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Gas oil users warned to check for biodiesel presence

Users of gas oil should prepare for the inclusion of biodiesel following changes in line with new European Directives for Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality, ICOM Energy Association has warned.

The new fuel will be available later this month. ICOM says the presence of biodiesel in gas oil can cause a number of problems.

These include: degradation of rubbers, plastic and surface coatings; residual deposit flushing resulting in clogged filters, etc; mould growth and other problems due to water update; oxidation and hydrolysis degradation; and burner and component intolerance.

Barry Webster, ICOM president, said: “The strong detergency, solvent and hygroscopic properties of biodiesel, compared with those of purely hydrocarbon fuels, will require consumers to take preparatory action to avoid encountering problems with the systems connected to their fuel supplies. Now is the time to contact your heating, hot water or steam maintenance company to be prepared for the changes.”

Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC director-general, said this will affect an estimated 5 per cent of the UK market, adding that it would mainly affect older systems.

Both ICOM and OFTEC agree that action should be initiated before delivery of gas oil containing biodiesel is arranged.

This involves checking tanks, ensuring they are suitable and free from water, mould growth and solid deposits and also ensuring they are fit for purpose.

A list of qualified service engineers and tank specialists can be found at

ICOM advises that equipment manufacturers ensure service engineers and agents are aware of the changes and can react to updates to systems before class D gas oil containing biodiesel is introduced.


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