The Introduction of Biodiesel Blends in Indonesia Presents Completely New Challenges for Fuel Contamination Management!​

Diesel (Solar) & Microbial Growth ​

  • Diesel (solar) fuels are organic in nature & when they have water introduced, they quickly become contaminated by microbial growth such as:
  • bacteriaclostridium; desulfotomaculum; desulfovibrio; flavobacterium; hydrogenomonas; pseudomonas; sarcina
  • Fungiaspergillus; candida; fusarium; hormoconis resinae
  • Bacteria can double in quantity every 4 – 20 minutes!
  • Diesel (solar) fuels are organic in nature & when they have water introduced, they quickly become contaminated by microbial growth such as :

3 weeks microbial growth in biodiesel with some water added

B30 Biodiesel Problems

Background on problems & challenges for industry using B30 BioDiesel in Indonesia

Microbial Growth (Diesel Bug)​

Diesel is an organic fuel. When mixed with water it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi and yeasts to grow & needs…

  • Water to live in
  • Carbon for food
  • Oxygen and sulfur to breathe
  • Trace elements for growth & propagation

This microbial growth was taking place before with fossil fuel (B0), however, it is exponentially faster now with B30. BioDiesel absorbs more water than B0 diesel. It also provides a better medium for accelerated microbial growth to take place.

You Cannot Afford To Ignore Diesel Bug

Live microbial growth or ‘diesel bug’ is normally present in between free water layer & diesel. However, it is also present in the form of heavy sludges on the bottom of tanks. This is when the diesel bug dies and then drops to the bottom of the tank.

The live as well as dead diesel bug causes high levels of particulate contamination which is extremely problematic for engines, injectors, fuel level sensors and fuel pumps.

Causing Blocked Fuel Filters & Engine Power Loss

Diesel engine filters can be expensive to replace. High levels of diesel bug found with biodiesel fuels can exponentially increase the speed that fuel filters get blocked. Not only does this become very expensive, but also cause problems starting engines, idling and loss of power.

The downtime for fuel filter replacement is also critical as often one piece of fixed or mobile plant’s operation is interdependent on other equipment. So if you haul truck stops working, so does the digging or loading equipment losing you operational time.

Failed Fuel Level Sensors & Fuel Pumps

Toyota Landcruiser High Incidence Failures Within 6 Months of using BioDiesel – Remote Mine, Indonesia

Toyota Landcruiser High Incidence Failures Within 6 Months of using BioDiesel – Remote Mine Site, Indonesia

The problems utilizing biodiesel are surprisingly diverse and challenge operational productivity in many ways!

Tier/Euro IV or Higher Engines Cannot Accept Highly Contaminated Fuel

Modern Common Rail Fuel Injection Systems

  • Have Increased Fuel Pressure From 3,000 – 50,000 psi
  • Have Nozzle Openings Of Only 2 – 3 microns (20 x smaller than a human hair)
  • OEM’s May Not Cover Warranty Using B30

Damage To Fuel Injectors

Modern diesel engines have injector nozzles with sizes as low as 2 – 3 microns. On average, the human eye cannot see particles less than 50 – 60 microns.

Even older specification diesel engines with larger injector nozzle sizes will also change shape over time with the diesel bug contaminate having an abrasive effect on the.

Fuel Line Blockage

Glycerine is a by-product of biodiesel production. This glycerine can separate from the biodiesel causing solid contaminants.

The image on this page showing Glycerine solidifying out of BioDiesel causing blockages.

Colder temperatures or extended periods of time will cause Glycerine to wax out into fuel system components, pipes or tanks.

B30 Characteristics

Find out how biodiesel (specifically) B30 is different from traditional fossil fuel diesel (B0)

BioDiesel Has Some Significantly Different Characteristics vs. Fossil Fuel

  • Can Absorb 4 – 5 Times More Water vs. Fossil Fuels
  • Microbial Growth Exponentially Higher vs. Fossil Fuels
  • Storage Life Is Only From 3 Weeks to 3 Months
  • Generally Okay When Within Storage Life Period & Dry
  • Some engine builders will not provide warranty for fuels with 20% FAME

Technical Specifications​

Indonesian & International BioDiesel Specification Samples

SNI 7182:2015 English Translation
ASTM d7467 – 13 (B6 to B20)

