Biodiesel and New Energy

Focusing on kinetic and electrical energy, particularly biodiesel, ethanol, and new hydrogen economy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

You can convert your diesel engine to run on treated vegetable oil selling at about 80 cents a gallon.

That is the long and short of this page and a positive achievable goal for most drivers.

-The Links-
& - these are the best and easiest resources on biodiesel. - forums about biodiesel fuels - make your own biodiesel for even cheaper -wow we've got a magazine! & change
-- this is the best link and method i've found for testing vegetable oil ph to see how suitable it is for making into biodiesel. i also believe that if you check the ph of vegetable oil you can improve your selection of oils. -or buy biodiesel at any of these distributors.

The Facts
Rudolf Diesel built the first diesel engines in ~1896, running them on vegetable oil. The diesel engines displayed at the 1904 World's Fair in Paris ran on peanut oil. Vegetable oil provides as much power and torque as petrodiesel. Modern Indirect Injection [IDI] diesel engines work best with biodiesel.

A diesel engine can run on regular vegetable oil or biodiesel, which is a treated form of vegetable oil.

Since vegetable oil and biodiesel are gummier than petrodiesel, it will get syrupy at temperatures below about 50*F/12*C. This is easily remedied by using an electric fuel tank, line, and piston heaters. It is a good idea to let any car idle up when it is cold out to give the engine oil time to circulate.

Biodiesel is also more viscous [wetter, or more soapy] than petrodiesel. Using biodiesel will loosen any old fuel residues in your engine, so it is recommended that the fuel filter be changed after the first 800 miles using biodiesel. After this the fuel filter should function normally. This cleans your engine.

If you use waste vegetable oil [WVO] you will want to filter it before runing it, as it will probably contain particles. Putting it through a 1-micron filter before putting it in your engine will circumvent this problem. You should also test the vegetable oil's ph to ensure it is not too acidic. This can be done with emery strips. Acidic oil will eventually wear out your engine. Also examine the links about about titration, to test oil for free fatty acids [FFA] content. Lower FFAs mean better oil.

Makes. Models. -a bit on conversion

Vehicles built after 1993 to conform with ultra-low-sulfur-diesel all use treated rubber. Diesel engines commonly run longer than 500,000 to 1 million miles, but older cars use natural rubber, which will slowly corrode in the presence of biodiesel. If you do get a diesel older than 1993, be sure to replace the fuel line with one using treated rubber.

Since biodiesel has different properties than petrodiesel any vehicle you get will benefit from some conversion, but they are not so different that the conversion is mandatory. You can get good conversion kits from Diesel engines use pressure from glow plugs to combust the fuel. A biodiesel engine can benefit from stronger glow plugs. You may also want to 'retard the injection timing by 2-3 degrees'. The atomizer sprays fuel into the piston, and biodiesel atomizes slightly differently than petrodiesel. This will reduce power slightly but it will burn cooler and quieter, making less NOx emissions.

The Volkswagen Rabbit is the most common choice I have encountered. It's small and a manual 1.8L 4cyl gets about 35mpg. Good performance and reliability, large enough for tall people but less than comfy. Price: around $2000. Models are all from the late 1970's to mid 1980's.

I'd replace the bumpers with 6X6" hard rubber blocks boned with steel, and I might pack a turbocharger on top. Yes, biodiesel will run with a turbocharger.

Other diesel models are all VW TDIs [jetta, golf, new beetle, passat] and the 310hp Touareg [despite weighing 5700#!] Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, Ford F-250 and F-350 have diesels, and the infamous Hummers have diesel versions.

And any gasoline car can be made to run on ethanol. This is project #2, for another site.


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