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What is Different About Biodiesel Engines?

You may have heard that biodiesel engines require a few specific alternations from the conventional fossil fuel burning engines most of us use. Here are some examples of the ways that engines that use biodiesel fuel differ from the more common engine types.

One issue has to do with the use of rubber for fittings and hoses in an engine that is produced to run off biodiesel fuel. The fact is that biodiesel fuel is not friendly to rubber gaskets or hoses. Components of this primarily plant-based fuel tend to speed up the process whereby rubber degrades. The result is that gaskets wear out much more quickly and that hoses deteriorate at a faster rate. For this reason, an engine that is produced to run off biodiesel fuels will either use other substances for gaskets and hoses, or will take some steps to ensure that the life of the rubber items is extended.

Water can also be an enemy to biodiesel fuel, and its presence can wreak havoc with an engine geared toward the use of biodiesel. It is not unusual for condensation to build-up in storage tanks for any type of fuel. However, biodiesel fuel is more suseptible to the development of ice crystals in cold weather, and can create a gelling effect on the fuel. The result is that engines produced for biodiesel fuels have to try to compensate for this phenomenon, including ways to keep the fuel at a temperature that is above freezing, no matter what is happening with the weather.

Just as there are continual improvements in the way that biodiesel fuel is produced, enhancements to engines that allow the fuel to be utilized are also occurring. Chances are that within ten years we will see biodiesel engines that have completely overcome the design issues that are apparent today, as well as identifying and resolving matters that we will only encounter as the use of biodiesel gains wider acceptance.

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