Biodiesel filter blockage problems testing.

Intertek Caleb Brett

Intertek biodiesel testing expertise helps diagnose filter blocking problems caused from biodiesels. 

Biodiesel blended into petroleum refined diesel fuel is increasing the incidence fuel filter clogging. Diesel fuels blended with biodiesel are at risk for potential filter blockage. Sterol glucosides and bacteria in the fuel can cause the filter blockage.

Biodiesel fuel filter blockage problems occur even though the biodiesel’s cold flow properties (CFPP) do not predict the likelihood of filter clogging problems. The growing number of diverse feed-stocks used for biodiesel increases the risk of filter problems.

Periodical sampling and testing of fuel during storage can mitigate or prevent possible damage to filters and down-time for commercial and private vehicles. Intertek laboratories test all types of biodiesel, and identify the presence of sterol glucosides and bacteria.

Biodiesel, sterol glucosides and filter blockage:

The presence of sterol glucosides in biodiesel may promote filter blockage. Testing indicates that as the level of sterol glucosides increases, the frequency of Filter Blocking Test (FBT) values increase. The presence of sterol glucosides at problematic double-digit ppm levels can lead to the formation of a cloudy haze in biodiesel even at room temperature.

Biodiesel, bacterial growth and filter blockage:

Biodiesel has an affinity for water and easily absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. This water then supports microbiological growth in fuel storage tanks. At low levels microbes usually don’t make a major impact on fuel functionality, but if left unchecked, bacteria growth can block fuel filters.

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