Biodiesel, FAME & RTFO

Biodiesel inclusion in fleet fuels are key to reducing harmful emissions as well as reducing dependence on fossil fuels. As national and local legislation increased biodiesel content in fuel, fleet users should be prepared for their adverse side effects. Fuelcare provide a range of services to our customers to prepare and combat these issues. 

Biodiesel and Side Effects

As Biodiesel becomes ubiquitous in fleet fuels, it's side effects are not well understood. Biodiesel has a wide range of adverse effects that operators should be aware of:

- Poor fuel economy as a result of lower energy content and consequently increased emissions.

- Increased engine deposition & reduced storage shelf life as a result of poor oxidative stability.

- Increased tank slimes and sludges from increased microbial growth and reduced fuel stability.

- Low temperature engine issues as a result of poor thermal stability.

- Reduced lube oil lifespan, incompatibility with elastomers and corrosive effects on engine components such as fuel pumps

Whilst there are many forms of Biodiesel, the most commonly found in mineral diesel fuels is FAME or Fatty Acid Methyl Ester. Depending on the fuel specification and country the content of FAME may be up to 20%. For example, in the UK the RTFO (Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation) changes the level of FAME in transport fuels periodically (please see section below).

One issue with FAME is that it is not homogenous; it contains different feedstock varieties (i.e. sewage, cooking oil, palm oil etc), ‘batch to batch’ differences, different storage practices and different production systems. Different biodiesel feedstocks produce different FAME components and different proportions of these components, even between batches of the same feedstock. Their make-up and effects on fuel quality characteristics are therefore unpredictable.

Housekeeping Services

Fuelcare offer a range of services designed to prepare fleet users against these side effects:

- Tank audits, staff training & housekeeping advice.

- Tank cleaning, pipework services & filtration advice/fitment.

- Contracted housekeeping services such as dewatering & fuel testing.

- EcoClean™ HSDI Fuel Detergent Application - a fuel additive specifically designed to combat the main issues of biodiesel blends.

- FuelClear™ MB15 Fuel Biocide Application - a fuel additive designed to treat the issue of microbial growth as water content in biodiesel blends increases.

RTFO - Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation for U.K. Rail

UK Rail has to date used A2 Gas Oil conforming to BS2869 supplied with a red marker and 0% Biodiesel/FAME:

• RTFO revisions were passed by HM Government in April 2018 determining the level of FAME sold, in aggregate, by fuel suppliers in the UK. Rail users, previously supplied B0 will now be sold fuels with FAME unless a surcharge is applied.

• BS2869:A2 and BS EN590 specifications determine a maximum FAME limit of 7% or B7.

• RTFO legislates UK increases in FAME content to rail fuel users as follows (all fuel suppliers are in the same position) –

• Apr 15th 2018 to Dec 31st 2018 – 7.25%

• Jan 1st 2019 to Dec 31st 2019 – 8.5%

• Jan 1st 2020 to Dec 31st 2020 – 9.75%

• Jan 1st 2021 to Dec 31st 2021 – 10.1%

• Annual incremental increases to 12.4 by 2032.

Mandated changes to the level of FAME inclusion in the fuel used by UK Rail is strongly believed to increase the likelihood of Fuel Injection System carbon fouling with attendant deterioration in engine performance as well as increasing the risk of microbial growth in both depot and vehicle tanks with the risk of premature filter blocking and acid corrosion The need to use a fuel detergency additive and a biocide to maintain engine health and fuel quality preventing the adverse effects from using FAME is considered necessary for rail fleets moving forward.

EcoClean™ HSDI Fuel Detergent & Biodiesel

One of the key issues surrounding biodiesel content in fleet fuels is a loss in fuel economy, caused by poor stability, lower energy content and increased diesel injector deposits.

EcoClean™ HSDI is a liquid fuel detergent designed specifically for biodiesel blends to improve fuel storage & combustion stability, prevent unstable fuel deposits forming in new engines and clean existing deposits from older mid-life engines. By keeping engines ‘like-new’ or in a factory condition, EcoClean™ HSDI ensures consistent performance from the engine, offsets the reduction in fuel economy and protects engine components from the degrading effects of biodiesel.

Furthermore, EcoClean™ HSDI combats the increase in regulated emissions as a result of biodiesel inclusion through advanced engine cleaning technology.