pushes the hot air throughout your home to keep you comfy.

How do I check the volume of fuel in my heating oil tank?

If you have an above or below ground heating oil tank you can confirm your fuel volume by the inches of fuel in the tank.  If you have an above ground tank there is probably a tank gauge that can tell you an approximate volume in the tank.  If you have an below ground tank you can confirm how many gallons are in the tank by putting  a measuring stick or tape-measure into the tank.

You will want to confirm the size of the tank you have. Your oil provider will probably have an idea of what size your tank is by looking or historic deliveries. Star Oilco has a tank chart which will help.  If you place a stick or tape measure into your tank and see how much fuel is in it you can compare that to a tank chart found on Star Oilco’s website.  When delivering fuel you can “stick” measure the tank before and after the delivery. Compare these volumes with the delivery and you can often figure out your tank size based on the before and after volume lining up with how much fuel filled your tank.

To view Star Oilco’s Tank Chart please click HERE. 

What is “home heating oil” or “residential heating oil?”

Home heating oil can be either a petroleum diesel fuel, bio-synthetic diesel fuel, or biodiesel fuel. In Oregon and Washington, home heating oil is typically ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel often containing between 5% and 20% biodiesel. Star Oilco’s standard home heating oil fuel is B5 dyed ultra-low sulfur diesel. Oregon mandates require that all diesel fuel sold contain a minimum 5% biodiesel. For that reason Star Oilco carries B5 or 5% biodiesel blends in our heating oil. (NOTE: Kerosene sold by Star Oilco contains no biodiesel due to the reality that wick heaters cannot handle even a minute amount of biodiesel in them.) Star Oilco also carries a 20% biodiesel blend, called B20 Bioheat, for customers who want a cleaner burning low carbon fuel for their home.

What is kerosene heating oil?

Kerosene is a heating oil product that is capable of being picked up and fed consistently by a wick heater. Kerosene is a diesel product that is very similar to the fuel used for over the road trucks. The big difference is that kerosene is a “lighter end” distillate fuel, which means it has a lighter specific gravity. This lighter characteristic means that it also works better in certain systems like wick heaters, pressure washers, and pot burner stoves.

Can heating oil be used in a kerosene heater?

It depends on what type of system the kerosene heater is operating with. If you have a wick heater it will not work with heating oil. You will likely have to replace the wick to get it to work again as diesel will not readily drawn into the wick. Even if it does, it will burn far dirtier. If it is a pot burning system like a Toyostove or Monitor heater, then it will burn ultra low sulfur heating oil. Increased maintenance is to be expected on the pot burner, as there is a likelihood of more coking (crusty black soot build up) to occur inside that system.

What is “bio heating oil” or bioheat?

Bio heating oil and bioheat refer to heating oil products with a blend of biodiesel in them. Typically bioheat is a blend between 5% to 20% biodiesel with ultra low sulfur diesel for a clean burning and low CO2 heating fuel.

For a really in-depth look at biodiesel used as a heating oil check out this article. 

Will heating oil run a diesel engine?

Yes, heating oil will run in a diesel engine. Heating oil is diesel. Be aware though that on-road vehicles must only run clear diesel fuels. If caught using heating oil in an on-road vehicle in Oregon and Washington, the fines can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Heating oil can also be dyed to signify it isn’t for on-road use.  Also be aware that even many off-road pieces of equipment and generators need ultra low sulfur diesel to operate without very expensive maintenance. Heating oil can have low sulfur or even high sulfur contents that could cause real issues for modern clean diesel engines. Some consideration is needed prior to burning a fuel marked “heating oil” in a diesel engine.

What heating oil do I need?

Consult your furnace, stove, boiler or water heater’s factory recommended specification. Typically it’s Number 2 Diesel unless it is a stove pot or wick heated system. If you have a furnace or a boiler in your basement, you can assume it’s heating oil. Call a licensed and bonded heating oil furnace technician to tune up your furnace to confirm for sure. If you do not have one, Star Oilco can refer you to a number of reputable long-time firms who can help.

What are heating oil additives and are heating oil additives worth it?

Heating oil additives are added to fuel in order to improve it’s long term storage and performance.  They are worth it and most reputable heating oil providers additize their fuel without an extra charge.  This is because most heating oil customers store their fuel for long periods of time.  If you are planning on storing heating oil for years you will need a fuel additive to keep that fuel in the quality needed for your furnace.  Star Oilco provides a premium diesel additive called Hydrotex PowerKleen to every gallon of heating oil we sell.  Beyond this stabilizers, if you are planning on storing fuel for years we recommend ValvTect Plus 6.  You will want to treat your fuel with a biocide like ValvTect Plus 6 to will kill any bacteria, yeast, algae, or other biological organism that can grow inside your heating oil tank.

For more on storing diesel or heating oil for long periods of time please read this article on long term fuel storage.

What does heating oil smell like?

Heating oil smells like diesel. It is a diesel product and often, depending on location, it is the same as on-road diesel. It may be dyed to denote that it is an off-road fuel with a untaxed use. Heating oil is dyed red in the Pacific NW to show it is off-road diesel.

What is Heating Oil #2?

