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Biodiesel Fire Safety

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Biodiesel is an alternative fuel used alone or in diesel or kerosene blends for use in diesel engines. It contains none of the harmful, greenhouse gas producing substances found traditional petrodiesel fuels. In addition, biodiesel degrades significantly faster than petrodiesel, reducing its impact on the environment if spillage or leakage occurs. Because of this, biodiesel is seeing increased use in parks, wetlands, marinas, and other areas where significant environmental harm could occur as a result of a fuel spill or leakage.

Fire Safety

Although it produces no harmful emissions, like any fuel, biodiesel will burn, therefore certain fire safety precautions must be taken to ensure safe storage and fueling. The major fire safety concern is with biodiesel blends.

Diesel and kerosene – the two major fuels used in biodiesel blending – are highly flammable with flash points much higher than biodiesel. Even biodiesel blends have flashpoints high enough to pose significant fire risks when handled improperly.

Flash Points

  • Kerosene – The most flammable biodiesel blend base.  Kerosene’s flash point is between 100° and 162°F.
  • Diesel – Diesel is less flammable than kerosene but substantially more so that 100% biodiesel. Its flash point between 126° and 204°F.
  • Biodiesel – Much less flammable the kerosene or diesel, 100% biodiesel has a flash point  higher than 212°F.


100%, or neat, biodiesel requires no special signage or placards for transportation or storage. Kerosene or petrodiesel blended biodiesel fuels require NFPA placards during transportation and storage if their flash points are below 200°F. The placard used depends upon the flash point of the biodiesel blend used.

NFPA Placard Usage

  • Combustible – Fuels are considered to be Hazard Class 3 Combustible when their flash points are between 140° and 200°F.
  • Flammable – Fuels are considered to be Hazard Class Flammable when their flash points are below 140°F.

Fire Prevention

To prevent fire, always store biodiesel and biodiesel blends in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. Also, be sure that oxidizing agents, open flames, or ignition sources are kept well away from storage tanks and dispensing areas.

In the event of a fire, neat biodiesel can be extinguished with dry chemical, foam, halon, CO2, or water spray. Care should be taken when using water to put out a biodiesel fire, as water can spread the flammable liquid.




3 Responses to Biodiesel Fire Safety

  1. Depending on the blend and how you produce Biodiesel fuel, Biodiesel usually has the lowest possible inflaming chance. That’s why it is possible for people to create Biodiesel at home because it’s so safe.

  2. Gentlemen a wonderful day to all.
    I Have received your e mail a while ago and as aim a fueling engineer consultancy bureau her in Aruba
    I have looked at what is available.
    at this moment aim busy to install a bio diesel plant here for a client I have.
    they need say 12 each vertical tanks single wall type 2.30 cm in Dia. in dia meter and approx. 40 ft. in height this size is a good size to be transported in a 40 ft. container witch is more cheaper
    These tanks are in plan to be installed in 3 sections of 4 tanks the main reason is that we do not have so much space for horizontal tanks that will be connected in sections of 4 thanks at that time complete with hand rails and ladders
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    please if these are available send the spec’s of the tank

    the delivery port will be Aruba at Barcadera

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    a good day.


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