Bio Blues? Supporters experiences with biodiesel

"I thought that I should relate my experience with using biodiesel in my car so that readers are aware of the possible consequences.

I had been running my Citroen Zantia Hdi car on biodiesel for 6 months without any problems, only changing the fuel filter which was slightly 'gummed up', until this Easter when it started to run quite badly. A further change of filter and dose of fuel cleaner and using mineral diesel did not make any difference and the car soon got to the point where it wouldn't start.

A Citroen specialist garage identified that the four fuel injectors and associated fuel pump were clogged up and had failed and new replacement parts totalled £1300 - that's without labour. As the car was 10 years old it was therefore considered a right-off. However second hand parts totaling £300 were found and the car fixed and it is now running fine, but with one £50 injector making a noise that may require further funds to fix.

The biodiesel was from GreenEarth on Crediton Industrial Estate and Bill Brown who runs it has offered me some compensation. However the ordeal was stressful and will still have cost me around £400. It appears that there may have been a faulty batch of fuel at Easter time that also affected the Mossman's car - see their article below.

I will not be using biodiesel again - well not in my current car anyway. The Citroen has a common rail diesel injection system that appears susceptible to clogging by biodiesel. This injection system is found in other makes too. Other more basic engines are probably fine. I am certainly not anti-biodiesel - far from it - I think it is wonderful recycled low carbon fuel - but I think one needs to think very carefully about its suitability for your particular car engine. Best to check with your dealer and/or garage before using it."

Alan Murray


"At about the same time as Alan had the problems above my 8 year old Citroen Picasso had serious problems with clogging of its fuel filter whilst using 100% biodiesel from GreenEarth. I had been running it successfully on 100% biodiesel for some months when in March I filled up with 50+ litres. The following day the car stopped suddenly and without warning on the main road and after stop/starting several times refused to start again and had to be towed to the garage. A change of fuel filter and a few miles later exactly the same thing happened again. This second time we had the car fully serviced and a second new fuel filter put in, the tank drained of biodiesel and re-filled with normal diesel. It has run fine ever since. The mechanic said he had never seen such a badly clogged fuel filters.

Like Alan I am not anti biodiesel but advise anyone thinking of using it to proceed with caution and to begin by mixing the biodiesel with regular fuel on a minimum 50/50 basis. Also check with the main dealer for your car make and get their advice."

Paula Mossman


Rob Nicholls, another Sustainable Crediton supporter, said when asked, that he has been using GreenEarth's fuel in his 12 year old Honda for over a year with no problems whatsoever. Perhaps we Citroen owners were just unlucky!