Heating Oil #2 is number 2 diesel or the standard diesel sold in most places for on-road diesel use. Heating Oil #2 is a slightly different specification than on-road diesel that allows for more sulfur. That is a big difference as far as the EPA is concerned. On-road and off-road vehicles in the U.S. are required to use ultra-low sulfur diesel. Heating oil systems can use low or high sulfur diesel fuels. Ultra low-sulfur diesel is the most common Heating Oil #2 fuel that is delivered by Star Oilco since it is a superior and cleaner burning fuel, in our opinion.

Where can I buy heating oil at the pump?

In the Pacific NW heating oil is ultra low sulfur diesel. Therefore, you can buy any diesel sold at a retail gas station, truckstop, farm supply or other liquid fuel seller.  Heating oil is dyed red to show that it is not taxed for on-road fuel use.  Other than that red dye, typical auto-diesel will work in your oil furnace if you need to supply it from a diesel can.

At what temperature does heating oil freeze?

Heating Oil Gel Point:

In the Pacific NW we expect number 2 diesel heating oils to be operable beyond -10 degrees. The record cold weather in the Willamette Valley is above 0 degrees (recent decades 16 degrees was our record low in Portland). We do test and additize our fuels to ensure they meet this specification even if they contain 5% biodiesel blended into heating oil.

Kerosene Gel Point:

Kerosene fuels (Number 1 Diesel, Number 1 Stove Oil, and Kerosene labeled fuels) are expected to be good below -30 degrees and are designed to be used in high altitude applications. (Kerosene and jet fuels are often the same specification in the Pacific NW.)

B20+ Biodiesel Gel Point:

Biodiesel blends of B20 and above are assumed to be good to 20 degrees but if Star Oilco expects below-freezing weather, we highly recommend B5 as your delivered fuel. B99 biodiesel typically gels at 40 degrees, so it’s not a winter fuel unless you have a system designed to keep the fuel warm in the middle of winter.

What is “oil heating,” “oil fired heater,” or “oil furnace” referring to in a house description?

“Oil Heat” or “Oil Fired” refers to a heating system reliant on burning heating oil. Typically this is by use of a vaporizing burner that takes the combustible liquid that is heating oil and vaporizes it through a nozzle into an igniter that causes it to burn.  This system burns the heating oil, creating a great deal of heat that can warm air, water, or both to heat a home or commercial space.

Are heating oil fumes make you sick?  Is heating oil fumes harmful, dangerous, or toxic?

NOTE: IF HEATING OIL HAS BEEN INGESTED PLEASE SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!
Heating oil by itself is not dangerous or toxic if it come in contact with your skin.  It is easily washed off with soap and water.   If a small amount of diesel is spilled on the surface of the ground it typically will break down on it’s own in the presence of the environment.  If a small amount is spilled on concrete or asphalt it can be cleaned up easily with dish soap and water and will break down.  If your tank leaks and heating oil is soaked below ground this will not break down easily and will take professional help to treat.  The exhaust from heating oil systems contains carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as well as particulates.  Heating oil and other diesel exhausts are very dangerous and toxic and should be avoided.  Do not allow exhausts of any kind to collect in an enclosed space.

Can heating oil evaporate?

Heating Oil’s vapor point (the temperature it turns to vapor and evaporates) is around 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heating oil ignites at 160 degrees.  Typically in the Pacific NW the temperature (especially outside) is well below the vapor and flash point of diesel fuels including heating oil and kerosene. If spilled it will not usually evaporate. You can clean heating oil and diesel up with regular dish soap and water.

Can heating oil vapor explode?

Heating oil ignites at 160 degrees.  So unless the temperature is that high an explosion is not a risk.  Fire Code regulating heating oil tanks and placement takes this concern into account.  So typically except in extreme scenarios heating oil vapor does not pose an explosion risk.

Can heating oil fumes ignite?

If you drop a match into a cup of heating oil at room temperature it will go out.  If you hold a match to the surface of the heating oil in that cup the flame will get large and bright but the heating oil itself will not ignite.  Heating oil needs to be vaporized before it will ignite. It is a combustible fuel so it must be in a vapor form to light.  The vaporizing nozzle of your heating oil furnace turns diesel into a vapor mist easily ignitable.

Can heating oil go bad?  How long can I store heating oil?

Yes, heating oil can go bad. If you are planning to store heating oil for longer than a year, you should use a diesel additive that stabilizes fuel for long term storage. If you are storing the fuel as a back-up where you might go years without using it, you should also consider adding a biocide to ensure nothing grows in your tank. The two biggest threats to your fuel staying in specification are water and biological growth. Biological growth occurs inside the water that can collect in your tank bottom naturally through condensation over time. Star Oilco treats 100% of our dyed fuels with Hydrotex Powerkleen to ensure that it is stable for storage for over a year. If you need to store it longer than that, we further recommend adding a desiccant breather to scrub moisture out of the air when your tank breaths, which protects it from additional water.

  For more on additizing your heating oil for long term storage please follow THIS link.

Can a heating oil tank be outside?

Yes, heating oil tanks properly installed outside are perfectly safe and capable of ensuring your fuel stays clean and dry.

Are heating oil tanks regulated?

