EN590 - The B7 Introduction
What is B7 and why should I be concerned?
From Jan 1st 2011 EN590 is changing. By that date all gas oil will have a lower sulphur content and a 7% biodiesel blend.
What does it mean?
The technical explanation from the fuels quality directive – Directive 2009/30/EC, Article 4 – Diesel Fuel (EN590)
Date of introduction:
- 1 January 2011
- All gas oils for non-road mobile machinery (inc. inland waterway vessels), agricultural and
forestry tractors, recreational craft.
Maximum sulphur content:
- 10ppm (0.001%)
- 7% by volume (various sources: rape oil, palm oil, soy, jatropha tallow, used cooking oil, etc)
- Must be EN590 compliant
In a nutshell, this means you will see lower sulphur and a 7% biodiesel mix in your gas oil/diesel. This is the new EU
What is the aim?
To make the fuel more “green”. To use less carbon during the fuel life cycle. To comply with the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives
What is FAME and what effect will this change have?
FAME is biodiesel, or rather Fatty Acid Methyl Esters. However the name Biodiesel is more commercially friendly. There are at least 6 issues to look out for.
Less power from your engine
Bio diesel in this form is a little less potent than mineral derived diesel. This means the engine will have to work harder to get more power.
Less lubricant in the fuel
Lower sulphur means potentially higher engine wear and more frequent oil changes. Check pistons more often.
A shorter shelf life
Where mineral fuels are within specification for 6 -12 months, biodiesel has a life of 8 -12 weeks. The mix of fuel will extend this, but a shorter life is a certainty.
Higher water content
1FAME is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water from the atmosphere or its surrounds. In fact it can absorb up to 1500ppm, where 200ppm is the maximum allowed. High water content increases the acidity of the fuel, meaning your seals and gaskets will start to be eaten away; we have seen them turn into a toffee like substance. Worst still is the damage water can do to the engine itself, modern common rail engines have pressures of 3000 bar plus, it is not possible to compress water to the same level as fuel, which results in injector wear (meaning poor efficiency), or injector destruction (meaning the engine fails all together).
Images (right) show biomass build-up. Bacteria like water, and really like biodiesel. This microbial growth can double in population every 20 minutes and leads to a built up of biomass
and sludge in addition to an increase in water content. It “eats” the fuel’s hydrocarbons, and compresses the remainder into a sludge that will block pipes, filters and engines. Plus the
natural biocide of sulphur is being reduced to such a small amount as to be ineffective - meaning more infection is likely. As a major UK fuel supplier recently quoted “If gas oil has
fame in it, then the problems seen with diesel (particularly microbial) may be repeated”
Bio diesel waxes at a higher temperature than mineral diesel. Plus the build up of fatty acids can mean that the fuel will form a substance not too dissimilar to lard. Once again this is not
only a danger to the engine, but to the pipe work, filters, pumps and anything else in your fuel line.
What can be done?
The simple answer is to be prepared. Any issue can easily be dealt with, but its much better to prevent it occurring in the first place. Good fuel housekeeping is the key, so monitor your tanks, check for water content, ensure you have sufficient in-line filtration/water separation and above all ensure you are polishing your fuel.
By applying a WASP pure fuel system (fuel polishing device) to your tank, you can not only remove any biomass, water and other contaminates from your fuel and so avoid the danger of
build up, but you can also extend the life of your fuel by mixing inside the polishing system itself.
Options now exist in the range and in our in-line filter range to remove both free and emulsified water, to cleaning to 10, 3, 2 micron and if required even lower (0.3mic is the current lowest at time of writing). Bio diesel and biodiesel mixed fuels must be treated carefully, biocides accelerate oxidisation and should only be used under strict instruction; our range of cleaning devices are non-chemical and ensure fuel is kept in optimum condition.
10ppm sulphur in gas oil is dyed standard road diesel. Unless completely certain it is safer to assume all gas oil from now on will have biodiesel in it. Certain metals (copper, brass) should be avoided as they can catalyse fuel degradation. (Bio) blends tend to be less stable and should not be kept long term. If un-polished, this bio-diesel should be turned over every 12 months; this will be a major concern for standby power generation applications.