B20 Biodiesel availability at London filling stations?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Screwdriver, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Greetings!

    I've been reading about the benefits of using B20 Biodiesel in Classic Mercedes diesels from the 1960s-90s. Owners have credited the fuel with smoother running, better acceleration and significantly lower smoke in the rear view mirror.

    It would appear the City of London agrees with this view:

    I'd like to switch to this fuel and believe my OM616 and OM617 motors will thrive after doing so. Only one issue - I can't find any reputable pumping station that sells the fuel. Am I missing something obvious here? Anyone using this fuel in the Greater London Area?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. 91dm

    91dm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I can't help with finding a station that sells biodiesel, I know a few years ago it was maybe more popular.

    I used to run 50% used veg oil and diesel in our older diesel cars (om605/606) and it definitely quietens them down but not as powerful.
     
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  3. a111r

    a111r Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You could use B100 or straight veg on the 617.
    Been making my own B100 for the last 10 years / 100K miles: used in 616, 605, 606, 613 and other marques.
    2 EHN additive boosts the lower cetane value up.

    Pure Fuels in Edmonton, North London, may still sell it?
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Cheers both!

    Would prefer to start off with just B20 and then take it from there. Surprised that I can't find a single pumping station within 5 miles of the city
     
  5. 91dm

    91dm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    We had a real noisy om601 which we ran on straight veg oil for awhile, it transformed the sound from the common nailing tickover to a lovely smooth engine whatever crap it cleaned out! I guess it comes down the demand for it, most people probably don't know it exists.
     
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  6. a111r

    a111r Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Both bio and svo contain approx. 10% less energy than diesel does, so improved acceleration won't happen. It is a placebo of the 'smoother running' (longer burn at point of injection)
    Smoke is very much less dense:
    This year's MOT on diesel - fast pass 0.82 (1998 OM605)
    Last year's MOT on B100 - fast pass 0.33
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Surreal improvements. Does anyone fill up with Biodiesel at a retail pump? Is it the oil industry that is preventing this fuel from becoming mainstream?
     
  8. a111r

    a111r Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    There's many facets to this.
    Mainly, the 20 p/l tax break that finished in 2012 was the nail in the coffin for the smaller scale bio producers using wvo (like Uptown Oil in Southwark).

    I'm alway happy to bore folk senseless over several cups of tea. Om616 and bio plant are also on display.
     
  9. GeeJayW

    GeeJayW Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    All commercial diesel contains some bio-diesel components, B5 is the minimum if I recall correctly. We picked up some fuel in Fort William recently and that was B15. Some vehicle manufacturers specify and upper limit for bio materials, with the main issue being one of compatibility with some of the elastomeric materials used in various seals in the fuel system components. Other issues being compatibility with exhaust after-treatment systems, issues around water bottoms in storage tanks, inclusion of water/oxygen in the fuel and so.

    As for the oil industry preventing biofuels from becoming mainstream, IMHO that has no basis in fact. If they could go over to producing and selling biofuels in a commercially successful way, guess what they'd be doing?

    Truth is, there isn't anywhere near enough land area to grow the plant material needed to make enough biofuel to meet the demand that is currently being satisfied by conventional fuels. Something like 120,000,000 litres of diesel/gasoline are consumed by UK road users every day. Replicating all of this this using bio materials is simply not viable and is especially difficult where growing the plant materials competes with food production. There have been some interesting developments in things like Jatropha, certain species of which can grow in otherwise difficult land areas.
    Jatropha - Wikipedia

    Another issue (especially with recycled vegetable oils) is producing biofuel that actually fully complies with EN:590 (diesel) and EN:228 (gasoline). During a project I was involved with in the past looking into this area, all of the bio material samples we received failed the specifications when inspected in the laboratory. Now, as they were used only in relatively small proportions as blend components, the contamination was considered inconsequential. They would not however have been suitable as B100 fuels.
     
