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Adding regular heating oil to a tank with B20 biofuel?

pixelpusherpixelpusher Member Posts: 11
edited April 8 in Oil Heating
Hi all - The previous owners of our house were filling the oil tank with B20 biofuel. There's about a 1/4 of the 275 gallon tank filled with B20. Can I refill it with regular oil or will I have to continue with biofuel?

Comments

  • Big Ed_4Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,341
    You can add what you want ,
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,137
    Add it. If you're goal is no bio at all, run the tank to almost empty.
    steve
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    Hello,

    I found below on the web. It is also highly recommended that oil tank be indoors since biofules (bio diesel) can turn to gel faster and creating more work for the burner. I have not seen or heard anyone run 100% on bio fuels (I am sure there are lots of people do that, and I have not come across)

    From consumerreports.com
    "B20 sells for about 20 cents a gallon more than petroleum diesel according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Pure biodiesel (B100) sells for about 85 cents more per gallon than regular diesel."

    you can find additional info such as bio fuel where you can find bio diesel fueling locations and prices an alternate fuel data center sponsored by US Gov.

    https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/biodiesel_blends.html

    "How to Use Biodiesel in an Oil Furnace
    Biodiesel is made from vegetables such as corn.

    Biodiesel can be utilized in an oil furnace as an alternative to traditional petroleum-based furnace oil. Biodiesel carries with it inherent advantages, including being biodegradable, carbon neutral and producing no CO2. Since its a cleaner-burning fuel, you will find that your oil furnace requires less cleaning. Biodiesel can be gradually phased in without making any adjustments or alterations to your oil furnace.

    Start with a B2 Ratio

    "Fill your oil furnace with 98 percent petroleum-based furnace oil -- this is usually No. 2 furnace oil -- and 2 percent biodiesel. This is known as a B2 mixture. Run your oil furnace as you normally would. Use a B5 ratio the next time you refill your oil furnace: a 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent furnace oil mix. With the next refueling of your oil furnace, increase the ratio to B10 -- 10 percent biodiesel to 90 percent furnace oil. Continue to increase the ratio of biodiesel in 5- to 10-percent increments until you reach B20: 20 percent biodiesel to 80 percent furnace oil. Some users have continued to increase the ratio of biodiesel until they are using only biodiesel (B100). The only known drawback of using B100 is an increased possibility of cracked or corroded seals. Regularly check your seals if you intend to use B100 in your furnace."
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    "Biodiesel can be utilized in an oil furnace as an alternative to traditional petroleum-based furnace oil. Biodiesel carries with it inherent advantages, including being biodegradable, carbon neutral and producing no CO2. Since its a cleaner-burning fuel, you will find that your oil furnace requires less cleaning. Biodiesel can be gradually phased in without making any adjustments or alterations to your oil furnace."

    The first sentence is true. Nothing in the second or third or fourth sentences Is true.

    And people wonder why I distrust the government?
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    kcoppRobert O'Brien
  • pixelpusherpixelpusher Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for the info! Essentially the biofuel company will only deliver on contract and I’d like to avoid a contract right now so I wanted to make sure I could add standard oil to our existing biofuel with no issues. Sounds like we’re good to go!
    LS123
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,353
    Are you new to the home and new to oil heat?

    Your heating system will need annual maintenance. It might also stop working for some some reason.

    How long you want to avoid paying for a contract (service agreement)? Its nice to know a tech can help at 3:20 am on a brisk February Sunday morning. COD clients go to the bottom of the list when its busy. Think of it as an insurance policy.
    LS123STEVEusaPA
  • pixelpusherpixelpusher Member Posts: 11
    edited April 8
    @HVACNUT We're both new to the home and new to oil heat. We're considering replacing the existing oil tank, but may run out of oil before we're able to do so. We've received one quote for tank replacement so far and they've included a year of free service as part of the quote, so I don't want to sign a new contract until I can compare a few more quotes.

