Biodiesel’s New Approval Rating Could Ease Warranty Concerns

  • Published on June 28th, 2008 by
 

Dodge Biodiesel Ram Truck

Lack of warranty support for biodiesel has been a major stumbling block for new diesel owners who want to start using the fuel. But three long-awaited ASTM specifications could help change that.

Automakers and engine manufacturers have been requesting a finished blend specification for B20 biodiesel blends for several years, with some citing the need for that spec as the single greatest hurdle preventing their full-scale acceptance of B20 use in their diesel vehicles.

On June 19th, after more than five years of research and discussion, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) finally approved the following specifications for biodiesel fuel:

  • Changes to the existing B100 biodiesel blend stock specification (ASTM D6751)
  • Finished specifications to include up to 5% biodiesel (B5) in the conventional petrodiesel specification (ASTM D975)
  • A new specification for blends of between 6 percent biodiesel (B6) to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) for on and off road diesel.

If that’s gibberish to you, here’s the take home message: the new specification for B6-B20 biodiesel blends could prompt more automakers to fully support B20 in their new cars and trucks.




Anyone who’s ever seriously looked into buying biodiesel for a new car or truck knows that manufacturer warranty approval of biodiesel is all over the map.

For example, Chrysler supports a B20 biodiesel blend in 2007 Dodge Ram trucks like the one above—but only for use in government or commercial fleets. GM also only supports fleet use of B20, but supports B5 in all commercial vehicles as do Ford, Mercedes, and VW. (Interestingly enough Case IH and New Holland, two manufacturers of $200K+ agricultural machines both support B100.)

Automakers: Could You Please Start Supporting B20? Thank You!

Why don’t automakers provide better support for biodiesel? The most (seemingly) reasonable explanation I’ve been given has to do with biodiesel’s ability to withstand the incredibly high pressures and precise specifications of the new common rail fuel injection systems, which also could apparently impact the ability of new clean diesels to meet NOx emissions standards.

But I’m going to need to see some numbers before I buy that, since biodiesel is already cleaner burning than diesel fuel anyway. I’m also not convinced that biodiesel wouldn’t work in high-pressure situations when diesel does.

I fired a few questions at VW about this, after test-driving the new clean diesels earlier this month. All I got was:

“There are studies taking place that suggest we won’t authorize anything beyond B7.”

and:

“Anything higher than a B7 mixture may degrade the burn thus the potential for negatively impacting emissions”

The keyword there is may. I’ve never seen any evidence that biodiesel would not work at a B20 blend in these newer engines, and hopefully these new standards will further ease any concerns automakers might have.

Final Words:

The new ASTM spec for B6 – B20 is a major building block in GM’s efforts to elevate biodiesel as part of our overall energy diversity strategy.

-John Gaydash, Director of Marketing for General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations

Posts Related to Biodiesel and Biodiesel Warranty Issues:

More: http://nbb.grassroots.com/08Releases/ASTM_final/

[Via]

Photo Credit: skidrd via Flickr under Creative Commons License





About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.

  • Tim

    This is all well and good for encouraging biodiesel, but is this really the direction we want go in? Biofuels still emit greenhouse gases, their production is ecologically destructive, and their cultivation is taking resources away from valuable food production (See artcile).

  • Tim

    This is all well and good for encouraging biodiesel, but is this really the direction we want go in? Biofuels still emit greenhouse gases, their production is ecologically destructive, and their cultivation is taking resources away from valuable food production (See artcile).

  • Lets get real… The government, fuel and standards industry, and the Auto industry want you to keep buying DINO DIESEL as long as possible. The ASTM gets their money from testing fuels for nasty stuff and percentage of water. Which are not in 100% Bio Diesel if made correctly. The fuel companies make rediculous profits by keeping the fuel scarce, and their politicians get to stay in office. Apparently, even when they don’t win the election.

    ASTM won’t get any money from me. I make my own biodiesel and run it in my 2006 Dodge 3500, and my John Deere tractor as well as a Bobcat. I have 46,000 miles on my truck and 300 hours on my tractor and 1000 hours on the Bobcat. None have any trouble running on my 100% biodiesel. Witch has no sulfur and next to no NOx.

    I make my fuel out of used cooking oil that I get from restaurants in New Orleans. I use it to clear lots in the Lower Ninth Ward and cut the 8th foot tall weeds that have bee growing up there is stead of children since August of 2005.

    Comments about green house gases apply only to bio fuels like Ethanol not Biodiesel and taking food off the table applies only to the use of virgin oils that should be used to cook food in first before being made into fuel.

    Biodiesel can be made from algae, switch blade grass, coconuts, anything with a high percentage of oil. The government, fuel industry and the auto makers that keep them in business are keeping you ignorant to the fact that if we just parked the military which uses 65% of the US fuel annually, we would not have to get any fuel from the middle east or anywhere else for that matter. But the Auto industry is also the tank industry.

    We could grow our fuel and live with everyone on earth and at the same time feed everyone without burning a whole in the sky or killing anyone for the lack of food or fuel.

    And all the money we would save could rebuild New Orleans and the levees from Iowa to the Gulf. Give a college Education to every American and on and on.

    100% Biodiesel could save the countries real economy, the Ozone, and redeem ourselves in the eyes of the rest of the world by reducing the need to go to war for oil or food.

    Wake up America it is later than you think!

    Make peace, love and BIODIESEL!

