Biodiesel is a renewable, non-toxic, clean-burning fuel, which can be a great alternative to conventional diesel. It is produced from seed oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, etc.) and can also be made from waste vegetable oil, animal fats and algae, which don’t compete with food production. Biodiesel burns cleaner with reduced air emissions, including a decrease in soot, smoke, carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

Generally, biodiesel is blended with petroleum diesel at different concentrations up to 20% biodiesel (B20). There will be a noticeable change in the odor and smoke in the exhaust from an engine using B20. As a result of cleaner emissions, there will be reduced air and water pollution from boats operated on biodiesel blends.

Biodiesel is safer to handle, store and use, but before converting to this biofuel, check your engine’s warranty. Very few (if any) modifications are needed before switching to this alternative fuel. Biodiesel can soften and dissolve natural rubber hoses and seals, so some people replace all lines, gaskets and seals with synthetics. Biodiesel is also an excellent solvent, and will clean out your tanks and lines, so you will need to change your fuel filters more often. It’s also important to note how often you go boating. If you rarely use your engine(s), biodiesel may not be the best alternative as it has a short storage life.

During the winter, it’s recommended that biodiesel require the addition of a cold flow improver, which combats crystallization and allows for optimal flow performance in low temperatures. For the best cold weather performance, ask your fuel provider to ensure the correct blend.

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Did you know? The Volvo Ocean Race boats used biodiesel in their engines in 2015! 

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