    Essentially I just want to make sure I can avoid running out of oil while we wait for additional quotes on replacing the oil tank.
    LS123
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,137
    You can't trust rules of thumb for pricing bio vs. non bio. Right now they are the same. And when there's a glut in bio production vs. usage, bio products can be equal, and the higher bio content, cheaper than non bio products.
    Inside tank, bio is better. Outside tank, depends on your location and if you adhere to an additives regiment.
    Bio (initially) will clean your tank and foul your filter(s), strainer and nozzle quicker, until the tank is clean (ish). Bio, on a burner properly tuned will result in less fouling of the heat exchanger.
    Very important with bio, the biggest factor, is where the dealer is getting their bio stock. At the refinery, blended with the same quality to give it it's proper ISO designation for use in diesel engines is the best.
    Avoid companies that store their own and blend their own, usually that's where almost all of the problems lie.
    steve
    HVACNUTLS123SuperTechZman
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    hello heating help friends, yes somewhere I did see that Bio D can mess your burner. Also "B20 sells for about 20 cents a gallon more than petroleum diesel according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Pure biodiesel (B100) sells for about 85 cents more per gallon than regular diesel.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    I have been an environmentalist since 1988 at Greenwich High School. I formed a club called Toxic Avengers to start recycle and reuse, reduce carbon foot prints and reduce air pollution. I wish there were no contracts or the price of bio d would have been competitive specially now that we live in 2020
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    I have read that somewhere many moons ago that bio d had to be heated to 140 F degrees to be efficient ( perhaps that was for automobiles, not heating related.)
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    unfortunately, I have a political science degree but specialized on global financial systems. as a habit, I try not to speak religion nor politics. Having said that... if we don't protect what we have and can do to control pollution in all forms, but making money as a priority, how much will we ( we = all the countries that disagree and getting out of Paris climate agreement. where will we be leaving our children and gran children? for some politician and people its about money, for some its about protecting the future generations... ok I am done.. I wish bio fuel was mo available like in Brazil and some other countries... yes we have to save money on heating, but there is an inherent responsibility by all of us to move away from fossil fuels...
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,353
    I'm not positive. Just hear things, but at this point I think the total process from beginning to end, biofuel actually adds to the carbon footprint rather than reducing it.

    Thoughts or facts?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    HVACNUT said:

    I'm not positive. Just hear things, but at this point I think the total process from beginning to end, biofuel actually adds to the carbon footprint rather than reducing it.



    Thoughts or facts?

    Too many variables -- but it certainly isn't far off neutral either way. Another problem is that biodiesel (as opposed to biogasoline) uses soybeans -- which are grown in vast quantities on what used to be Amazon rainforest... and are also an in-demand foodstuff (biogasoline uses ethanol from corn, which is also an in-demand foodstuff -- but at least isn't grown on former rainforest...).

    There is no simple solution. There is no free lunch. We've been around this before...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    LS123EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    You have a very good point there @Jamie Hall
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 462
    @Jamie Hall
    Why are you prejudiced against bio diesel, it should have been the bio fuel of the future, until big oil and detroit got together and made the new generation of diesels that need the exhaust additive, deliberately to lock in fossil diesel, which releases carbon into the air that has been sequestered for millions of years. Bio D releases carbon that was sequestered in the last few years. I have used it and it works very well, both for heating and in my Detroit 6V92.
    STEVEusaPA
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    If biodiesel and biogasoline could be produced without using farmland which is needed for food production or, in the case of biodiesel, the destruction of large areas of rainforest, I'd not have much of a problem -- though the carbon balance is about the same as "fossil" derivatives -- I'd probably not have a problem with them.

    As it is, I -- very frankly -- regard them as a feel good solution for a highly materialistic economy in the rich world (I believe the current term is "virtue signaling") which does not contribute to solving either the overall problems of climate change or feeding and improving the lot of very poor folks in non-first world countries.

    But that's my personal opinion, and I have odd opinions on some things.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    HVACNUTvibert_ckcoppratio
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 572
    edited April 14
    @LS123 said "I have a political science degree but specialized on global financial systems. as a habit, I try not to speak religion nor politics. Having said that... if we don't protect what we have and can do to control pollution in all forms, but making money as a priority, how much will we ( we = all the countries that disagree and getting out of Paris climate agreement. where will we be leaving our children and gran children? for some politician and people its about money, for some its about protecting the future generations... ok I am done.. "

    This clearly helps @pixelpusher with his dilemma. If you read between the lines here, you are forced to the conclusion of geopolitical certainty that it is NOT OK to put anything in that tank. Adding just one gallon of fuel oil will push us over the edge of a global disaster.

