With the cold weather quickly finding its way into reality it is time to start thinking about how to deal with it, biodiesel wise.
In my daiuly driver I opted to retain the petro fuel from last year (blend of K1,winterised diesel and 2% biodiesel) in the main tank and only use the aux tank for B100. THis week I checked the 6 port valve to make sure everything was still operational and it is, so I figure that around Christmas I will be pouring in an additional 10L of K1 and the same of D1 with some diesel treatment, and if this year is anything close to last year that will be it as far as supporting the petro industry, which I am hoping to be the case.
**It is usually not a great ida to let petro products sit over extended periods of time due to polimerisation (sp?), although with my IDI engine I am taking a calculated risk.Should you chose to do the same it is with that caveat in place.
Legal: it may not be clear to some viewers to which tank you'll be adding the "...10L of K1 and the same of D1 with some diesel treatment", around Christmas.
I'm further south and still warmer than your area, so I haven't modified my fuel use yet, although your post is a welcome reminder that I need to start planning. The nights are getting colder, but not yet reaching freezing. Once they do, I'll be following your example, more or less, and using diesel in the main tank, and diluting the SVO tank with additions of biodiesel over a couple tanks-full. By the time the weather stays below freezing for the duration, the heated "SVO" tank will be nearly pure B100.
I've yet to put out sample jars of fuel, but will recommend doing so to anyone who wants to know what their fuel is doing in cold weather.
Yup, that's me, clear as mud sometimes :-)
The main tank is the only one that ever sees any petro stuff, so that is the one getting the petro mix. My aux tank is reserved for B100 exclusively.
Legal, et al:
I should have heeded your warning a few weeks ago. My Mazda is sitting with gelled biodiesel in the fuel lines, and not a drop of diesel in either tank. Getting it running again at really cold temperatures will be difficult, to say the least. It might end up sitting until spring (again).
The VW is luckier, and a testimony to heated systems - the main tank is full of nearly pure diesel. At -19degreesF it still starts pretty easily (the glow plugs all work properly). It only needs driven a couple miles to "warm" the "heated" tank to 32degreesF, at which point I can switch over to straight biodiesel. It will have burned perhaps a pint of diesel from the 16 gallon main tank.
The problem I now have is my biodiesel storage and refueling tank - it's sitting at -14degF at the moment, and hard as a carton of icecream. I'll keep driving on straight diesel until I can refuel with thawed biodiesel, somehow.
Once again, I'm wishing the above-ground storage tanks were enclosed in some simple structure that could be heated just a little. Some passive solar design would be nice. Unfortunately, the weather sucks for building things like that at the moment. This spring/summer I'll finally have more time for projects - I just finished my Master's degree program, and don't have any homework.
For your exterior holding tank(s) you could build a box around it/them and use old windows as the roof and or sides. This will give you a solar oven. Be sure to have a method of covering it up though as it can get quite hot in there, even in winter.
If you need extra heat try setting up an old water heater and running pipes (metal better than plastic for heat radiation) around the edges in a serpentine fashion, with a small pump (like the ShurFlo) for circulation.
How much heat will depend on on the feedstock of your biodiesel and its gel point.
The main tank inherited 10L of K1 and 10L of winterised D2. It is starting after having sat 2 days in -14C on the mix. I hope to last the winter on what is in the main tank now; I have plenty of B100 for the season, so we'll see how that works out.
I do not have a functioning block heater. The other car only has a main tank and it still has B100 in it but doesn't sleep outside or drive around below -12C.
I've been lucky enough to have the weather warm enough to thaw my biodiesel storage enough to fill 6 fuel cans, plus the heated tanks on both vehicles (Mazda and VW). Both also have pretty pure diesel in their unheated tanks. Both start easily in very cold weather, and switch over to biodiesel after only 2-3 miles.
The fuel cans are insurance against the storage tanks freezing again. I can keep a can or two in the heated part of the barn to thaw and refill the vehicle heated tanks. 30 gallons of stored biodiesel, plus the 50 gallons in the vehicles (each has a 25-gallon heated tank), gives me about 2000 miles of driving before I run out. That's about 2 months commuting, during which there might be another warm period.
