Sunday, June 8, 2014

Biodiesel Fuels for Utility Fleet Applications

Fleet managers are hearing more and more about possibilities regarding biodiesel fuels for their utility vehicles. It is important to consider whether using these alternative fuels could provide benefit to utility fleets, whether by lowering fleet operating costs, improving the efficiency of the vehicles, or hopefully both of these improvements.

What Are Biodiesel Fuels?

Biodiesel fuels are produced from a number of sources, including recycled vegetable oil, animal fats, and soybean oil. Some biodiesel fuels are completely pure and do not contain any petroleum. Other biodiesel fuels are a blend of the biological source with petroleum. Since biodiesel blend fuels can be used in standard diesel engines without having to modify those engines or purchase completely new vehicles, their use has been increasing in fleets all over the country. Biodiesel blend fuels are most commonly available in blends that are comprised of five percent or twenty percent biodiesel mixed with petroleum.

Performance of Biodiesel

Biodiesel burns more cleanly, works to reduce emissions, and constitutes a low-cost measure to make fleets more “green.” The performance of biodiesel blends, when compared to that of regular diesel fuel, ranks very similarly with regard to fuel mileage, torque, and horsepower. In its pure form, biodiesel fuel supplies perhaps five to ten percent less energy than petroleum-based diesel fuel, but it is also the case that the performance of pure biodiesel can vary, depending on the supplier, and users of biodiesel blends notice very little difference, if any, between them and regular diesel fuel.  It in warmer climates such as the such as the Southwest, the warmer climate make it more practical to use on a regular basis.  Companies like Utility Fleet Sales, LTD in Byran, TX carry a large line of diesel trucks and equipment and could be the perfect climate to utilize biodiesel.


Other Benefits of Biodiesel

Diesel engines require lubrication, and biodiesel offers a high degree of lubricity for fuel injection systems. Regular diesel fuel does not provide as much lubricity for engines, but blending regular diesel with biodiesel can help extend engine life. Another benefit of biodiesel is that it releases fewer harmful emissions into the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide, sulfates, and particulates. In biodiesel blends, emissions benefits are proportional to the amount of biodiesel that is blended with regular diesel.
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The Environmental Protection Agency has classified biodiesel as an advanced biofuel, which means that it is recognized as a fuel that is better for the environment. Biodiesel has been around for over twenty years, but it's been particularly in the last ten years or so that its usage has really been taking off. Its benefits, cost-effectiveness, and performance are being recognized and put to use by a great many industries, and utility fleets are increasingly putting it to work for them in their vehicles.

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