Yes, at several different levels. With residential use, there are local jurisdictions’ building permit requirements for installation and safety. With commercial use, there is the same building permit regulation and usually an added level of Fire Marshall sign-off for siting of any tanks. In rural areas, regulations are different if the tank is associated with an agricultural use. In Oregon and Washington, a 90 day temporary tank for construction purposes (to move from one tank to another in a formal process) is usually allowed, but you should ensure the temporary tank is a double wall tank and is in a safe place. If your tank leaks (or even if there is a suspicion of a leak), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Washington Department of Ecology have an involved process to close out a leaking oil tank.  

Do I need to do maintenance on my heating oil furnace?

Yes, you need to ensure you maintain your oil furnace. Star Oilco recommends getting a tune up annually or at least every other year.  If you are seeking a referral to a HVAC company that specializes in oil heat, call Star Oilco’s office 503-283-1256 and ask for a list of qualified license and bonded companies we recommend. 

One of the great benefits of oil heat is that oil furnaces are known to last for over fifty years if maintained properly. Natural gas and propane furnaces typically wear out every ten to twenty years dependent on their construction. The primary wear consideration on any furnace is the heat exchanger. The heavy steel part takes the flame of burning fuel, transmits this heat to the air, and is then pushed to heat your home. Oil furnaces must be tuned up every year or two to ensure the heat exchanger is cleaned. If you do not service the heat exchanger, it will collect soot. Soot insulates the heat exchanger unevenly and causes wear that will eventually lead to a crack. If a heat exchanger is cracked, the furnace is no longer safe to operate. Additionally, an annual tune-up will pay for itself by ensuring your furnace is burning at peak efficiency. You will want to replace your furnace air filter regularly on an annual basis.

Do I need to do any maintenance on my heating oil tank?

Yes, you want to check your oil furnace for water annually. Star Oilco can stick your tank for water at no charge upon request with a fuel delivery.

How do I reduce my consumption of heating oil?

Tuning your furnace annually or every other year is highly recommended. Adjusting the fuel air mixture for the most efficient combustion goes a long way to ensure you use as little heating oil as possible. Star Oilco has witnessed fifty and even seventy year oil furnaces operate at modern efficiencies when maintained regularly over their lives. Today there are also a host of high efficiency oil furnaces that are manufactured and supported to further reduce your cost of fuel.  Additionally, confirming the envelope of your home is not drafty or needlessly wasting heat can go a long way in reducing your heating expenses.

How do I reduce the price I pay for Heating Oil?

The price of heating oil fluctuates frequently due to market conditions.  This is out of our control.  Comparison shopping is your best way to ensure you pay the best possible price. One web based tool we have heard customers like to use to save time while shopping for heating oil is Fuelwonk.com.  It is free and easy to use.

If you do not like our price and someone else is cheaper let us know.  We will match their price. Fuelwonk.com makes it easy to look at a glance at the market for heating oil. We use it and if we are missing something let us know.

Will Heating Oil be phased out?

Heating Oil is a modern fuel that uses today’s heating oils and biofuels.  The investments in research and development for heating oil furnace by the National Oil Research Alliance to use a wider variety of biofuels in higher lower CO2 blends have kept heating oil relevant in many applications.  As a heating fuel, it’s use will become more rural than urban rather than a phase out. As it is today, the use of heating oil will be used where natural gas is not available especially if the temperatures get below zero.  The reason for urban adoption is that natural gas in recent years has been cheaper than heating oil due to the surpluses of natural gas created by the fracking development of petroleum.

What are “Degree Days?”

Star Oilco uses a Degree Day system for our customers on Automatic Keep-Full Service.  We fill your tank before it needs it automatically.  We use a statistical regression analysis that correlates your typical use of heating oil in your home along side the weather.  Over years of service our systems will track your usual fuel usage and we automatically schedule delivery to keep your tank full.

What is the energy content or “BTU’s” of Heating Oil?

The technical term “BTUs” refers to “British Thermal Units” which is a measure of energy content of a fuel.  The energy content of diesel fuels can vary slightly by regions and specifications of those regions.  In the Pacific Northwest heating oil is typically Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with a blend of biodiesel content that can range from 5% to 20% added to the fuel.   This means the exact BTU measured for a gallon of heating oil an slightly vary.

Source: US Alternative Fuel Data Center Fuel Properties Comparisons
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel: 128,488 BTUs to 138,490 BTUs per gallon.
B5 Biodiesel is presumed to be about the same BTUs as ULS Diesel.
B100 Biodiesel: 119,550 BTUs to 127,960 BTUs per gallon.
B20 Biodiesel: 126,700 BTUs to 136,384 BTUs per gallon.

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.

 

BioGuard Plus 6 Stabilize Your Diesel Tank 150 150 Star Oilco

BioGuard Plus 6 Stabilize Your Diesel Tank

Fight Humbug in your Diesel Tank!

Fall weather is around the corner and moisture is depositing in your diesel tank.

 

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Treat your diesel; keep things from growing in your diesel.

Prepare your diesel fuel, heating oil, kerosene, or boiler fuel for storage.

Make sure your fuel works when you need it. If you have a bulk diesel tank, stop stuff from growing in your diesel before it starts.

Star Oilco provides complementary diesel fuel quality testing for tanks in our service area.

Valvtect BioGuard Plus 6

Valvtect Plus 6 – Stabilizer and Biocide

Use every spring and winter to guarantee your tank is not providing a habitat to fuel system spoiling microbes.

