Purdue Study Proves Biodiesel Burns Well in Furnaces

John Davis

Yesterday, I told you how oilheat industry officials have set out a plan to make more use of biodiesel blended to burn in home furnaces. For those who might be worried about the performance of the green fuel in your home heater, a new study indicates it will do just fine.

This story from Purdue University
says researchers have been testing degummed soybean oil and No. 2 fuel oil as an alternative to heating fuel:

ileleji-soybeanKlein Ileleji, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, tested blends of 20 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent degummed soybean oil – an unrefined and cheaper product to produce than soy methyl esters, commonly known as biodiesel – and found that the 20 percent blend didn’t degrade a home furnace’s parts or heat output. The only issue found with the 20 percent blend was a slight early degradation of the furnace’s seals and gaskets, which manufacturers could fix by switching to a higher quality product. Ileleji’s findings were reported in the recent early online version of the journal Fuel.

“You are going to reduce the sulfur emissions with degummed soybean oil. The things you should be worried about with a biofuel, such as the pour point temperature and heating ability, were not affected,” Ileleji said. “You want to keep the properties of your No. 2 fuel oil, and at 20 percent degummed soybean oil, you would minimally affect those properties.”

Ileleji found that a 20 percent blend worked well in furnaces without any modification to the heater’s design.

The Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana United Soybean Board funded the research.

Biodiesel, Research