B30 Regulations

Current & proposed regulations for the use of BioDiesel in Indonesia

ESDM & Presidential Decrees

Indonesian & International BioDiesel Specification Samples

Summary Of Regulatory Key Points

  • B20 is regulated for all high-speed diesel fuels, except Pertamina Dex.
  • The tolerance for FAME is +/- 1% (19% min, 21% max) for all sales.
  • Supplier is not allowed to sell 1,000L at B0 and 1,000L at B60 to achieve an average of B30
  • Only time a fuel supplier can sell B0 is if the supplier of FAME cannot supply.
  • The Government can then fine the FAME supplier.
  • Auditing is conducted on the supplier, not the consumer.
  • The penalty to supplier is a premium of IDR 6,000 for every litre not meeting B30 specification. The audit is conducted by 3rd party auditors on the suppliers blending plants

Biodiesel the Future

  • Indonesian Government is reviewing the introduction of B40 (40%) biodiesel in 2021 or 2022
  • Review of even higher biodiesel content is also taking place
  • Further biodiesel changes
  • Of B40 (40%) BioDiesel in 2021 or 2022
  • Review of even higher biodiesel content is also taking place
  • Other BioSolar Changes – Sulphur:
  • 1 Jan, 2021 max limit 0.05% (500 ppm)
  • 1 Jan, 2025 max limit 0.005% (50 ppm)

Note: Generally, sulphur retards microbial growth

How Diesel Becomes Microbially Contaminated ​

As noted, water presence is what facilitates microbial growth (major contamination)

Water can come from:

  • Your Fuel Supplier
  • Moist air entering storage tanks (breathing)
  • Ingress of rain water (outdoor tanks), ingress of rain water run off (underground tanks)

Fuel Contamination – Modern Diesel Engines

Fuel Supplier

B30 Characteristics

Comparative Analysis

International OEM Target Cleanliness – ISO 18/16/13 ​

  • Fuel System & Engine Reliability
  • High Exhaust Emissions
  • Tank & Pipework Corrosion

Fuel System & Engine Reliability ​​

  • Engine filters will block
  • Fuel systems will block or fail
  • Causes problems starting engines, idling, loss of power
  • Engine will not start or engine failure!
  • Tier/Euro IV/V engines
  • From 20 – 30 µm down to 2 – 3 µm injector nozzle holes
  • From 3k psi to 35 – 50k psi injection pressure
  • Injector spray Issues
  • Uneven combustion
  • Torque introduced to pistons
  • Reduced lubricity
  • ‘Blow by’ – causing engine oil degradation
  • Fuel dilution with the introduction of fuel into engine oil – Compression ‘Blow-by’
  • Soot introduced into the engine oil – Power ‘Blow-by’ (TAN Issues)
  • Trying to get engine oil to work effectively is rendered almost impossible when there is significant ‘blow by’ from the combustion chamber

Impacts On Engine Oil – Extreme Dilution

Increased lubricant oxidation
Oxidation control can be affected by fuel dilution, biodiesel concentration, raw materials, severity of conditions & lubricant quality
Wear control
High levels of fuel dilution may reduce the viscosity of the lubricant & the oil film thickness, increasing the possibility of wear
Soft metal corrosion
Biodiesel can cause significant corrosion of bearing materials such as copper & lead
Piston deposits
Increased piston deposits can cause ring sticking & increase fuel dilution
Lubricant contamination
Unburnt biodiesel in the oil sump may be oxidized, promoting lubricant degradation & thickening.
  • Clean & dry BioDiesel will assist in reducing negative impacts on engine oil
  • Engine oil levels may increase through dilution & should be checked regularly
  • However, industry experience & testing has shown that the use of BioDiesel may require higher quality engine oil specifications
  • The FluidTek team have years of experience with engine lubricants & can readily provide knowledgeable advice

Exhaust Emissions ​

  • AMDAL certification requires clean genset exhaust emissions
  • Tenants, customers or the public are likely to complain with high levels of exhaust emissions
  • Underground mine air quality polluted

Fuel Contamination – Modern Diesel Engines

  • Microbial growth is very corrosive
  • Studies have shown tank walls can rust away at up to 3mm per year!
  • Rusted metal flakes entering the fuel causes additional contamination
  • Indoor or outdoor ‘above ground’ tanks leaking would be a problem
  • Underground tanks leaking into groundwater would be an environmental disaster
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