Water in diesel is a fact of life these days. Biological growth spoiling your fuel quality does not have to be. Ultralow sulfur diesel and biodiesel have water in them. Over time, water entrained in your diesel fuel can fall out of solution. Add to that they condensation that will natural develop in your fuel tank and you have an environment for hum-bug to grow in your heating oil, diesel, or boiler fuel storage tank.

 

If you are storing diesel for longer than six months you want to stabilize that fuel.

In the summer when temperatures swing at night, your tank is breathing air in and out.  If it is raining, your tank is likely also breathing in the water. With the rainy season and long after it passes, be aware that water is everywhere unless you work to seal it out of your fuel storage system.  You can use a desiccant breather as a way to filter moisture from the atmosphere from getting into our tank.

If your tank does not have a desiccant breather on it, your fuel tank can collect condensation. As air moves in and out of the tank with temperature changes, moisture will collect on the wall of the tank. Yeasts, bacteria, fungi, and algae can grow in that water which collects on the bottom of the tank. Make sure your tank is not a habitat for growing bugs every spring and winter.

Microbiological growth in diesel fuel, also known as “humbug” in fuel, can start growing and if unchecked, will wreak havoc with your fleet. Once it starts in your fuel tank it will spread throughout your fleet. If you see a random need to spin filters between services or odd fuel-related maintenance issues, you likely have bugs growing in your fuel tanks.

Star Oilco recommends BioGuard Plus 6 as a regular biocide for routine maintenance.  

BioGuard Plus 6 is the only EPA certified biocide product that has both a biocide as well as a fuel stabilizer with detergent in one product. This detergent stabilizer acts as an aggressive tank cleaner (NOTE: BioGuard available without Plus 6).

When using Valvtect BioGuard, treat first with a kill, done in your bulk diesel storage. That will spread and kill the growing bugs in your fleet. Maintenance will clean up any remaining bacteria. If you do not have a known or seen problem, a kill twice a year is a great way to guarantee it does not appear and treat the individual tanks of your fleet.

ValvTect BioGuard™ PLUS 6Valvtect BioGuard Plus 6

BioGuard® Plus 6™ is the ONLY EPA registered diesel additive that combines a biocide with a multi-functional diesel additive to prevent bacteria, algae and all other major diesel related problems.

BioGuard Plus 6 is the perfect solution for ultra low sulfur diesel and biodiesel problems; such as bacteria, algae, excess water, sludge, filter plugging, injector wear & deposits, poor fuel economy and unstable fuel.

Only BioGuard Plus 6 prevents bacteria and algae growth, plus:

  • Stabilizes fuel for up to 2 years
  • Prevents rust and corrosion
  • Lubricates pumps and injectors
  • Cleans-up injector deposits
  • Disperses moisture
  • Increases cetane

ValvTect BioGuard Plus 6
“It’s ALL Your Diesel Fuel Needs!”

32 oz Bottle treats 375 Gallons
1 Gallon Bottle treats 1500 Gallons
Also available in 2.5 Gallon Plastic Bottles, 55 Gallon Drums and 300 Gallon Totes

BioGuard ULS Fuel Microbiocide

BioGuard is an EPA registered dual soluble (fuel & water) microbiocide that effectively kills bacteria and fungi that grow in diesel fuel, heating oil and gasoline. BioGuard also prevents bacteria caused filter plugging and bacteria caused corrosion of the fuel system.

BioGuard typically works in 2-3 hours versus 24-36 hours needed by other biocide products. BioGuard has also been found to be up to twice as effective as other biocides.

BioGuard can be used in all diesel and gasoline bulk tanks and vehicle tanks, including marine, farm, truck fleet, home heat, generators, and railroad storage tanks.

  • Kills bacteria and other biocontamination quickly
  • Twice as effective as other biocides
  • Breaks up sludge and slime
  • Prevents bacteria plugged filters
  • Prevents bacteria caused corrosion
  • Bottle contains easy measuring spout

16 oz. container treats 460 gallons of diesel fuel at the initial kill treat rate.
16 oz. container treats 920 gallons of diesel fuel at the maintenance treat rate.

 

For a more in depth description of Valvtect BioGuard Plus 6 please click here.

If you have any questions about routine tank maintenance or to order Valvtect BioGuard products, please don’t hesitate to contact Star Oilco directly by email, message, or phone.

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For more information on storing diesel fuel please see the following articles from Star Oilco:

If you are interested in getting a Diesel Storage tank Star Oilco can help.

For a great document on everything diesel we recommend this Diesel Technical Review.

For best practices on storing generator fuel we recommend reading this Emergency Back Up Generator Fuel Storage.

If you are trying to keep your stored diesel dry here is an article we wrote on Desiccant Breathers for your fuel tanks.

If you are looking at getting serious about Diesel Fuel Quality Assurance here is an article we wrote about keeping your diesel cleaner and drier.

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.

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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.

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 

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)

 

Dyed Off-Road Diesel
Every Question We Have Been Asked About Off-Road Diesel 700 700 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Off-Road Diesel

Got questions about Red Dyed Diesel?  We have answers!

(If you do not see the answer you need, message or call Star Oilco.  We will gladly answer that too.)

Dyed Off-Road Diesel

What is red diesel?

