Boating with Biodiesel

John Davis

biodieselboat.gifA commercial launch company in Massachusetts will run some of its boats this summer on biodiesel.

This story in the Salem News (Beverly, Mass.) says that after testing biodiesel on a partner company’s research boat, Mid-Harbor Launch Service will run a few of its boats vessel on the green fuel to test the viability of the product:

biodiesellaunch.jpgMid-Harbor Launch plans to begin using a mixture called B20, and possibly higher mixes, on three or four of its new launches for the upcoming boating season.

The fuel will be delivered in early May to Mid-Harbor’s 500-gallon capacity work boat, Loftus said, and the launches will be fueled from there.

Upon delivery, it will be the first commercial marine use on the North Shore, according to Ed Burke, chairman of the board at Dennis K. Burke Inc., the first major fuel distributor in the Boston area to offer B20 and B5 biodiesel blends.

While the biodiesel will yield obvious environmental benefits, there are some drawbacks that need to be overcome. It can degrade natural rubber in older engines, and sometimes, the cleaning nature of biodiesel can knock loose sediment that has built up in engines, possibly clogging fuel filters. Most truck operators have run into similar problems, and usually, they just keep extra filters on hand.