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I see it's time for the annual winter fuel treatment class.
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I see we have a few questions about winter fuel treatment. Let me start by saying, I'm not an expert at this, just an educated amateur. So, your mileage may vary.

Here's a copy, with a few minor revisions, of my previous post about how I do winter fuel.

When you speak of winter treatment of biodiesel, you have entered the dark arts.

I say that because your homebrew can be subtly or dramatically different than mine, your vehicle can be more or less tolerant of some wax precipitate, and your weather can certainly be different than mine. The following discussion assumes you are making top quality, well converted, properly washed, dried and filtered biodiesel. If you are cutting corners on any of that, you can get stranded and freeze your genitals off. You’ve been warned.

Despite all that, here are some general guidelines:

A. Your starting oil matters. Unhydrogenated canola is generally considered to make the best winter biodiesel. Soy is pretty good. Animal fats, coconut oil and palm oil are terrible winter stocks. The resultant biodiesel gels in the temp range of 40-70F. Partially hydrogenated oils (shortening, often a semi-liquid) can give anything from good to terrible winter performance. Fully hydrogenated veggie oils (even canola) make lousy winter fuel. These oils are solid at room temperature.

B. Blending with winterized petro diesel works, kerosene works even better. The colder it gets, the more diesel or kero you need. I'll post some data from Duffscience later that shows how much petro diesel or kerosene it takes to attain a certain gel temp. There’s also a link with a nifty calculator to estimate how much K-1 you need.

C. Additives. None of the diesel additives for winter work as well in biodiesel as they do in petro diesel. Some additives work reasonably well if you double or triple the percentage added. This can get quite expensive. There is a lot of research going on right now to find the holy grail additive that will relieve us of the need to mix petro. So far as I know (September, 2007) it doesn’t exist yet.

Whatever scheme you decide on, be certain to do your own freezer testing to find out how your blend works. You should measure cloud temp (the temp at which the biodiesel starts to get wispy cloudy stuff (wax crystals coming out of solution)) and gel temp, the temp at which the biodiesel no longer behaves as a liquid when you tilt your container on its side. You can drive, for a time, with cloudy fuel. But eventually the wax crystals will plug your fuel filter and you will be walking. Once the fuel gels, you are totally beat. Cloud temp is usually a few to several degrees above gel temp.

Oh yeah, and if your fuel clouds at 30F overnight, you might discover that it clouds at 37 F if you chill it/check it for a few days. Same with gel temps. An “overnight” reading of 17F is no guarantee that it won’t gel at 8 or 10 degrees (F) higher if you chill it for a week. Did I mention that this is a black art?

Here's what I do, which is a combination of blending with K-1, additives and cold processing to take the high temp waxes out.

1: Mix your washed/dried Biodiesel with some percentage of kerosene. I typically add enough kerosene to make true B-66. Do the mixing warm if at all possible and mix it well. By warm, I mean more than 60F.

2. Add 3x the recommended amount of Power Service DFS (Diesel Fuel Supplement) cetane improver. This comes in a white bottle and is available at most Wal-Marts and just about any truck stop. Mix well. Some sources say this step must be done at warm temperatures (like around 60F) to be maximally effective.

3. Cold processing. That's where you "refrigerate" your mix for a few days (which in my case usually means leaving it outside for a few days) and then siphoning out the liquid portion the next day and leaving the crystallized sludge portion for summer use. If I don’t get 3 days of good cold weather, I throw a couple of cubies in the freezer for 24 hours. A longer chill period is much more effective than a short one. It's amazing how much more junk precipitates after a full day in the freezer compared with just overnight. Then I let it warm up a bit to clarify the liquid fuel and really settle the waxes. This improves yields a little. Make sure you do this so you can go right to the siphoning step without disturbing the jug. Siphon the clear stuff out and you’re good to go. The finished product of course is no longer B-66, but something less than that, depending on 27 different things.

I use a siphon with a “J” shaped bend on the end that I made out of 2 copper 90’s. It makes it much easier to siphon from the top down and not disturb the waxy sludge on the bottom. The colder you chill the mix, the better the anti-gel performance in cold temps, and the lower your yield. Interestingly, the precipitated sludge has more BTU’s per liter, so you may notice slightly reduced performance on the winter blend. The “sludge” makes great summer fuel.