Red Diesel is Off-road diesel, in the United States this fuel is denoted with a red dye. The dye marks this as fuel for off-road equipment and vehicles and as such it doesn’t have road fuel taxes included in the price.  This dye takes a great deal of clear fuel to dilute so it makes it very obvious if an on-road vehicle has been using off-road untaxed fuel. Tax authorities can and do check for vehicles using off-road red diesel in on-road vehicles. They do this by using a black light to spot any residual presence of dye in the fuel as well as at key places in the engine compartment.

What is green diesel?

On-road diesel is clear or slightly green. Refineries place a green dye into diesel fuel which is obvious if fuel is freshly dispensed into a bottle to observe its color. As fuel ages this dye fades to yellow or darker colors. Part of a visual observation to inspect diesel fuel quality is to check the fuel for a “bright” appearance with the slight green dye being a giveaway that the diesel is fresh and in good condition.

What is dyed diesel?

Nearly all diesel has dye in it. Typically when talking about dyed diesel, we’re referring to a red dye added to off-road diesel. Off-road diesel is normally used for heating oil, construction fueling, agricultural use, and other off-road equipment not used on the highway system where fuel taxes would be required by law.

What is farm diesel?

Farm or diesel for agricultural use is off-road diesel that is not charged on-road fuel taxes. Agricultural use fuel is a tax-exempt use of diesel fuel. If diesel is burned on a farm and can be tracked for such, taxes can be avoided. Farms are allowed to receive clear diesel without road taxes charged on it in Oregon. Often it is dyed red to denote it is tax free. In Oregon, where P.U.C. for trucks over 26,000 GVW pay a weight mile tax instead of a per gallon state road tax, some farms will track their use of clear diesel so they can file for Federal road taxes on off-road usage.

What color is dyed diesel?

All diesel sold in the United States typically has some dye in it. On-road diesel usually has a slight green tint to it. This is a dye added by either the refiner or terminal provider with the fuel. Off road diesels are dyed red to denote that the fuel is untaxed and is for use in off-road purposes only.

What is the red dye used to turn off-road diesel red?

Solvent Red 26 and Solvent Red 164 are the allowed dyes prescribed by the United States Internal Revenue Service for marking diesel as for un-taxed off-road use only.

Why is diesel dyed?

Diesel is dyed in order to denote if it has paid road tax or not. On-road diesel in the United States usually has a light green tint to it. Off-road diesel has a red dye to denote it has not paid road taxes as required by all states and the Federal government.

Dyed Diesel also called Red Diesel is used for vehicles that don't drive on public roads.

What is off-road diesel?

Off-road diesel is diesel fuel dyed red to show it is untaxed and available only for off-road fuel uses such as construction fueling, equipment never used on a public road, agricultural use, heating oil, boiler fuel, and other non-taxed diesel fuel uses under state and Federal fuel tax law. In Oregon, with proper paperwork, some off-road uses can buy on-road fuel with the Oregon state tax exemption.

Is dyed or off-road diesel flammable?

Off-road diesel is classified as a Class II combustible liquid by the National Fire Code. A flammable fuel is one with a flash point below 100 degrees F. Diesel’s flash point is between 126 and 205 degrees F (typically assumed to be about 160 degrees F).  That classifies it as a Class II combustible.

Is off-road diesel or dyed diesel high sulfur diesel?

Dyed diesel (or off-road diesel) can be high sulfur fuel. High sulfur diesel is defined as diesel fuel with over 500 parts per million of sulfur content.

Is off-road diesel or dyed diesel ultra-low sulfur diesel?

Off-road and dyed diesel fuels can be ultra-low sulfur but are not guaranteed to be. There has been a consistent push to reduce sulfur in all fuels in the United States as led by EPA regulation. In recent years, EPA standards require off-road construction and agricultural equipment to have an emissions system that allow ultra-low sulfur to operate without major problems. So today’s off-road diesel being delivered is ultra-low sulfur. If you have a tank with old stored dyed red diesel fuel in it, you can assume it has a higher than ultra-low sulfur content.

What is dyed ULSD fuel?

Dyed ULSD fuel is ultra-low sulfur diesel with a red dye in it to denote that it is for off-road or untaxed purposes only. These purposes are typically for heating oil, construction fuel, agricultural fuel, generator fuel or other off-road uses. The “ULSD” is an acronym for ultra-low sulfur diesel.

Is dyed diesel #1 or # 2 diesel?

Dyed diesel can be either #1 or #2 diesel. Both fuels require a red dye in them to confirm they are untaxed and cannot be used for on road fuels.

Why does the government require diesel be dyed red?

From a informational pamphlet from the US IRS on untaxed fuel:

“The federal government requires dyeing of untaxed diesel fuel and kerosene for two reasons. To help reduce tax evasion by identifying fuel on which excise taxes have not been paid, and to help reduce air pollution by identifying fuel not suitable for use in highway vehicles.”

Is dyed diesel and off-road diesel kerosene?

Dyed diesel and off-road diesel can be kerosene (which crosses as #1 diesel fuel), but not necessarily. Do not assume a dyed fuel is kerosene, which is a rarer fuel. Kerosene is different than #1 diesel for one characteristic: its confirmed ability to be absorbed and taken up by a wick. All kerosene is #1 diesel.  Not all #1 diesel fuels are kerosene. The same goes for dyed diesels and off-road fuels. All dyed kerosene is dyed and off-road diesel. Not all dyed fuel is kerosene.

