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Tips for Preparing to Store, Blend and Distribute Biofuels at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

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There is a long process a gallon of fuel goes through before it flows through the nozzle at the pump, and it is crucial that fuel remains on spec. That holds true for those investing in biofuels as biodiesel has to be on spec before it gets into ultra-low sulfur diesel to get a renewable identification number [learn more about renewable fuels and RINs here].

During NATSO Connect, the Alternative Fuels Council offered a Renewable Fuels Workshop. Paul Nazzaro, president of Advanced Fuel Solutions, also discussed biodiesel and shared his tips to help operators ensure fuel quality during the workshop.  

When determining whether or not to carry biofuels, operators should conduct a market analysis, assess mandates and incentive, Nazzaro said. He noted that demand dictates the size of the tank and required handling equipment. “Success will ultimately be determined by price, supply and product positioning,” he told attendees. 

Nazzaro added that operators need to ensure they purchase fuel that meets ASTM specifications. “When you’re blending, make sure you’re working with reputable suppliers. Ask for a certificate of analysis,” he said, adding that operators need to know what to ask for. “I’d be asking how’s the stability of this biodiesel before it goes into my ULSD? Will it laquer and varnish pumps? Will my customers have filter plugging problems?”

In addition, operators should have a proactive tank management program in place, Nazzaro said. As a best practice, operators should be monitoring future temperature cycle and equipment downtime. They should also focus on storage tank housekeeping, he explained. “Be knowledgeable of ISO 4406 Cleanliness Standards,” he said. 

It is important for operators to know what they’re blending, if there is any moisture in the tank and the paraffin content. “Ensure fuel is properly winterized for conditions,” Nazzaro said.

Operators should also establish a preventive defense to any issues that may arise by providing oversight protection to the fuels they buy and sell, educating themselves and their customers. “A preparedness program can make a good fuel great,” Nazzaro said. (Download the Alternative Fuels Council's Fuel Quality Plan here.)

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Nazzaro told attendees at NATSO Connect that he is bullish on the future of diesel fuel. “Compared to gasoline, we’re more efficient. We’re the workhorse of the industry,” he said, adding that he hasn’t seen or heard of people suffering fuel economy penalties for using biodiesel. 

In fact, he said biodiesel improves distillate properties and explained that biofuels have a higher cetane level, have higher lubricity and virtually zero sulfur.

Nazzaro heads up the XBX Seminars, a series of free regional, one-day seminars designed to educate fuel wholesalers, distributors, retailers, marketers and others on the benefits and opportunities surrounding biodiesel. They are hosted by the National Biodiesel Board, in partnership with several industry sponsor. Learn more about attending an XBX seminars here.

// NATSO’s Alternative Fuels Council website has a tool that operators can use to plug in their numbers to see the benefits, and the council is providing a free consultation to operatorsLearn more about the Alternative Fuels Council here.

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About the Author

Jeff Hove

Jeff Hove

Jeff Hove has designed RIN management systems for blenders since 2007. He also has working knowledge of fuel quality requirements and infrastructure demands. He focuses on each client’s specific needs and finds solutions that best fit their business.