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How's canola-based biodiesel perform?

08/30/2011 @ 1:41pm

Tractor engines fueled by canola biodiesel have performed well at North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center.

“The fuel is user-friendly, and it has hardly any odor,” says research specialist Gary Willoughby. No changes in the engine are needed to burn canola biofuel. One tractor has been running on 100% canola biodiesel for seven years. The 12-year-old machine has an 80-hp., four-cylinder, turbocharged engine.

Another 2006 tractor ran last winter on 100% biodiesel. “I pushed snow 26 straight days without a failure,” says Willoughby. He did add an antigel agent as a precaution in subzero temperatures.

That’s normal practice when using regular diesel fuel in North Dakota winters. Relative to the performance of engines powered by regular diesel fuel, Willoughby has noted no changes in fuel efficiency or horsepower in the tractors fueled by canola biodiesel.

“It burns as well as Number 2 diesel,” he says. “I am finding a solvent effect. After seven years I had to replace a couple of rubber fuel lines that were tending to get soft.”

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