Comparing Engine Wear: Petroleum and Biodiesel

August 21st, 2018 |  Biodiesel and Blog
Semi Trucks

By now, it’s no secret that biodiesel offers a wide variety of benefits that elevate this alternative fuel source above and beyond many of its competitors. It’s simple to use with virtually every modern diesel engine, it burns cleaner than petroleum diesel and it’s easy to source from sustainable processes. But how does biodiesel perform when it’s actually in a vehicle’s engine? Discover how biodiesel stacks up against petroleum diesel when it comes to engine wear.

It’s All About Lubricity

Like most types of fuel, diesel fuels must comply with a variety of federal regulations that demand the fuel to meet certain specifications. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center, one of these regulations concerns the amount of allowable fuel sulfur. While there are benefits to this regulation – reduced sulfur typically makes for easier emission control, for instance – the limitation also dramatically lowered the lubricity of most diesel types. That leads to yet another regulation, this time setting a minimum lubricity level. Why? Put simply, low-lubricity fuels can lead to exceptionally high engine wear.

Fortunately, that’s one area where biodiesel shines. Even a low-percentage biodiesel blend offers significantly increased lubricity over petroleum alternatives, and lubricity levels naturally increase as the percentage of biodiesel increases. Studies have proven that this high lubricity level leads to less engine wear than is often caused by petroleum fuels.

How Cetane Rating Affects Performance

Lubricity is important, but biodiesel offers another engine-based benefit – a high cetane rating. This number refers to the engine’s ignition speed, and the higher the number, the better. Fuels with high cetane ratings enable easier engine start-up, which leads to less wear and tear. Regular petroleum diesel typically hovers at a 48 cetane rating, while pure biodiesel is on par with premium and synthetic diesel at about 55. It’s worth noting that using fuel with a higher cetane rating won’t necessarily benefit your vehicle, but using fuel with a lower rating than is recommended by the manufacturer could lead to serious engine damage over time.

Choose SeQuential

SeQuential’s sustainable biodiesel is compatible with virtually any diesel equipment, and its high cetane rating and top-tier lubricity makes it a prime choice for owners seeking to maximize the life of their gear. Learn more about our low-waste biodiesel production process, and then find a SeQuential source near you to experience the benefits of biodiesel for yourself.