    But as an HVAC technician specializing in oil heat for over 40 years, I might recommend the total doomsday scenario and put 150 gallons of #2 fuel in the tank whether the tank is inside or outside.

    Let's keep our fingers crossed that @pixelpusher will make the best choice for the universe. But if #2 fuel does get mixed in with the B-20 in the tank then maybe we all just hold our breath for 30 seconds.

    By globally holding our breath for 30 seconds we can reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by the human species by 2.4 million kilograms.

    Likewise, if @LS123 would hold his breath for 234 billion seconds the same result would be accomplished (Mathematically 7.8 billion is the world population x 30 seconds is a total of 234,000,000,000 seconds)

    LS123
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    hello you all... All of you have made considerably valid points...
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 462
    Biodiesel produces 2661 grams of CO2 per gallon, compared to 12,360 grams per gallon for petroleum diesel fuel.
    Agree that cutting down Amazon rain forests is not good, but then neither is releasing Carbon that has been underground for millions of years, when burning petro diesel not to forget the damage fracking is doing..
    LS123
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    "Biodiesel produces 2661 grams of CO2 per gallon, compared to 12,360 grams per gallon for petroleum diesel fuel."

    Reference, please? There's something seriously wrong with that number as stated.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 462
    @Jamie Hall
    Biodiesel produces 2661 grams of CO2 per gallon, compared to 12,360 grams per gallon for petroleum diesel fuel.

    Biodiesel - Department of Energyafdc.energy.gov › files › pdfs
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,190
    ASTM D396 allows up to 5% bio content in heating oil. Other than a reduction in carbon output, moving from #2 oil to B20 will have almost no effect on the operation of the system.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    STEVEusaPA
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 462
    The way of the future will be:
    Electric cars and bikes to move people.
    Bio diesel to move freight,
    Fossil oil to lubricate.
    Dunno about heating, you guys are the experts, we all rely on you.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    nibs said:

    @Jamie Hall
    Biodiesel produces 2661 grams of CO2 per gallon, compared to 12,360 grams per gallon for petroleum diesel fuel.

    Biodiesel - Department of Energyafdc.energy.gov › files › pdfs

    Fair enough, after a fashion. Except I get around 3200 using their figures. With two caveats which you neglected to mention: they are using full life cycle comparisons, and counting the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plant growth, and they are using the values for 100% biodiesel. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have complete documentation for the energy and fuel costs of growing the crop or transporting it. The actual benefit would depend dramatically on the fuels used for that.

    But I'm an engineer, or I was once, and I'm fussy (and still am) about details...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    LS123
  • nibsnibs Member Posts: 462
    @Jamie Hall I neglected nothing, you asked for the source of my numbers I gave it to you. I made no claims about the source or its methodology.
    Since petro oil has to be transported as does bio fuel, I think we can reasonably assume that the carbon footprint for freight is a wash, unless bio fuel was used to power the freight engine.
    Petro fuels have to be extracted, and refined, both very high in energy use, (comparatively much more than for bio diesel). I have neither the time nor inclination to research the energy expenditures for that, you can goggle as well as I.
    My experience with engineers is extensive, my personal icon is Buckminster Fuller, began reading his work in the '60's in those days we had a few friends in common.
    In my working career I found there were two basic engineering mindsets, the visionaries who see a bridge or tunnel where none existed and the technicians who calculate the number of wires of what size needed to support the roadway on a suspension bridge.
    LS123
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    No comment
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,849
    Having thought about @nibs comment some more, may I suggest some visionaries -- some engineers, some not -- for consideration? In no particular order, and you'll have to look them up -- but they all dreamed dreams, and all of them had a huge impact on our modern life.

    For your consideration. Cyrus McComick, Alan Turing, Bill Allen, Henry Ford, George C. Marshall, Bill Gates, Steve Jobes, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, Thomas Telford, Joseph Roebling

    Just off the top of my head.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    LS123
  • kenjohnsonkenjohnson Member Posts: 53
    FWIW, the aforementioned link https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/biodiesel_blends.html does not contain any information about using biodiesel in furnaces or boilers and does not contain the information seemingly attributed to it (the three sentences that Jamie disagreed with, that I disagree with as well).

