Cold Weather Guide

Handling & Use ::

Did you know that you can use up to a 20 percent blend of biodiesel year-round, in even the coldest of climates? Biodiesel will gel in cold weather, just like regular diesel fuel. But B20 can be treated for winter use, in similar ways that No. 2 diesel is treated. Using B20 throughout the winter months just takes a little preparation and good fuel management practices. A good fuel distributor will make sure your fuel is treated for optimum cold weather performance.

Winter's No Match for Biodiesel 

VOYA Bio Diesel Winter ProjectWhen winter is in full swing and temperatures drop across the country, many diesel users must take extra precautions with their fuel, and biodiesel is no different.

Like regular diesel fuel, biodiesel can gel in very cold temperatures. However, a few simple steps can ensure that vehicles and equipment operate trouble-free during the harshest winter weather. Bill Carlson, facility manager of Voyageurs National Park in International Falls, MN knows this better than most.

“The first winter we started using a blend of B20,” says Carlson. “We had temperatures of 20 below zero and had no problems with our fuel.”

VOYA Ice Road PlowingVoyageurs National Park is located in the “Ice Box of the Nation” along the international border of the US and Canada. Carlson started using biodiesel in 2000, and has not looked back since. The park runs B20 in every vehicle in the park all year long, and even switches some vehicles to B100 in the summer months.

Biodiesel is a great fuel for all seasons, and with just a little knowledge and effort, anyone can ensure that their biodiesel will run perfectly in the cold.  Taking simple steps such parking equipment indoors, blending with No. 1 diesel, and using cold flow additives will all help prevent gelling.  Follow the link here to learn more about Voyageurs National Park and learn “What you need to know” in order to keep your biodiesel in top shape.

Harvard University Understands the Cold

Harvardsnow storm 3813 During the winter of 2014-2015, the National Weather Service reported that Boston’s Logan Airport received 108.6 inches of snow, making it the all-time snowiest season for the city.  Through it all, Harvard University’s biodiesel – powered fleet didn’t miss a beat.

David E. Harris Jr., Harvard’s Director Transit and Fleet Management, reports they had no problems even on the most frigid days. “After the snowiest and coldest winter since we started using biodiesel 11 years ago, we were up and running providing transit service and keeping campus operations running smoothly,” Harris said. “Biodiesel is the fuel that helped us do that.”

Harvardwinter2Harvard’s diesel fleet includes about 75 service vehicles including shuttle buses, solid waste and recycling trucks, mail delivery vehicles and more.  The university also uses biodiesel in about 25 pieces of off-road maintenance equipment.  All of this adds up to Harvard using approximately 2,000 gallons of B20 per week, for a total of more than 100,000 gallons a year!

Harris, who volunteers as a Biodiesel Ambassador, knows that like regular diesel fuel, biodiesel can gel in very cold temperatures.  He emphasizes that ensuring good quality is priority one, and adds that the precautions that he takes with biodiesel in cold weather are good practice with regular diesel fuel as well.  All it takes is a few simple steps to ensure that vehicles and equipment operate trouble-free during the harshest winter weather.