Guascor Goes Green, Approving Biodiesel
Spanish engine manufacturer Guascor announced a new line of power generation units, approved for use with biodiesel. Based on an extensive series of tests, the engines can be used with any percentage blend, up to 100% purebiodiesel, compliant with ASTM D6751 or EN14214 standards, the company specified.
The range covers a power output from 300 to 1140 kW, both in 50 and 60 Hz versions. The most popular engine in this family is the SF480TA, a water-cooled 16-cylinder unit with an electric power output of 920 kW in the 50 Hz version and 1044 kW in the 60 Hz version, at 1500 r/min. Guascor added that the engine reaches a thermal efficiency of 58%, and in general all units yield the same thermal efficiency as when diesel fueled.
Emissions, of course, are reduced — with the exception of NOx, which increases compared to the diesel solution. As for fuel efficiency, Guascor said consumption tends to increase, depending on the low heat value (LHV) of the fuel. As the LHV increases toward the conventional diesel value, the consumption decreases and gets closer to the diesel average. The manufacturer approached the biodiesel solution with a series of tests, starting with an engine using 10% biodiesel and 90% diesel and slowly increased the amount of biodiesel in the blend.
This helped the engineers pinpoint potential problems connected with the use of biodiesel and develop necessary modifications. At the same time, technicians were able to optimize specific preventive maintenance guidelines. Technical modifications on the engines consisted of replacing certain components that were not suitable with the biodiesel characteristics, with elastomer-based ones, as well as the application of a new paint.
The lower stability of biodiesel can cause deposits inside the engine and block the injectors. Guascor suggested using oxidation stabilizer additives in the fuel, as well as limiting the amount of time biodiesel is left in the tank. The engines have also been fitted with silt sensors to prevent the premature clogging of fuel filters. In addition, the manufacturer adopted a water separator, as the presence of water in this fuel can develop bacteria.
Guascor has compiled a series of guidelines for fuel storage and supply to avoid problems connected to the behavior of biodiesel at low temperatures. Guidelines include storing the biodiesel for shorter periods, using joints made of Viton fluoroelastomer, applying acrylic tank paint, adopting water separator filters on the tank outlet and fitting heating resistors in the storage tank.