That's it for the fuel. Of course, there are other factors as well:

1. My car always sits in a garage overnight, along with my wife's car. This helps retain heat. Perhaps your car is exposed to the full fury of winter temps overnight…

2. I added a 120V coolant heater to my VW and use it religiously at or below freezing. So my engine does not start off stone cold in the morning. This increases under-hood temperatures and also makes my heater work right away, which is a nice bonus.

3. TDI engines like mine use a continuous fuel loop, so excess fuel (which is hot) gets returned to the tank. If it's cold out, it routes that hot fuel through the fuel filter canister. If your diesel doesn't do that, you could have a problem with wax crystals plugging the filter.

4. I have a Neoteric brand 12V fuel line heater activated by a rocker switch on the dash. This is in the fuel line just prior to the fuel filter.

5. Never fill the tank right full, so if you have a sudden -20F cold snap, you could dump a bunch of kerosene or winterized diesel in there, along with some more anti-gel additive. You’d at least stand a chance then.

6. I keep a quart jar of winter blend fuel outside on the way to the garage. That gives me a visual check of what's going on in the tank.

7. In some previous model years, they had a problematic fuel pickup in the tank that would plug with even trivial amounts of crystallization in the fuel. The newer design eliminates that problem. Who knows what your pickup looks like.

Please note that you should mix your blend for worst case scenario temperatures plus a fudge factor of several degrees. You should not look at the forecast for tomorrow and mix your blend for that exact temperature. Or maybe you like living on the edge???

Of course, you could just heat your fuel with the ultimate two tank system like Legal Eagle just documented over here in his classic mercedes:

http://www.b100wh.com/winterb100.html

Many feel that this is the ultimate solution. One of the tanks is for stinky diesel (petroleum diesel) or kerosene. You do your cold start (and shut down sequence) from the diesel/kerosene tank to purge the injection pump and filters of biodiesel, so it can't gell up in there. Then, in the morning, you start on diesel/kero and once the B-100 is warmed up enough to flow, you switch to biodiesel. Sweet! Of course, it's a lot more work up front to mod your vehicle like that, but you dramatically reduce your dependence on petroleum forever, so that's worth a lot. This is basically the same setup to convert a diesel to run on SVO, so you could also study up from the nice folks who burn Straight Veggie Oil all the time.

Eventually, the automakers will catch on and build it that way from the factory.

I am SUCH an optimist.


Here’s the charts and links I promised…

Try this newer link (good as of 2/1/07):
http://www.duffscience.com/bd_calculators.htm

The following numbers are all based on mixes with biodiesel made from new soy oil. YMMV

% BioDiesel %Wint.D Gel temp in F
10 90 2F
20 80 4
30 70 6
40 60 8
50 50 10
60 40 13
70 30 17
80 20 21
90 10 25
100 0 32


% BioDiesel %Kerosene Gel temp in F
10 90 -28
20 80 -23
30 70 -17
40 60 -11
50 50 -5
60 40 2
70 30 9
80 20 16
90 10 24
100 0 32


Finest regards,

troy

This message has been edited. Last edited by: troy,
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great post Troy..

Lets hope it heads off a few search-able questions.

I'm giving it 5 stars.


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Murph!

Oh yeah, I forgot to tack on that the "ultimate" solution is to have a two tank system, with a heated fuel tank and fuel lines and fuel filter for normal untreated biodiesel. The second fuel tank is smaller and is for startup and shut-down. You put stinky petrodiesel in there.

Legal has been promoting this idea for a while, and it's a good one. Perhaps he will post the link. Of course, it's a lot more work up front to mod your vehicle like that, but you reduce your dependence on petroleum forever, so that's worth a lot.

This is basically the same setup to convert a diesel to run on SVO, so nothing really novel.

Eventually, the automakers will catch on and build it that way from the factory.

I am SUCH an optimist.

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hope to do this to a semi someday. I assume that, compared with a svo system, fuel temp doesn't need to be nearly as high. Just keeping the fuel above cloud point is adequate. I wonder if the items closer to the engine heat like injectors, fuel line, filter, need to be warmed or if the engine heat would keep them warm enough, once engine temp is up of course. Probably would depend on the outside temperature........
 
