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Old 03-07-2005, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 650
For the BIO and WVO crowd - fiberglass and Bio?

This email was sent to me by a knowledgeable marine surveyor. It brings up an issue I hadn't thought of - my boat has fiberglass tanks though I have never run bio or WVO yet. Any comments or relevant experiences?

"Boat is a 1978 Cheoy Lee 46 foot Long Range Cruiser. Boat has
>about 200 gallon aft fuel tank and about 600 gallon foreward fuel
>tank. The boat has been in constant service since 1978 and using
>mineral diesel. The origional Fords were removed this last year and
>Cummins 5.9 B put in. The owner decided to put in some 100% virgin
>soy Bio-diesel this fall. 150 gallons were put into the aft tank,
>which was almost empty of mineral diesel. The boat has a polishing
>system and it is used regularly. After the boat 's foreward tank
>was almost empty, the 150 gallons of Biodiesel was pumped to the
>foreward tanks, and the Cummins were running on it for a short time
>(about 20 minutes). Both engines stopped. After towing the boat to
>port, the injector pumps were both found to be siezed. They had
>overheated. (Lucas pumps lubricated by the diesel) The cylinders of
>the pumps and pump bodies were filled with viscious substance. The 2
>micron racor filters were clear, as were the 10 micron transfer
>filters (used when the biodiesel was pumped to the foreward tank).
>The biodiesel had turned from a clear amber to a red slighly opaque
>substance. Exam of the tanks, revealed a black coating--Cheoy Lee
>says
>
>"It is possible that a little pigment was used in the resin coating
>of the tanks to make it clear that coverage was complete. This would
>usually have been white though. The resin would have been
>orthothalic polyester." The lining of the tanks, where soy was
>present, was sticky and soft. A sample of this was obtained and is
>sent for analysis (hole saw cutting of a baffel)--the tanks were
>refilled with mineral diesel and after new injector pumps, lines and
>injectors the engines restarted and rerun. No problems with the
>engines yet. Inspection of the tanks--after mineral diesel has been
>removed--shows the polyester lining of the resin coating became hard
>and brittle/friable. The plan is to soda blast the tanks and coat
>them with epoxy.
>
>The concern is that 100% biodiesel apparently has not been tested
>with fiberglass tanks--especially those coated only with polyester
>resin--and that may have contained diesel in the past. It is our
>belief that most large trucking stations store their diesel in
>fiberglass tanks--and that if 100% biodiesel is introduced into
>these tanks (as well as other boats) that the same thing will happen
>to the injector pumps of on the road trucks (and other boats). The
>owner has undertaken to tear out the furnature (double decked
>boat--no its not too bad)--and undertake the repairs.
>
>I have conatacted a friend who worked as VP of coating SE Asia
>division in the 80's for Ameron. He fells that both diesel--and more
>particularly the biodiesel will attack polyester to one degree or
>another. Certain of the esters formed by the biodiesel may be more
>agressive in the interaction.
>
There is a push to start selling 100% biodiesel
for trucking in the US. "



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1984 300Sd 210k

Former cars:
1984 300D 445k (!!) (Strider) Original (and not rebuilt) engine and transmission. Currently running on V80 ( 80% vegetable oil, 20% petroleum products). Actually not, taking a WVO break.
1993 300d 2.5 275k. Current 120/day commuter
1981 300SD 188k (Hans) Killed by a deer
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:08 AM
phidauex's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 806
I've kept biodiesel (washed an unwashed) in polyester bottles (PET soda bottles) for years with no apparent degredation. However, highly pigmented resins may behave differently with biodiesel.

I suppose it is possible that the biodiesel attacked the resin, but I'm surprised that PETE was used as a tank lining. I though epoxy resins were more common tank linings.

In terms of plastic resistance, the plastic with the best resistance to biodiesel seems to be HDPE or flouroelastomers.

I suppose this is a good warning to test your tank material out before commiting to a large quantity of biodiesel. I'd love to see some pictures of the situation as well.

peace,
sam
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"That f***in' biodiesel is makin' me hungry."

1982 300TD Astral Silver w/ 250k (BIO BNZ)
2001 Aprilia SR50 Corsa Red w/ 5.5k (>100 MPG)

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  #3  
Old 03-07-2005, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 650
Thanks Sam.
Most boats with fiberglass tanks have them as a part of the hull that was simply glassed off. Lining was rarely done - my old boat was 32 years old with its original polyester resin tank and there was no reaction until a thin layer of something began flaking off a couple of years ago for unknown reasons. I scraped it and coated it with epoxy and all was well.

Not until recently were boats built using epoxy and many are still built with polyestser resin.
__________________
1984 300Sd 210k

Former cars:
1984 300D 445k (!!) (Strider) Original (and not rebuilt) engine and transmission. Currently running on V80 ( 80% vegetable oil, 20% petroleum products). Actually not, taking a WVO break.
1993 300d 2.5 275k. Current 120/day commuter
1981 300SD 188k (Hans) Killed by a deer
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