Sometimes, it pays to know your neighbors. Sun Power Bio-Diesel of Cumberland, WI is a producer of cold-flow canola-based bio-diesel fuel. Cumberland happens to be just a half hour drive from Turbine Technologies, Ltd.
After getting to know the people at Sun Power, it was decided to test their B100 Bio-Diesel in our SR-30™ Gas Turbine Engine and compare its operating characteristics to standard Jet-A fuel. The goal was to verify successful factory operation of our standard gas turbine engine using a renewable fuel source.
The SR-30TM engine is part of our MiniLab™ Gas Turbine Power System
; used by engineering universities world-wide for the study of gas turbine engine operation and for fuels and emissions research. Dr. Drew Caswell of Turbine Technologies, Ltd. developed a standardized test card to facilitate equivalent test procedures of the two fuels. He and his staff conducted the tests as part of a two day research program.
The first step was to spray test the fuel using an existing engine manifold system. In comparative spray tests, Jet-A was able to produce a slightly better fuel atomization “cloud” than the B100 fuel, but the B100 still atomized well enough with the stock injection system to provide confidence that it would work well in the engine.
As another preliminary test, samples of fuel lines, connectors, etc. that might come into contact with the liquid fuel were soaked in B-100 over a 24 hour period to determine any ill effects. None were found.
On Thursday, May 21, 2009, Jet-A fuel was run through our SR-30 Gas Turbine engine and operational characteristics recorded.
On Friday, May 22, 2009, B100 Bio-Diesel was successfully run through the same engine, following the same test card as the Jet-A.
The results were very favorable. Most operational characteristics of the B100 Bio-Diesel tracked similarly to the Jet-A fuel. The only adverse affect found was some smoking at very low power settings, which was immediately arrested once power was brought up to the normal operating range of the engine. The other noticeable characteristic was an exhaust odor that smelled like French Fries.