Bio Smart® Biodiesel
Information regarding biodiesel is so vast that it could fill the pages of a book. Bells Fuels is an experienced distributor of biodiesel. In fact, we are the largest distributor of biodiesel in Northern Illinois. Based on our experience and the data that we have gathered over the years, we will present the facts about biodiesel in a clear, knowledgeable and brief format for your understanding.
What is Biodiesel?
The word “biodiesel” is an ingenious term that describes its two faces: “Bio” from biomass, i.e., renewable organic matter and “diesel” from Dr. Rudolf Diesel who invented the compression-ignition engine in 1895. His invention has become to be known as the diesel engine. Biodiesel is a fossil fuel substitute, produced solely to power diesel engines.
100% pure biodiesel does not contain any petroleum hydrocarbons or fossil fuels of any kind. Pure biodiesel is a biomass derived from domestic renewable fats and oils. The renewable source of pure biodiesel can be created in just a few months or in a growing season. Petroleum fossil fuels, on the other hand, take millions of years to form.
There are three basic sources used as “feedstock” for the production of biodiesel:
• Vegetable Oil: Soybean, corn, rapeseed/canola, peanut, sunflower, mustard seed and other plants.
• Recycled Cooking Oil: Reclaimed restaurant grease.
• Animal Fat: By-product of animal rendering.
Biodiesel is the fastest growing renewable fuel in the United States. It is estimated that by the Year 2010, American produced biodiesel will displace one billion gallons of petroleum distillate.
Pure biodiesel is identified as B100 and has been standardized through the American Society of Testing and Materials’ ASTM D6751-7b specification. If the fuel does NOT meet this specification, it is not biodiesel.
In blends of 20% or greater, biodiesel was designated as an alternative fuel in 1992. Biodiesel is a clean-burning oxygenated fuel (oxygenated referring to more complete combustion) which is primarily made from virgin vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel is chemically known as:
In order to process virgin plant oil or animal fat into biodiesel, the oils or fats go through a chemical process called transesterfication. This process involves breaking down oil molecules and adding alcohol to create three mono-alkyl-esters. Through this chemical procedure, the esters are engineered to be less viscous, thus making the biodiesel a suitable product as a diesel fuel substitute.
Lastly, biodiesel is registered as a fuel and a fuel additive with the EPA. Biodiesel is also the first and only alternative fuel to have fully completed the rigorous “Health Effects” testing requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1990.
Environmentally-Friendly – Breath a Little Easier
Biodiesel is America’s Fuel Champ…No Question About It! With its lower emissions status due to feedstock from non-toxic renewable sources, biodiesel has been thrust into the environmentally-friendly limelight.
Fuel Champ – Here are the reasons why:
• No aromatics: Cancer-causing toxic compounds i.e., Benzene, Toluene, Xylene
• No sulfur
• Free from lead
• Ten times less toxic than table salt
• Biodegrades as fast as sugar
• Biogrades up to 4x times faster than petroleum diesel
• Reduces the lifecycle of carbon monoxide
• Reduction of noxious exhaust fumes
• High flash point – Safest fuel to use and to transport
In an EPA technical report (2003) on biodiesel emissions, it was concluded that particulate matter (soot) from pure biodiesel, B100, is approximately 47% lower than particulate matter emissions released from petroleum diesel fuel.
Lower emissions and improved air quality from cleaner-burning biodiesel are the reasons why Illinois School Bus Transport programs are making the switch to biodiesel.
Across the United States, 24 million children a day are transported to and from school on buses. Air quality studies have shown that those children who ride buses are exposed to higher exhaust emission levels than those children who have other means of transportation.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, in a study conducted by the University of California – Berkeley, diesel exhaust contains harmful particulate matter that causes asthma and other respiratory conditions in children. Biodiesel is good for the environment and great for our kids.
Biodiesel Blends and Their Percentages
B100 can be blended with petroleum diesel fuel at any percentage starting with B1 to B99. However, the most popular blends nationwide are ratios ranging from 2% B2 to 20% B20. Bell Fuels offers the following blends:
• 2% -- B2
• 5% -- B5
• 11% -- B11
• 20% -- B20
Feedstock: Nothing But The Best
It is important for a Bio Smart® biodiesel customer to know why we use soybean oil for our feedstock…because it is the highest quality feedstock available in the United States. Additionally, Bell Fuels is dedicated to helping the American farmer…What is good for the American farmer is also good for the American economy.