Is dyed diesel and off-road diesel stove oil?

Yes, dyed diesel and off-road diesel are stove oil. Typically a #1 stove oil or #2 stove oil, similar to diesel. Historically stove oils had a slightly different set of specification concerns which is why they were called “stove oils” versus diesel. When petroleum refineries distilled crude oils to get diesel range fuels, it was less exact than it is today with hydrocracking technology. Today with both oil refinery technologies and the EPA emission regulations, the number of distillate range fuel specifications is far more consolidated in order to ensure compliance with EPA and state rules. If your heating appliance is demanding stove oil, it typically needs a #1 stove oil or #1 kerosene product. This product is expected to produce less soot and therefore to work better in a pot stove type of application. The most modern stove oil appliance in the U.S. are Monitor and Toyostove thermostatically controlled direct vent heaters.

Is off-road diesel bad for my truck?

Depends on the year of your truck, and we assume you mean red dyed diesel fuel.  First, using dyed diesel, off road diesel, or heating oil in an on-road vehicle is against the law.  If you are caught in Oregon the fine can be as big as $10,000 and the State of Oregon does aggressively pursue this type of tax avoidance.  Beyond the legal use of off-road fuel.  Typically on the west coast dyed diesel is ultra low sulfur diesel. Which means it will not cause maintenance issues if burned in your engine.  Dependent on the age of the dyed fuel, or if it is actually a heating oil, it might be high sulfur or low sulfur fuel. If you use that in a post 2007 engine with a particulate trap it will have serious maintenance issues if you use that fuel.

Is dyed diesel or off-road diesel heating oil?

Yes, dyed diesel and off-road diesel are acceptably used as heating oil. Dyed diesel and off-road diesel these days are typically ultra-low sulfur diesel. Heating oil can be low sulfur or high sulfur in content under EPA and most state laws. So heating oil sometimes cannot be dyed diesel (when used for off-road equipment or agricultural use) but dyed/off-road diesel can always be used for heating oil and conform to the necessary specification required by heating oil furnaces.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is 15 PPM

Does off-road diesel have sulfur in it?

Yes! But in today’s ultra-low sulfur market, most off-road diesel is below 15 parts per million. If your equipment requires ultra-low sulfur diesel, it is a good practice to confirm that is what fuel you are getting. Some low sulfur diesel (under 500 parts per million sulfur fuel) and high sulfur diesel (over 500 parts per million sulfur) is still in the marketplace used by heating oil, boiler systems, locomotive, and marine applications.

Does off-road diesel freeze?

Off-road diesel gels at cold temperatures. At colder temperatures, wax crystals begin to form and fall out of the diesel, clogging filters and gelling up the fuel. Also, the water and naturally held-in diesel will ice up and obstruct filters. This phenomenon is called diesel gelling.

Does off-road diesel gel in cold weather?

All diesel fuels will gel if it gets cold enough. Both a formation of wax crystals and ice forming in your fuel will obstruct filters and take your equipment down. Rule of thumb: with no treatment your diesel fuel should operate without any issues above 20 degrees F. Below 20 degrees F, you will want to ensure your vendor is treating the fuel for winter use to ensure it will operate down to -20 degrees F.  If you are facing temperatures below that, you will want to confirm with your vendor that they are testing that fuel to operate below -20 degrees F.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

Does off-road diesel go bad?

Off-road and dyed diesel do age and can go bad. All 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. Ensuring there is no water in the tank and that outside contaminants can’t get into a tank are how keep your fuel within specification.

How long can I store off-road or dyed diesel in a fuel tank?

Untreated, you can assume that diesel fuel is good for a year. If treated with a biocide to prevent biological growth from growing in the tank, you can expect diesel to be good for two to three years. After two to three years, diesel begins to show age as it loses its brightness when sampled. After three years you will want to sample and test the fuel to ensure it is within specification for reliable use.

What is the difference between off-road diesel and on-road diesel?

Fuel taxes charged is the big difference between the two fuels. All on-road diesel is clear or greenish in color to denote it is both ultra-low sulfur diesel and the on-road fuel taxes associated with using it to power a highway vehicle have been paid. Dyed fuel means that fuel taxes are not paid and that the fuel can not be used to power a vehicle on a public road.

Oregon Diesel Taxes Explained

What are the fuel taxes on off-road diesel?

Fuel taxes vary by state and sometimes even local municipality. With off-road diesel, usually the only taxes to consider are sales taxes on the fuel. In Oregon there are no taxes on dyed off-road fuel. In Washington state there are sales taxes for dyed-diesel charged on top of the sale price of the fuel. (NOTE: If you use clear diesel in Washington state there is no sales tax as the road tax is being charged.)  If you are curious for a more in depth answer Star Oilco has a full explanation of Oregon Diesel Taxes (a unique system in the United States for local fuel tax collection of trucks over 26,000 GVW).

Do you pay sales tax on dyed diesel or off-road diesel in Washington state?

Yes. If you are consuming dyed diesel and are not paying for the on-road fuel taxes in Washington state, the sales tax is charged. If you use clear fuel with road taxes attached to the fuel, the sales tax is not charged. For more on Washington fuel taxes see the Washington Department of Revenue.