Next summer I'll build an enclosure around the storage tanks. I might even get ambitious enough to move them away from the barn doors so there's enough room on the sides to add insulation. 'Lots to do next summer
Both vehicles seem very happy running on warmed biodiesel. No smoke, easy starting, no clogged filters. I need to check my records, but I don't recall changing a filter on either vehicle's SVO tank in over a year! Warm biodiesel may dissolve residual SVO remnants. Any thoughts?
That is something I recommended doing a few years ago for SVO users and it is still on my website's information. Just like biodiesel will loosen and strip petro gunk from the fuel system it will also do the same for residual SVO gunk, although in the case of the SVO I do not believe that it will negatively affect filters as the petro gunk does (but that is theoretical only, not based upon experience).
Using a 2 tank system, IMO, is by far the most reliable method of running B100 year round in cold climates. It can work well with almost all feedstocks, but some will require a more elaborate heat transfer system than others.
If I were to set up a system again I would give each tank its own filters, and the one for B100 would be heated using the engine coolant. 2 x 3 port valves would be better than a single 6 port as you can set them closer to the feed/return points of the IP thereby reducing the switch over (purge) time.
I can take my heated system out in -20C (once up to temp) and not think about it gelling up. Not too many B100 vehicles can claim that.
That describes the system I use perfectly. Just to clarify, when I mentioned that the biodiesel seemed to have dissolved the svo residue, I was refering to the filter that was still on the svo system from summer use. I have a gage on my IP to indicate the amount of suction present, and the suction dropped below zero after switching to biodiesel this winter. The filter has heater hose wrapped around it, and a boost pump. The heated fuel system does NOT return the bleed fuel to the tank - it recirculates through the engine's fuel system - remember that it's just a "looped" 2-tank SVO conversion, using different fuels for winter. It has two of Omar's 3-way valves, which have been trouble-free, especially compared to the original Pollack valves I used.
I completely agree. If the weather is warm enough while I'm driving around, I don't have to switch back to the diesel tank if I stop for a while. The engine will start reliably on biodiesel down to 32F/0C, so I don't need to worry much about the fuel system in those conditions. When I get home though, I must remember to switch back to the diesel tank for enough time/miles to purge the biodiesel from the fuel lines and injection system. It isn't as fussy as operating on SVO, and still allows me to drive using much less petroleum.
I've been using a very nice system from Thermal Stability Systems to keep my B100 fluid even down to around 0 - 5 degrees ... it's their Green Earth Heating Unit ... just install it in one of your extra bungs and plug it in ... their website is www.thermalstabilitysystems.com
Ok, a little follow-up. Today was a bit on the chilly (-22C) and I had to go out and stay out for a while. I drove around in that for about 2 hours, most of it at highway speeds and the B100 heated system ran like a champ; didn't need to switch over to the dino stuff at all.
Done properly, with knowledgeable aforethought given your climate and lowest winter temps, can yield a top notch heated auxiliary fuel system that will allow using B100 in even the coldest of temps.
I poured 10L K1 and 10L treated #2Diesel in the main unheated tank and haven't had to add any more so far and at the rate I am going probably won't have to for the remainder of the winter. The whole winter on B100 except for brief moments during purge and start up.
Well, it made it through another winter just to finally give up the ghost this week. Between the 2 MB's I didn't put over $100.00 of dino in the combined tanks this whole winter.
Now I have to yank the heated system out of Benz no1 and install it in Benz no2, but at least the really cold stuff is behind us for another year, so it is a project I can do at my leisure. It's been a great run too with the last 7/1/2 out of 8 years on B100. The newly departed was an '83 with over 550K km on it. The '82 also has 550K on it but is in better shape, so should be good to go for awhile yet.
If you are thinking of setting up a heated fuel system in your vehicle, don't hesitate, it is VERY MUCH worth it.
When I reinstall it I will be adding a dedicated fuel filter system to the B100 side leaving the original for the main tank. The two tanks will run B100 when the weather permits (Spring,Summer,Fall) and then blending in the main tank and B100 in the heated one for another go of it.