Registered: April 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"I assume that, compared with a svo system, fuel temp doesn't need to be nearly as high."


Correct.


"I wonder if the items closer to the engine heat like injectors, fuel line, filter, need to be warmed or if the engine heat would keep them warm enough, once engine temp is up of course. Probably would depend on the outside temperature........"


Yes, dependent on ambient temperature, air flow under the hood, yada yada yada. Every situation is a little different.

Finest regards,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Troy,

Timely, well done, and very informative. Thanks for sharing.
 
Location: Illinois | Registered: February 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Troy
quote:
4. I have a Neoteric brand 12V fuel line heater activated by a rocker switch on the dash. This is in the fuel line just prior to the fuel filter.


How hard was this to install? I have more trouble with the Jetta in the winter (no heated fuel pump) verses my Excursion (heated filter).
 
Location: Central Texas | Registered: May 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Reggie:
Troy
quote:
4. I have a Neoteric brand 12V fuel line heater activated by a rocker switch on the dash. This is in the fuel line just prior to the fuel filter.


How hard was this to install? I have more trouble with the Jetta in the winter (no heated fuel pump) verses my Excursion (heated filter).


Moderate. Cut a fuel line. Stuff your heater in there. I had to splice an extra piece of fuel line in to make it all work. You need a relay heavy enough to carry the amps. I used a generic "headlight" relay for less than ten bucks from the nearest auto parts store. I ran a nice heavy wire straight from the battery, with a fuse holder/fuse. Not counting the heater, it was about $25 for the other odds and ends. I just bought the heater by itself. I think you can get a kit with everything you need, it just costs more. Big Grin

Try to get the lighted rocker switch, so it lights up when the circuit is on.

If I recall, with a bunch of fiddling around under the dash, it took about 3-4 hours. But I'm slow.

FWIW, some model years of Jettas have a tiny little orifice in the fuel pickup assembly in the tank that is a known problem for winter driving. The fix is to take the fuel pickup assembly out and drill out that restriction, if I recall. The '04 jettas were "fixed", so I never had to do that.

HTH,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Legal has been promoting this idea for a while, and it's a good one. Perhaps he will post the link. Of course, it's a lot more work up front to mod your vehicle like that, but you reduce your dependence on petroleum forever, so that's worth a lot.

This is basically the same setup to convert a diesel to run on SVO, so nothing really novel.


"Nothing novel???" I am crushed,whahahaha.
Anyway, you want link, I give you link to:
The Ultimate Cold Weather B100 System. I am presently having the trunk tank built to my specs and the convection box will follow. I am thinking of B2 to B5 in a tankful of K1 and then running B100 in the small tank all winter.I figure I should be able to get away with one fill up, at least that is the target, we shall see how that works out.
The car sleeps indoors in a 20C garage so I won't be having to worry about purging for shut down if I am coming home,just if I plan on stiopping in very cold weather for any length of time.
The way the Germans built the Benz in the '80's the two filters,a pre and a can,are right up close to the engine block and receive a good deal of heat from it (my thermometer probe gives me over 40C in summer and whatever ambient is on top of the prefilter in winter - last year windchill was -40C but I only registered -3C on the filter.The small prefilter is the weak point in the delivery system other than the fuel lines themselves,so that is where I stuck the thermo probe.
I have to check the Pollack 6 port I have to be sure it is still operating correctly,otherwise a new 6 port from V.O.Tech or a pair of 3's from GreaseCar will probably be in order, although failure of the Pollack has theorhetically been atributed to overheating in veggie systems, but in my mod of it there isn't that levle of heat involved so maybe another Pollack might be in order. We shall see. A new project on the horizon.



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Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love this thread!
Just added it to my "Using Biodiesel" section on my site in the Cold Weather section.
http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/usingbiodiesel.php

Great stuff!
-Graydon




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As an update, my fuel line heater, and insulated fuel filter has been working beautifully. I have not needed to prechill the fuel to remove the high freezing point waxes/esters.

I have had zero trouble with temps down to 15F and I'm running B70 using slightly hydrogenated soy wvo to make my biodiesel.

It's supposed to hit 6 or 7F this weekend, so I'll let everybody know if I'm walking to work or not. I might throw a little extra K1 in the tank just for insurance. That will sort of invalidate the scientific validity of the experiment, since I won't know exactly what percentage of kerosene is in the tank.