What are the taxes on dyed diesel or off-road diesel in Oregon state?

Your petroleum distributor has some small taxes (under $.01) attached to the fuel they buy at the wholesale terminal level. Those taxes being the U.S. EPA Superfund cleanup and the “LUST” or Leaking Underground Storage Tank cleanup fund. Beyond that, there are no taxes (Federal, state or local municipality) on fuel used for off-road diesel in Oregon state.

Is there a way to buy clear diesel without a road tax on it?

In Oregon you can buy clear fuel exempt of Oregon’s state road taxes. The qualifications for using clear diesel Oregon State tax exempt are the following:

  • vehicles issued a valid ODOT Motor Carrier permit or pass (weight receipt)
  • vehicles issued a valid Use Fuel User emblem by the ODOT Fuels Tax Group
  • vehicles registered to a US government agency, Oregon state agency, Oregon county or city, and displays a valid Oregon “E” plate
  • vehicles, or farm tractors/equipment only incidentally operated on the highway as defined in ORS 319.520
  • vehicles or equipment that are unlicensed and/or used exclusively on privately owned property

What happens if I use dyed diesel in an on-road vehicle?

If you get caught in Oregon, a $10,000 a day fine can be levied. We have seen fuel tax cheats get caught repeatedly so be aware Oregon is on the look out for any amount of dye in the saddle tank of an on-road vehicle. If the fuel you use is low sulfur or high sulfur fuel and your vehicle has a particulate trap, you will have maintenance issues with the emission system of your vehicle.

Can you use dyed diesel in a diesel pickup truck?

Only if that pickup is dedicated to an off-road use. If you plan to ever use that truck on a public road (even to cross a street), and dyed fuel is found in that vehicle, fines up to $10,000 per occurrence can (and are) levied by state regulators. If you have a closed facility or large farm and are not registering the vehicle for on-road use (so the pickup must not leave the site), you can use off-road diesel as the vehicle’s fuel. If you have license plates and it’s permitted for on-road use, any regulator spotting dyed fuel in that truck will presume it is an on-road pickup.

How does the government test if someone used dyed diesel?

Typically when checking for illegal use of dyed fuel, regulators will sample from the tank or spin the fuel filter and observe for obvious dyed fuel. If the fuel is clear (or even slightly pink) and they suspect dyed fuel was used in the vehicle, they can apply a special black light that will glow an obvious color denoting dyed fuel had been in contact with the vehicle. They will shine that light on the filter, fuel tanks, and various parts in the engine compartment that would have come into contact with the fuel. If those areas denote even a mild trace of the red-dye used in off-road diesel, they will cite the vehicle operator. There are kits sold online for filtering dye out of fuel to remove the color.  Those kits will not remove enough dye to avoid detection by these lights.

Why is off road diesel illegal for pick up trucks to use?

Off road diesel is dyed red to show that the on-road fuel taxes are not paid or that it is a tax-free fuel.  The Federal Government and State Government’s have fuel taxes for on-road fuel usage to help pay for the roads we all drive on.  If you are using diesel for a non-road equipment, machinery, or heating/boiler applications the fuel taxes are exempt and the fuel is dyed to ensure it’s tax free status is immediately seen.  Regulators in a road side or site level inspection can also shine a black light on specific places in a vehicles system to denote if dyed fuel is being used in violation of the law as well.

 

What is the difference between dyed diesel and heating oil?

In the Pacific Northwest at the current moment? Usually nothing. Heating oil is dyed diesel. Most petroleum distributors are selling the mainstream dyed diesel specification for use as heating oil in order to lower the overall cost of the fuel. There are different ASTM specifications for heating oil and dyed diesel dependent on the state you buy it in. Heating oil’s specification has wider tolerances than diesel specifications as furnaces and boilers can handle dirtier, lower quality fuels than off-road equipment with a particulate trap. Heating oil is always a diesel fuel, but sometimes dyed diesel for off-road equipment has a different specification than heating oil. For example, in Oregon a 5% biodiesel or 5% renewable diesel mandate exists for any dyed diesel fuel used in off-road equipment. This biofuel mandate exempts heating oil and boilers. So heating oil can be biodiesel free but off-road diesel for equipment cannot.

Can refrigerated trailers or “reefers” use dyed diesel even if they are attached to a truck moving it on the highway?

Yes, refrigerated trailers are off-road equipment. The diesel fueled refrigeration trailer is off-road equipment as its engine is not powering something actually driving down the road. These trailers can use any ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (dyed or clear). If using on-road clear fuel in a refrigerated trailer, if you track and keep proof of the on-road fuel being used in the off-road piece of equipment, you can file for those fuel taxes back. Proof is required though so consult with your CPA or accountant.

How do I order off-road diesel for a construction project?

The first step is to set up an account with Star Oilco. It’s easy to pay through a simple credit application or by placing a credit card on the account. Oregon and Washington are highly regulated when it comes to fuels such as diesel. We need to account for who is ordering and getting fuel (yes, Oregon even checks sometimes as the DEQ tracks every gallon of diesel moving into the state). Determine if you want a loaner tank onsite or a keep-full service plan. Star Oilco will deliver bulk or wet hose fuel your job site on a regular schedule. We are here to make it as easy as possible for you to focus on your project, not fueling. Let us know what you want: we will keep it simple and make it easy for you.

