Running a Diesel Engine on Used Cooking Oil

July 24th, 2020 |  Blog
Olive oil sitting on table with spices and rosemary

From cars and tractors to heating and electrical systems, it is easier than ever to operate vehicles and other machinery with biodiesel made from used cooking oil. In fact, doing so has been in practice for decades, with more and more businesses looking to utilize alternative fuels like SeQuential’s biodiesel each year. However, it’s not always as simple as just eliminating diesel and loading up a fuel tank with biodiesel. Here, SeQuential explains how our clients across Washington, Oregon, and California run diesel engines on used cooking oil-based biodiesel.

Avoid Pure Vegetable Oil

Our biodiesel has proven compatible with a host of diesel engines. However, it’s crucial to clarify that pure vegetable oil is not the best fuel choice for diesel systems. Biodiesel’s refining process converts the fat molecules of used vegetable oils and animal fats to molecules that will burn cleanly and yield high performance. Pure vegetable oil, on the other hand, can interfere with the machinery’s engine and internal systems, causing problems such as:

  • Spark ignition struggles to burn thicker vegetable oil
  • Damage to fuel pump and lines
  • Poor fuel filtration and clogged filters
  • Malfunctioning fuel injectors when spraying sticky vegetable oil into the combustion chamber
  • Higher emissions and decreased fuel efficiency from unburned or semi-burned fuel
  • Buildup of fatty deposits throughout the entire system

These problems make pure vegetable oil a poor solution. Instead, choose 100% biodiesel or a biodiesel blend for optimal results.

Determining Your Vehicle’s Compatibility

Biodiesel is not meant for use with gasoline engines, but it is an excellent alternative fuel choice for conventional compression-ignition, or diesel, engines. If your vehicle or machinery has any of the following engines in place, you won’t be able to utilize biodiesel unless you make modifications to its engineering:

  • Physical engines
  • Electrical engines
  • Reaction engines
  • Certain thermal engines

For those operating a diesel engine, no modifications or adjustments should be needed because biodiesel is considered a drop-in fuel, which means it is compatible without modifications for diesel engines. Overall, biodiesel and biodiesel blends offer the same performance as petroleum diesel, although you may notice reduced engine wear over time.

If you’re unsure about your vehicle’s or equipment’s specifications, consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer for additional information.

Converting Your Engine and System

If it’s important to you to incorporate the use of biodiesel into your life, it’s completely possible – even if your heavy equipment isn’t currently compatible. It’s not a complex task and but does require the assistance of a professional so you can reap all the benefits of SeQuential’s alternative fuel.

Learn More from SeQuential

Made from used cooking oil collected throughout the West Coast, our biodiesel is paving the way for alternative fuel use thanks to its ability to power a wide variety of vehicles and machinery. To learn more about how to run a diesel engine on the vegetable oil found in SeQuential’s biodiesel, contact us today or visit our blog.