Biodiesel is significantly more susceptible to water contamination compared to standard petroluem diesel, and removing the water can be a very difficult task because biodiesel can retain up to 20 times more water than regular diesel.
The presence of the water in biodiesel is problem because:
1. Water can cause corrosion of fuel and injector pumps, as well as some other vital parts of the car.
2. Water can also cause less power and harder starting of the car because of its ability to reduce the heat of combustion of the bulk fuel.
3.Water can also cause rotting of the filters in the system which can significantly shorten the fuel pump lifespan.
4. Since water freezes at low temperatures this can also lead to faster gelling of the residual fuel.
5. Water can also cause pitting in the pistons on a diesel engine.
There are however some techniques that are extremely helpful in preventing water contamination of biodiesel such as having all tank caps in place and in good condition, doing the filling of the tanks at the end of the day to avoid condensation when the temperatures cool overnight, using underground storage tanks, avoiding the prolonged exposure of fuel to light since this can induce algae growth, etc.
Biodiesel industry is already working on possible solutions to this problem, but for the time being, water contamination of biodiesel is still a concern because where’s water there’s always a big potential for microbes to grow..