The other sources of feedstock; recycled cooking oil and rendered animal fat, both have inherent quality control problems that require additional treatment and processing.
The quality of recycled cooking oil is diminished due to repeated heating at high temperatures and the possibility of contamination from food. If not properly processed, biodiesel made from animal fat tend to experience inconsistent and poor cold weather properties.
Soybeans are the most commonly grown crop in the United States; produced in 29 states with an annual bushel yield of 70 million tons. A planted acre of soybeans yields 48 gallons of soybean oil or one bushel of soybeans yields approximately 1.5 gallons of biodiesel.
Biodiesel and Cold Weather Performance
How effective is biodiesel in cold weather operations? The answer to that question is….Very Effective, provided that the supplier has done his homework. Let us explain.
Both petroleum diesel and biodiesel fuels have inherent properties that require the user to be aware of the fuels’ cold weather performance levels.
It is no secret to a truck operator that petroleum diesel fuel will characteristically become more viscous (thicker) in colder temperatures if the fuel is left untreated. There are three trigger points that occur in petroleum diesel fuel during cold weather.
• Cloud Point - The temperature at which paraffin wax begins to crystallize.
• Cold Filter Plugging Point - The lowest temperature at which diesel fuel will pass through a fine wire mesh, i.e. fuel filter. No established temperature criterion.
• Pour Point - The point at which wax crystals cause the fuel to gel.
Biodiesel reaches these three stages at higher (warmer) temperatures compared to diesel fuel. The type of feedstock further affects the cloud point. For example, biodiesel produced from recycled cooking oil and animal fats will cloud at higher temperature than the biodiesel made from virgin vegetable oils. This cloud point issue is another reason why Bell Fuels has chosen soybean vegetable oil as our feedstock for our Bio Smart® biodiesel.
Preparing the Way for Cold Weather Performance
Engineered to be the best for enhancing the performance of petroleum diesel fuel, Bell Fuels has long promoted our Premium D-2 proprietary additive to correct the performance shortcomings of diesel fuel. With the introduction of biodiesel into Bell’s product line, the proven Premium D-2 additive performed in biodiesel as expected.
Bell Fuels routinely sends biodiesel samples to independent fuel analysis labs for testing CFPP temperatures. The documented test results, depending on the blend ratio’s, verify CFPP temperatures to range from -20o to -25o Fahrenheit.
Bell Fuels guarantees our Bio Smart® biodiesel to “Keep on Flowing” in extreme cold weather situations.
Biodiesel: Benefitting Your Fleet and Your Bottom Line
• High Cetane Number: Measure of ignition/even combustion qualities; easy starting at low temperatures.
• High Lubricity Value: Increase engine life.
• Modifications: None needed to your engine or fuel storage system.
• Non-Toxic Exhaust: Biodiesel exhaust is less noxious. Therefore, shop mechanics report a great reduction in eye and skin sensitivities.
• Biodegradable: If a spill occurs, biodiesel will biodegrade up to four times faster than petroleum diesel.
• Illinois Sales Tax Savings.
• Tax Rebate: Offered on 20% blends, B20, through Illinois Alternative Fuels Program.
What The Future Holds
Biodiesel’s potential as a fossil fuel substitute is impressive. How impressive? In terms of numbers it remains to be seen. Optimistic estimates suggest that the United States could displace 20% of its petroleum crude oil usage in the coming decade. Regardless of percentages and datelines, biodiesel is America’s great emerging hope to help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
As a forward-looking company, Bell Fuels is committed to the idea that alternative fuels will be the next vital energy step for America.
Working with fuel engineers, biodiesel manufacturers and the National Biodiesel Board, in order to develop our own level of expertise, Bell Fuels has gone through the necessary learning curve regarding bio-blending and distribution techniques.
Bell has taken a careful and sophisticated approach to biodiesels pro’s and con’s. And in doing so, believe that by adding our proprietary Premium D-2 additive to biodiesel blends, we have developed a finished product that is superior to any other biodiesel blend on the market. So much do we believe in the product that we have developed, Bell has trademarked the product’s name -- Bio Smart®.
We believe that an educated consumer coupled with an experienced supplier, will equate to the consumer having a trouble-free experience with biodiesel. That is why we have taken a little more of your time to explain the properties of biodiesel.
Lastly, we would like our customers to know that the future is NOW for Bell Fuels – We operate 100% of our truck fleet on Bio Smart® biodiesel. We are a green fleet. What does the future hold for your fleet?