How do I stop biological growth in my off-road diesel fuel tank?

If you are storing off-road or dyed diesel for longer than six months you will want to make sure it is stabalized. Star Oilco recommends Valvtect Plus Six as the fuel additive you want to use.  Our recommended fuel additive is a fuel microbiocide with stability additives made for diesel long term storage.  This kills and prevents the growth of biological “hum-bugs” in your tank.  Bacteria, yeast, and algae can grow in your fuel tank. Usually in a small amount of water that collects in the bottom of the fuel storage tank (be it the bulk tank you  fuel out of or the saddle tank on your equipment).

How do I get water out of my off-road diesel equipment’s fuel tank?

There are several ways to do this.  What you will want to do varies based on how much water and what it is in.  If you are dealing with a large bulk fuel tank you want to definitely pump the tank bottom to get the water out.  If you are seeing extreme biological activity (Hum-Bug growing in your tank) you want to do a kill dose treatment on that tank. It might not be a bad idea to also spend a few thousand dollars to have a professional tank cleaning company come in and manually clean the tank prior to adding the kill dose to kill anything growing in your tank.  If it’s the tank on your equipment usually the best route is to drain the tank, flush the tank, and also put a kill dose of  a fuel microbiocide to make sure nothing continues to grow.  If you want to talk to someone feel free to call Star Oilco, you do not need to be our customer for us to walk through some solutions you can do yourself.

Where can I buy Off-Road or Dyed Diesel?

There are a very few rural gas stations that provide this fuel.  Some Pacific Pride or CFN cardlock locations also have pump available for this fuel.  The easiest way to acquire this fuel is through a fuel company.  Star Oilco is one such company that can deliver dyed diesel for it’s customers, or provide cardlock cards for its customers.

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Sunflower Oil & Tung Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Sunflower Oil & Tung Oil

We are nearing the end of our journey, as there is only one more blog after this one. If you would like to look back and see all of the feedstocks we have covered start here with our first post.  In this post we explore the feedstocks Sunflower Oil and Tung Oil as we continue our look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report.

Sunflower Oil

The Sunflower oil in this project was purchased from Jedwards, International, Inc.  The common sunflower scientific name is Helianthus annuus. Sunflowers at late afternoon. Flowerheads facing East, away from the Sun.

First domesticated in the Americas the plant was exported to Europe in the 16th century and has become a staple as a cooking ingredient.  According Wildflower.org the common sunflower prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The plant grows up to 8 feet tall and has coarse hairy stems and leaves. The flowers are bright yellow surrounding a central maroon disk, that as it matures, holds the seeds and produces the oil.

The most known uses for sunflower seeds and its oils include; foods, cooking oils and butters. The pressed seed oil is useful for food and the resulting cake (matter left after the oil is harvested) is commonly used as animal food. One of the more interesting uses for the plant is, that it can produce a natural latex in its leaves. This latex can be used to produce hypoallergenic gloves.  The purpose of this post though is to discuss the possibility of biofuel created from sunflower seeds. Biodiesel magazine talks about both the pros and cons for this plant as a feedstock option:

“Because sunflower oil is priced higher than soybean and canola oils, its use as a feedstock for commercial biodiesel refining may be hindered in the U.S. market, according to the National Sunflower Association (NSA). However, there is an interest in the tall golden flowers because the seeds yield about 600 pounds of oil per acre, considerably more than soybeans, which produce a little over 500 pounds per acre.”

Because of the high value of the oil in other areas, using the oil for biodiesel can be cost prohibitive.  Higher concentrates of oil per acre can be vital as more efficiency in  biofuel production becomes necessary. According to Farm Energy, 15,000 to 25,000 plants per acre can be grown.  This means that a small or large farm can use this crop profitably or simply in the production of fuel for that farm.

Sunflower Oil and Sunflower biodiesel

 

 

Tung Oil

The Tung oil from this study was purchased from Sigma-Aldrich Co. The Tung tree, Vernicia fordii, is native to China and Vietnam.  This tree can be over 60 feet in height and is deciduous. Tung Tree at the Botanical Gardens Faculty of Science Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan According to Texas Invasive Species Institute:

“The bark is smooth, thin, and exudes white sap when cut. The leaves are simple, heart-shaped or with three lobes, and 6-10 inches long. The white flowers have 5 petals with red veins, and they bloom before the leaves emerge. The toxic fruits can grow up to 3 inches in diameter and are reddish green when fully developed.”

This tree is valued for its oil from the seeds.  Traditionally this oil was used in lamps and even as waterproofing on boats.  In more contemporary time this oil is used in varnishes and paint.  This value encouraged the importation of this tree. According to Texas Invasive Species Institute there was over 10,000 acres planted in the United States in 1927.  Cultivation of this tree has waned in the US after frosts and hurricanes destroyed many of the plantations.

This is one feedstock that isn’t part of the food vs fuel controversy.  The Tung tree and its oil is poisons to humans.  Even one seed from the fruit can be fatal, with symptoms including slowed breathing, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Tung Oil and Tung Biodiesel

Tung Oil/Bio-diesel Certificate of Analysis

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was – Soybean Oil & Stillingia Oil

If you would like to learn more about bio-diesel you can check out this post Every Question We Have Been Asked About Biodiesel