As harvest season winds down, growers should take the necessary steps to minimize fuel-related problems when temperatures dip below freezing.

Cold weather can be a serious issue for users of both No. 2 diesel and biodiesel, and problems associated with tank maintenance can add to the difficulty.

Many farmers like to use biodiesel blends of 20 percent or greater during the summer months. While not impossible to use higher blends in the winter, it does require a high degree of fuel management and a vigilant tank-maintenance program.

It is highly recommended the average diesel consumer reduce their biodiesel blend to 5 percent during the winter months.

High water concentration in fuel can lead to water-logged fuel filters. When the temperature of the filter gets below 32 degrees, the water freezes and blocks the flow of fuel through the filter.

Paraffin is a naturally occurring component of diesel fuel. When the temperature of fuel is at or below its cloud point, paraffin material can collect on the bottom of the tank. Wax anti-settling agent (WASA) additives can be used to keep paraffins from collecting at the bottom of the tank where they can cause filter plugging.

A few key points to keep in mind include:

• Before colder weather sets in, check tanks for water.

• Always install a dispenser filter on a storage tank to keep contaminants from reaching the vehicle tanks.

• In the winter, install a new dispenser filter, 30 micron or higher to handle the increased viscosity of the fuel.

• Check hoses, fill/vapor caps and gaskets for leaks.

• Transition to a lower-percentage biodiesel blend in winter months.

• Use an appropriate additive package and/or use No. 1 diesel to ensure operability.

• Fill your tank after harvest season. Fuel tanks should always be kept as full as possible to reduce fuel degradation from exposure to oxygen.

• If you have any fuel-related questions or need help troubleshooting a fuel-related problem, contact the Diesel Helpline at 800-929-3437

Soybean oil continues to be the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel manufacturing. The soy checkoff partners with the National Biodiesel Board on biodiesel promotion and research, including proper handling procedures.

WINTER OPERABILITY FOR ABOVE GROUND STORAGE TANKS

Fuel

5% biodiesel blend (B5)

B5 with 20% #1 diesel

B5 with 30% #1 diesel

B5 with 40% #1 diesel

Additive

With Additive containing WASA

With Additive containing WASA

With Additive containing WASA

With Additive containing WASA

Operability Temperature

-15⁰F

-25⁰F

-30⁰F

-35⁰F

 

See more at http://www.unitedsoybean.org/.