Biodiesel Equipment Options
A service station consists of many interconnected pieces of refueling equipment necessary to deliver fuel to vehicles. There are approximately 60 pieces at a station designed to handle fuel and vapor. The equipment delivering fuel to a vehicle includes tanks, pipes, a submersible turbine pump, a dispenser, and hanging hardware. The remainder (and majority) is used to prevent, detect, and contain fuel and vapor releases. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers existing tanks and associated underground equipment to be compatible with the biodiesel blend B20 (6% to 20% biodiesel, blended with petroleum diesel). B20- and B100- (pure biodiesel) compatible equipment is available in every category from multiple manufacturers. Above-ground equipment must be UL listed for the fuel dispensed. Below-ground equipment must comply with federal code and must either be UL listed for the fuel dispensed, or must have a letter from the manufacturer stating compatibility with blends above B20.
Most existing tanks are compatible with biodiesel blends up to B100. All existing fuel storage tank manufacturers have issued signed letters stating compatibility with up to B100 per federal requirements. Steel tanks are listed under UL 58 for flammable fuels and do not test with specific fuels. Fiberglass tanks are listed under UL 1316, which does not offer a biodiesel test fluid. However, all fiberglass tank manufacturers have tested with biodiesel blends and meet federal codes with compatibility letters. Owens Corning was the only manufacturer of underground fiberglass tanks between 1965 and 1994 that did not test with biodiesel blends, and therefore was not able to issue a letter stating compatibility.
- Above-Ground Tanks: Above-ground tank manufacturers have also provided statements of compatibility with all biodiesel blends up to B100.
- Tank Preparation: If an existing tank is compatible, it must be cleaned prior to storing any blend above B5. Biodiesel blends, particularly higher blends, have a solvent affect and will "clean out" and absorb contamination left behind by years of petroleum fuel storage.
Other Underground Storage Tank Equipment
Approximately 99% of installed pipes are made from either fiberglass or a flexible composite and many are compatible with biodiesel blends. The following manufacturers have issued letters to meet federal code stating compatibility with B100: Brugg Pipesystems, NOV Fiberglass Systems (includes Ameron brand), Nupi Americas, and OmegaFlex (requires stainless steel fittings). Other manufacturers including Advantage Earth Products, Franklin Fueling, and OPW should be contacted directly for biodiesel compatibility. Typical warranties for fiberglass and flexible pipes are 30 years and 10 years, respectively.
Stations have a significant amount of equipment underground and in the tank to receive fuel deliveries and to prevent, detect, and contain leaks. This equipment includes, but is not limited to, sumps and accessories, manholes, flexible composite connectors, fill caps and adaptors, entry fittings, overfill prevention, leak detection, sensors, drop tubes, and vents. There is equipment compatible with higher level biodiesel blends for all these equipment categories from multiple manufacturers.
Above-ground equipment includes equipment a consumer is likely to encounter at a station, including the dispenser and hanging hardware. B20 UL-listed equipment is available and should be used to meet federal and local regulations. For instance, all of manufacturer Gilbarco Encore's dispensers sold since January 1, 2014 are UL listed for B20. Manufacturer Wayne also offers B20 as an option on all Helix and Ovation models. Prior to the availability of UL-listed B20 dispensers, both manufacturers' standard two-year warranty covered the use of B20. Husky and OPW offer UL-listed breakaways, nozzles, and swivels for B20. Veyance’s (a division of Goodyear) Flexsteel Futura hose is also UL-listed for B20.
Shear valves are also an important piece of safety equipment that cut off the flow of fuel from the UST to the dispenser to prevent a release in the event of an accident dislodging the dispenser or fire. UL-listed B20 shear valves are available from Franklin Fueling and OPW. Submersible turbine pumps draw fuel from the tank into piping that delivers the fuel to the dispenser. Franklin Fueling has UL-listed submersible turbine pumps for B20 and B100 and Veeder-Root has a letter stating compatibility with B100, which meets federal code requirements.