I read your article about biofuels in the March 5 issue with interest. Since I retired, I have volunteered aboard a WWII ship located on the Ohio River in Evansville, Ind.: LST-325. LST stands for landing ship, tank. This ship landed tanks and supplies at Normandy, in addition to other beaches of Europe. It is an operational museum ship that transits the rivers of the Midwest annually, opening for public tours.
I think it was in 2011 when the ship was going up the Illinois River heading for Henry, Ill., [that] we stopped in Beardstown, Ill., to receive a donation of 10,000 gal [about 37,850 L] of biodiesel. We added it to about another 5,000 gal [about 18,900 L] of conventional diesel we already had aboard. When we returned to Evansville from this cruise, we had a few thousand gallons remaining in our tank.
The ship was inactive for about a year, but when we tried to restart its engines in 2012, we had great difficulty. After 11 months of storage, as your article clearly states, the biodiesel was a gelatinous mess. We had to clean our tanks, all the fuel lines to our filters, and then on to our engines. After flushing with conventional diesel fuel, we finally were able to start our engines.
There needs to be a warning label on biofuels indicating that they need to be used almost immediately. It should not be stored.
Robert J. HargroveI can't imagine the mess that must have been to clean out a 10,000 gallon tank with a gelatinous mass of biofuel; did they just solubilize the mess and pump it out? Yuck!