    That link is about biodiesel use in vehicle engines, and from the best I know, is 100% factual.
    LS123
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,137
    I think we've blown way off course from the original question, which was answered in the first 2 posts.
    steve
    LS123
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 572
    edited April 21
    @STEVEusaPA, don't be so judgemental. I'm sure that @pixelpusher is supremely grateful for this info provided by @LS123 in order to take advantage of the philosophical nuances of this extremely critical decision that must be made before we all perish by our own hand.

    @Jamie Hall said "...but they all dreamed dreams, and all of them had a huge impact on our modern life.

    For your consideration. Cyrus McComick, Alan Turing, Bill Allen, Henry Ford, George C. Marshall, Bill Gates, Steve Jobes, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, Thomas Telford, Joseph Roebling"

    but he did not go back in time enough to remember these two famous innovators from Mongolia



    @LS123 is probably driving an electric car, living in a cave without heat or air conditioning or using plastic containers, as we all should. So do not dismiss too liberally. >:)
    LS123
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,137
    @EdTheHeaterMan, don’t worry about me. Staying on topic is more important than long winded nonsense. For an example, see the post directly above this one.
    steve
    EdTheHeaterManLS123
  • pixelpusherpixelpusher Member Posts: 11
    @EdTheHeaterMan I came for the heating advice and stayed for the philosophy :D
    Robert O'BrienLS123EdTheHeaterMan
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 572
    I'm happy you stayed, I hope you just added the regular #2 heating oil without any problem
    LS123
  • pixelpusherpixelpusher Member Posts: 11
    @EdTheHeaterMan Yes! We had smooth delivery and the burner's been working just fine :smile:
    LS123EdTheHeaterMan
  • LS123LS123 Member Posts: 97
    This most likely be off topic.

    I agree that whatever the fuel we use, less of a carbon foot print is good for every living thing on the earth. It may be a form of good bacteria, it may be and elephant or whale, crops etc. but most importantly for us humans and all future generations.

    Good morning all. yes I always look to reduce any form of waste, pollution. Started nearly 30 years ago as Greenwich High school, started a club name "Toxic Avengers" we promoted three Rs. We raised money to sell reusable bags (instead of plastic disposable bags) don't do not put my trash can out every week ( perhaps once a month) But put the recycle bin once a month. any and all biodegradable including any left over etc go to compost bin. Within last month people not driving due to reduce exposure to codiv -19, in major cities Air pollution has reduced, quality of air improved (helping children who has asthma, and reducing other upper respiratory health issues for especially very young and older citizens. Yes, I used to drive a Prius, got 45 min to 56-60 max gpm. Right I only go to the supermarket once a week round trip 6 miles :) .

    By the way regardless of weather we use bio diesel, heating oil, coal what ever, what we need is systems, cars etc that can reduce pollution (such as capturing by products such as CO, CO2, Sulfur etc.

    We have so much advance technologies that can improve efficiency, ways to capture pollutants, perhaps money spent on research, develop improved systems might cost us few cents extra to fill the tanks. I would much rather pay a little now than lot more later.

    I think we should all push and demand more efficient systems of all sorts, and systems to capture all pollutants (before them endup in air, water and land) . We develop WMDs back in mid 1940s, we sent rockets and space crafts and landed on the moon and returned back in late 1960s.


  • PerryHolzmanPerryHolzman Member Posts: 118
    What most people who promote "biofuels" miss is the energy it takes to create and process the fuel; and then what is the source of that energy. Ethanol plants have huge steam and hot water systems... and require large industrial boilers (up to the size of small power plants).

    Several years ago the environmentalist were horrified to find out that some of these boilers burned coal... as that was the cheapest fuel source for the energy needed to run the plant.

    To this day, I've not seen any reliable documentation that shows that the ethanol produced for gasoline produces more energy when its burned than it takes to produce it. The early ethanol plants used almost twice the energy per gallon as what was in the ethanol (and what is the source and carbon impact of that energy). I have heard that they have become more energy efficient; just have yet to see any claims with proper documentation that they are more efficient (and carbon reducing) than just burning gasoline.

    That kind of energy use is OK if producing a nice malt whisky or other forms of beverages (which are much smaller quantities). It's not "saving" the planet by reducing energy usage.

    I have not studied the process of biodiesel production; but, I suspect its the same story. There are no magical solutions, or near magical ones either.

    Perry
    LS123
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,190
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
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