Biofuel B5 or Biofuel B20?


Last week I happened to be in the front office when a customer was signing up for a prebuy program. He wanted biofuel and, while he was there, he asked an interesting question:

When you deliver biofuel, how do you know that you’re giving me B5 or B20?

He wasn’t the first person to ask, and there’s probably other people wondering the same thing, so here’s the answer:

Our oil trucks have sectioned tanks. In one tank we put B5, in the other we put B20. The two tanks are not connected so the fuel cannot flow from one to the other. They also have their own independent hoses, so the fuels cannot be cross-contaminated.

Then he asked, what’s the difference and why would I want B5 and not B20?

B5 is 95% traditional fuel oil and 5% biofuel; B20 is 80% traditional fuel oil and 20% biofuel. B20 is kinder to the environment, kinder to your system, and costs no more than B5 or straight fuel oil. In our office building we use B20 biobeat and in our trucks we use B20 biodiesel year round. But many manufacturers of heating systems will not honor their warranty above B5. That’s changing though and more and more manufacturers are recognizing that B20 is just fine—so before you order your biofuel, check your warranty. Also, if your warranty has expired then you’ve nothing to lose by using B20—nothing to lose and all to gain!

His final question was: What’s in your bio?

We mix our B5 and B20 right here on site. We get traditional fuel oil from the terminal and then add the bio to it. Our bio is 100% recycled vegetable oil from local sources refined at one of two plants: White Mountain Biodiesel in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, and Maine Standard Biofuels in Portland, Maine.