Are you renewable ready?
There’s plenty of confusion around renewable fuels, particularly biodiesel vs renewable diesel. Here are the key differences between these old and new technologies, the benefits of next-generation biofuels, and how you store them.
Biodiesel isn’t cutting-edge, it’s been around since 1900. It’s a first-generation biofuel made from organic matter that’s not a direct drop-in replacement for the standard mineral diesel we all use. It’s susceptible to diesel bug contamination, and oxidization and known to ‘gloop’ at low temperatures – so often has a poor reputation.
What is renewable diesel? It uses the same base materials as biodiesel, mostly oils from sustainable US feedstocks like soybean or corn. But the production process, and the fuel itself, are completely different. It’s a direct drop-in alternative to mineral diesel and can be stored and used anywhere without modifications to engines or pipelines. In the US there are no specific regulations for renewable diesel, they are the same as mineral diesel, kerosene and blends. If your OEM has approved the formulation, there’s no risk of voiding warranties. Renewable diesel’s clean-burning properties reduce particulate production and can improve engine cleanliness and prolong machinery lifetime.
It’s a low-carbon alternative that can reduce emissions by 85% – and far from a compromise, it has some operational benefits over the fossil fuels it replaces.
Pictured – mobile refueler.
A process called hydrocracking removes oxygen from the fuel so it can’t absorb water. This means it can be stored for up to 10-years without regular testing and maintenance to remove water. This makes it ideal for long-term storage for backup generators. It’s also better at coping with cold conditions. At 32°F, mineral diesel begins to stiffen and appear cloudy. Once the temperature falls below 15°F, it gels, clogging tanks and lines. Renewable diesel has a freeze point of -40°F, so can be stored and dispensed in the worst Winter weather without additives.
Storage regulations vary depending on location and application, but are the same for renewable and mineral diesel, requiring a UL listed tank with secondary containment. All our tanks carry the UL Mark and are double walled to meet and exceed regulations across North America. So, if you have a Western Global tank, you’re ready to store renewables.