Or I might not, since I'm lazy, and I am curious how it will work.


Finest regards,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are several companies (Lubrizol, somethingCatalyst are the ones I remember offhand) that now claim to have B100 winterizers. Anybody know anything about those?

At any rate, I'm hoping that the additive seminar at the NBB conference in a couple weeks will be informative.


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Location: Ukiah, CA USA | Registered: September 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Lubrizol

We'll fin dout soon enough, I just fired off an email to them.They claim a functional B100 additive, we shall see.



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Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's the last research study I saw on all the additives...
http://www.uidaho.edu/bioenergy/NewsReleases/TechNote3.pdf

Cut to the chase version:
None of them worked.

-Graydon




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm happy giving Legal full credit for the idea. I finished my Jetta conversion in December, and have posted some pictures at Graydon's Biodiesel Pictures site. It's just an improved version of the SVO conversion in my Mazda, which I drove through the last two winters with B100 in the heated tank system (used for SVO in warm weather), and dino-diesel in the main (unheated) tank. Switch-over times are in minutes from a cold start, since it only needs to thaw biodiesel, not heat SVO. One tank of diesel lasts all winter. The biggest problem is thawing the big storage tank to refuel the cars heated tank. Next spring the tanks get insulated and a solar window.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There was an interesting thread recently over at the Yahoo Biodieselbasics forum. Does this really work?


--- In biodieselbasics@yahoogroups.com, "faderpusherny" <dschriber@...> wrote:

Hi Simon

We live in the Niagara Falls area and run B100 except on the colderst of days, about 5 degrees or colder.

I would guess that you have a lot of tallows in your oil. We find that if you spray hot glycerol from the last batch onto the wvo for the batch coming up and let it settle a few hours the tallows drop out of the oil and your gel/cloud point goes down about 25 degrees. You have to decant the good oil from the top as the tallows fall to the bottom of the tank.

Keep the tallows till the spring, or when your temperatures are in the 50's and then make up your bd with it.

No heated tank needed. We just have a block heater.

Hope that helps you.

Best Regards

Dan
 
Registered: April 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A number of people have, in the past, tried glycerol/byproduct pre-treatment to improve cold weather properties, and/or improve titration on "bad" oil.

Some saw improvements in cold weather performance and some did not. This is an area that warrants further exploration and good hard repeatable data. I don't have the link handy for the original discussion. Perhaps someone will supply it.

That's where good rigorous documented freezer testing for cloud point and gell point are so valuable. Then we can compare notes in a meaningful way.

HTH,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another important point to consider is that Biodiesel does not splash blend well near it's cloud point. I pumped some warm biodiesel into a tank of very cold petro diesel and experienced nasty jelling issues at fairly warm temps.
The "cold filtering" trick works great, but stay away from copper!
Extensive freezer tests indicate that NONE of the anti-gel additives work as advertised. This includes PowerService Trop Arctic (BD specific) anti-gel at 5 times the recommended ratio.
When November rolls around I tend to process the barrels of oil that are still liquid. I especially like ASOYA, the low lin, 0 trans fat soy oil that we try to switch our account over to. I went to an account whose barrels are in the shade and at -5F they were still pumpable!!! great cold weather feedstock.


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Location: Iowa | Registered: February 20, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Hi, Winter and diesel bio fuel... many years ago before diesel had winter additives many truckers use to add a cup or two of petrol to keep them on the move. With rapeseed I add one tea cup of petrol to 20 lts (5Gallons) and add the same of diesel. When the rapeseed is mixed with petrol it all mixes well. My old range rover 2.5 tdi ran well in all temps below freezing. The fuel filter did require changing more often. I now run a isuzu 3.1 tdi on the same mix but now also add kerosene, and don't need to add petrol (gas) A cup of petrol won't damage your engine (spoke to several diesel engineers) and it makes the vegie oil burn better. Its all trial and error with your own mix. One point on the law for UK users.. the british goverment has just made it legal to use your bio fuel if its veg, rape or whatever and buy it you must keep your receipts and you are allowed 2500 lts without paying duty and tax!
 
Location: scotland | Registered: January 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's starting to cool down around here so figured it was time for another "BUMP"!

Here comes winter!
-Graydon




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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