Can you do so? Yes.
Would I do so? Yes.
First, Biodiesel can be manufactured from vegetable oil it is NOT vegetable oil. The following applies to properly manufactured biodiesel only.
I would do so for a generator running prime power or one that has longer duty cycle. If you are considering biodiesel be sure to also consider cogeneration. At best a diesel generator converts 35% of available BTU to electricity and the remainder are emitted as heat. This heat can be harnessed and used profitably.
Because long term storage is an issue for biodiesel I would avoid biodiesel for a generator that is rarely used.
Some manufacturers of diesel generator engines may void their warranty or may not cover specific components such as seals, injectors and other components. You may be wise to wait until your warranty coverage has expired.
There are many issues involved. Please read on and follow the links at the left of this page for both pros and cons of powering with biodiesel.
Biodiesel -a more formal definition
Biodiesel fuels are methyl or ethyl esters derived from a broad variety of renewable sources such as vegetable cooking oil and animal fat. Esters are oxygenated organic compounds that can be used in compression ignition (diesel) engines because some of their key properties are comparable to those of diesel fuel.
Biodiesel is produced through a process in which organically derived oils are combined with alcohol (ethanol or methanol) in the presence of a catalyst to form ethyl or methyl ester. Biodiesel can be made from soybean or Canola oils, animal fats, waste vegetable oils or micro algae oils.
Do not confuse biodiesel with biofuels. Biofuels are made from cellulose biomass resources. Biofuels include ethanol, biodiesel and methanol.
Biodiesel is made from fresh or waste vegetable oils (triglycerides) that are a renewable energy source. Biodiesel is an environmentally safe, low polluting fuel which can be used in most diesel internal combustion and turbine engines. Biodiesel can be mixed with petroleum diesel fuel and stored anywhere petroleum is stored. Biodiesel is relatively safe and easy to process when conscientiously approached. Benefits are substantially reduced engine emissions, even with a blend of 20% Biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel.
When I change to Biodiesel, what else should I keep in mind when I switch over?
Over time Biodiesel may soften and degrade certain types of rubber-like and natural rubber compounds used in fuel hoses and system seals in older engines. Most engines made after 1994-5 will have synthetic fuel lines and seals and will not suffer from this problem. When using high percent biodiesel blends be sure that the existing fuel system of your older engine does not contain rubber or natural rubber compounds incompatible with Biodiesel. In general, engine manufacturers recommend that natural or butyl rubbers not be allowed to come in contact with neat Biodiesel, or they will deteriorate. An indication of deterioration is that your hoses and seals deteriorate are sticky to the touch and soft.
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