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Can Biodiesel Be Used to Fuel Power Generators?

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel to traditional diesel that is derived from vegetable oil, animal oils or fats, and tallow, and used cooking oil. The primary selling point of biodiesel is the fact that it is “carbon neutral”, meaning it does not produce carbon emissions when it combusts, while still providing similar power output compared to its fossil fuel counterpart.

Can Biodiesel Be Used to Fuel Power Generators?
Bio-energy, Image credit: https://pixabay.com/

Given the fact that green energy is becoming more popular, people will eventually begin to try to test biodiesel to power various products. It’s not unlikely that people may consider using biodiesel on power generators. This then raises questions in terms of safety, compatibility, and performance. Can biodiesel really be used to fuel power generators? Here are a few to consider before trying to use biodiesel fuel.

Generator Warranty and Serviceability

As with all types of equipment, it’s important to take note and to adhere to the recommended usage as intended by the manufacturer. Using power generators in a manner not intended by manufacturers will void your warranty and may also make it more difficult for the manufacturer to provide you with much-needed support.

Before using biodiesel to fuel your power generator, it’s important to first review your warranty terms. It may even be better to ask your manufacturer first.

Maintenance Costs

Manufacturers always specify the conditions and manner of use of their products to ensure that these products work as intended and as advertised. While most power generators are rugged and heavy-duty, they are also sophisticated and will require certain maintenance measures to maintain their reliability and performance.

If using biodiesel on your power generator can cause maintenance costs to spike, you might want to consider buying a biodiesel-compatible generator instead as a poorly maintained power generator can easily become a money pit.

Durability Concerns

Using biodiesel on a non-compatible generator can deteriorate its fuel system because biodiesel can act as a corrosive agent that can etch into raw metal. The rusted metal will not only mean that you’d have to replace the affected parts, but it also means that you may have to replace the entire fuel system.

This, however, doesn’t mean that the use of biodiesel will immediately damage your power generator. This is still reliant on specific-use scenarios where a variety of factors will come into play such as generator size, and what you’re using the generator for. For example, it’s important to know what size generator to run caravan aircon efficiently to minimize the impact of biodiesel on its internals. The type of fuel you use is only secondary, as the primary determinant of the rate of deterioration your generator undergoes is whether it is powerful enough for the energy it needs to supply.

Environmental Impact

While the use of biodiesel minimizes carbon emissions, the increased strain on your power generator means that its lifespan is also being shortened. Fuel systems, fuel tanks, seals, hoses, and fuel filters contribute more to landfill waste. You may not be emitting as much carbon, but you could be hurting the environment more because of the landfill waste.

Before you start using biodiesel to fuel your power generator, it’s important to consider these factors and whether the risks outweigh the benefits. These factors vary between models and usage, but the general idea is that if you want the best results, you’re better off buying a generator that’s specifically made to use biodiesel. You might even want to consider alternative fuels like this bacteria-coated rubber.

Author:

Catherine Park

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