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  10. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    As above biodiesel is now perceived rightly or wrongly as an ecological dead end. While on the surface appearing to fix atmospheric carbon [ a good thing] it did so at the expense of existing carbon fixing systems meaning the advantages were not as great as it might first appear. Couple that to loss of habitat and biodiversity of the intensive farming practices necessary and the argument is further diluted.
    In the end its a reaction rate determined phenomenon.
    We are releasing carbon into the atmosphere in mere hundreds of years that took millions of years to accumulate in the geological strata. Its true both systems fix/ fixed atmospheric Carbon Dioxide in the same process of photosysnthesis but the time scales involved and rates of reaction are many orders of magnitude appart meaning one cannot hope to compensate for the other.
    Scale is important in many situations perhaps illustrated by the biodiesel supply question posed by the OP.
    It would appear you can still buy B20 biodiesel from several sources- 10,000 gallons at a time!:(
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  11. GeeJayW

    GeeJayW Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    ^^ It should also be noted than one of the drivers towards bio-ethanol (used in gasoline) was coming from the farming lobby in the US who recognised the potential for a significant market in corn-derived ethanol. In other words, some of the cited environmental credentials for bio ethanol were/are a bit of a smoke screen for financial interests.
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I went ahead and did something about it. I petitioned parliament. Would be great if you could take a minute and jump on board. As it stands today, we have upto 7% biodiesel in our fuel. We should be at 20% (ideally 25%), to make a dent in atmospheric carbon emissions and to ensure no negative impact to vehicular technology. As side note, I'm sure our OM6XX engines could use the cleaning :)

    Petition: Ensure fuel retailers sell only B20 biodiesel, given its environmental benefits

    My petition:

    Ensure fuel retailers sell only B20 biodiesel, given its environmental benefits

    Following the 2015 Greater London Authority's report on Biodiesel, government must act urgently to ensure only B20 biodiesel is retailed, given its several environmental and economic benefits achievable today with zero negative impact to current vehicular technology or existing UK fuel distribution.

    Biodiesel has a positive effect on net emissions as the production of vegetable oil is renewable. A B20 blend achieves a 10-15 per cent CO2 reduction over diesel. Particulate, sulphates, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions are also reduced. At B20 blends, vehicular performance, serviceability or reliability is not impacted negatively. For more details, visit the GLA's report here: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_-_biodiesel_operational_note_june_2015_0.pdf
     
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  13. Bellow

    Bellow MB Club Veteran

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    Yep. It'll bundle the engine oil into one big lump to be picked up by the crankshaft and deprive any oil feed to any of the bearings throughout the engine. So, yes, clean...
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Not sure where you're getting that from but here's a video that I found enlightening from Kent Bergsma. A relatively mild B20 blend has zero proven negative effects in any tests.

    Please consider adding your support to the petition!
     
  15. a111r

    a111r Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Never seen that in ten years.
    More likely, it's folk on wvo and bangers with zero PPM. Seen that once.
     
  16. GeeJayW

    GeeJayW Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Big differences in fuel injection and exhaust aftertreatment technologies between the cars in the video and the vast majority of Diesel engines on our roads. One video of a test carried out on old vehicles is not proof that B20 does no harm.
     
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  17. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Agreed. Which is why I attached the link to the study performed by the Greater London Authority as well.
     
  18. Bellow

    Bellow MB Club Veteran

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    And from that study:

    ''For higher biodiesel blends manufacturers usually advise that you carry out more fuel and oil filter changes and engine oil changes than with standard diesel. This is because biodiesel is less volatile than mineral diesel and may collect in the engine oil where mineral diesel would evaporate off. This can cause oil degradation. If the overall level increases dramatically, it can cause engine failure. For B20 blends this is unlikely to happen.''

    ''Unlikely to happen'' - is unlikely good enough?
    The last I heard on this was oil formulators trying to devise a laboratory method of 'ageing' oils to mimic the effects of bio fuel. Because they need to stop the oil congealing in the presence of bio fuel as the congealing is such that the oil pump cannot pick up the oil to circulate it - hence the 'engine failure' alluded to.
    .
     
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  19. GeeJayW

    GeeJayW Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Did you actually read and understand the report? It's full of contradictions. I should add that all the samples of esterified UCO (used cooking oil) that I had analysed (during an industry project that included the DoT as a partner) had very high salt levels. In my view B20 made from such materials is likely to be damaging to fuel injection equipment, reducing component service life. But hey, you want to put it your car go for it. I'd rather not be putting it in mine thanks.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I am a scientist by training, so yes, I have a fair grip on the material. There is definitely room for debate on what the raw ingredients for 20% bio fuel should be i.e. it doesn't have to come from used cooking oil entirely. Higher Na content doesn't necessarily translate to damaged components or a reduction of service life, regardless of your opinion. You're using B7 fuel at a minimum today and B15 is now available, as you shared earlier.

    Will an extra 5% damage components? I'm afraid neither you nor I can confirm this.
     

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