  • Lets get real… The government, fuel and standards industry, and the Auto industry want you to keep buying DINO DIESEL as long as possible. The ASTM gets their money from testing fuels for nasty stuff and percentage of water. Which are not in 100% Bio Diesel if made correctly. The fuel companies make rediculous profits by keeping the fuel scarce, and their politicians get to stay in office. Apparently, even when they don’t win the election.

    ASTM won’t get any money from me. I make my own biodiesel and run it in my 2006 Dodge 3500, and my John Deere tractor as well as a Bobcat. I have 46,000 miles on my truck and 300 hours on my tractor and 1000 hours on the Bobcat. None have any trouble running on my 100% biodiesel. Witch has no sulfur and next to no NOx.

    I make my fuel out of used cooking oil that I get from restaurants in New Orleans. I use it to clear lots in the Lower Ninth Ward and cut the 8th foot tall weeds that have bee growing up there is stead of children since August of 2005.

    Comments about green house gases apply only to bio fuels like Ethanol not Biodiesel and taking food off the table applies only to the use of virgin oils that should be used to cook food in first before being made into fuel.

    Biodiesel can be made from algae, switch blade grass, coconuts, anything with a high percentage of oil. The government, fuel industry and the auto makers that keep them in business are keeping you ignorant to the fact that if we just parked the military which uses 65% of the US fuel annually, we would not have to get any fuel from the middle east or anywhere else for that matter. But the Auto industry is also the tank industry.

    We could grow our fuel and live with everyone on earth and at the same time feed everyone without burning a whole in the sky or killing anyone for the lack of food or fuel.

    And all the money we would save could rebuild New Orleans and the levees from Iowa to the Gulf. Give a college Education to every American and on and on.

    100% Biodiesel could save the countries real economy, the Ozone, and redeem ourselves in the eyes of the rest of the world by reducing the need to go to war for oil or food.

    Wake up America it is later than you think!

    Make peace, love and BIODIESEL!

  • Tim,

    Driving at all still emits greenhouse-gases (GHG). Even soybean-based biodiesel, which isn’t the best possible option, may offer a GHG reduction of 41% when compared to regular diesel. Biodiesel made from used cooking oil (or algae), does much better.

    see #15: http://gas2.org/2008/04/10/biodiesel-mythbuster-20-twenty-two-biodiesel-myths-dispelled/

    In reference to your link, there’s a very important distinction to make here: biofuels != biodiesel

    No one wants to buy biodiesel made from a feedstock that destroys virgin rainforest. Fortunately, we don’t have to. Keep those distinctions in mind…

  • Tim,

    Driving at all still emits greenhouse-gases (GHG). Even soybean-based biodiesel, which isn’t the best possible option, may offer a GHG reduction of 41% when compared to regular diesel. Biodiesel made from used cooking oil (or algae), does much better.

    see #15: http://gas2.org/2008/04/10/biodiesel-mythbuster-20-twenty-two-biodiesel-myths-dispelled/

    In reference to your link, there’s a very important distinction to make here: biofuels != biodiesel

    No one wants to buy biodiesel made from a feedstock that destroys virgin rainforest. Fortunately, we don’t have to. Keep those distinctions in mind…

  • Clayton. please consider being my guest on Alternative Energy on Blog talk radio tomorrow at 12 noon eastern time.

    Call in : (347) 838-8999

    on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/AlternativeEnergyCom

    We could talk about your blog, bio diesel for small business and the issue around the ASTM standards.

    Gordon

  • Clayton. please consider being my guest on Alternative Energy on Blog talk radio tomorrow at 12 noon eastern time.

    Call in : (347) 838-8999

    on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/AlternativeEnergyCom

    We could talk about your blog, bio diesel for small business and the issue around the ASTM standards.

    Gordon

  • G-8 Summit CO2 cut is including 31000 scientists recommendation of bio diesel ASTM standards,

  • G-8 Summit CO2 cut is including 31000 scientists recommendation of bio diesel ASTM standards,

  • Dean Jacobs

    I have been making home brew biodiesel (from WVO) for 6 months now. My 2004 F350 runs great on it (100% in summer, 50% biodiesel in winter). I have a 2009 VW Jetta TDI on order. I can’t wait to put 5 gal biodiesel into the tank upon delivery in front of the dealer to purposely void the warranty. I’ll let their mechanics service the car and prove my brew works. I service 3 vehicles on my brew. Can’t solve the country’s vehicle energy problems… just my family’s.

  • Dean Jacobs

    I have been making home brew biodiesel (from WVO) for 6 months now. My 2004 F350 runs great on it (100% in summer, 50% biodiesel in winter). I have a 2009 VW Jetta TDI on order. I can’t wait to put 5 gal biodiesel into the tank upon delivery in front of the dealer to purposely void the warranty. I’ll let their mechanics service the car and prove my brew works. I service 3 vehicles on my brew. Can’t solve the country’s vehicle energy problems… just my family’s.

  • Pingback: Biodiesel Warranty Issues: What You and Your Dealer Should Know Before Your Car Breaks : Gas 2.0()

  • Howard Rosenfeld

    Thank you for all of your work in expanding the conversation around biodiesel. Do you know of any new or shortly-anticipated diesel 4×4 vehicles that would be able to run on B100. I am considering making my own fuel, but am concerned that I won’t be able to use it as desired.

    Thank you for your help. I hope to hear from you soon.

    regards,

    Howard

  • Howard Rosenfeld

    Thank you for all of your work in expanding the conversation around biodiesel. Do you know of any new or shortly-anticipated diesel 4×4 vehicles that would be able to run on B100. I am considering making my own fuel, but am concerned that I won’t be able to use it as desired.

    Thank you for your help. I hope to hear from you soon.

    regards,

    Howard