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Alternative Fuels, Biodiesel
#121 of 170 Energy Bill good news for biodiesel
Jul 29, 2005 (3:21 pm)
And according to Richardson at University VW and Audi, consumers want to use biodiesel. VW is the first automaker whose warranties allow biodiesel to be used. Other makers void warranties because of concerns about the purity and performance of anything less than 100 percent diesel.
But Richardson, who is general manager, said his diesel models are flying off the lot.
"The Northwest is kind of a hot market for this because people in the Northwest tend to be more forward-thinking," he said.
Aug 01, 2005 (1:34 am)
I’ve read most of the posts in this thread and really feel most of the drawbacks mentioned about biodiesel use are either acceptable or fixable. I used homemade biodiesel in a 1977 VW Rabbit Diesel for 3 years and never had a problem that could not be overcome. Below are the areas people were concerned about.
Cost – This will always be a problem when purchasing anything from our petroleum manufacturers. Their profit is what causes the high costs. When I was making my own it cost about $.30 a gallon. So there is an alternative to the high price and it does not take much time or effort to refine the vegetable oil. Initial equipment costs are a little pricey, but pay for themselves in the first six months.
Parts Deterioration – Rubber seals and hoses in the fuel delivery system may experience deterioration and should be replaced with third party fluroelastomer parts before the 100,000 mile point hits. It is the 10% - 20% alcohol content in biodiesel that causes the deterioration. If auto manufacturers are going to support biodiesel as an alternative fuel they should manufacture all OEM parts out of the fluroelastomer material instead of rubber anyway. They may already, but I bet we pay a lot more for them.
Environment – These issues are very important to me, but I feel you have to weigh out everything involved. NOx output increase is the only drawback I have found personally, but my Rabbit, burning biodiesel, always passed emissions tests in Colorado’s “Front Range Emissions Area.” The damage caused by vegetable oil in land fills oozing into ground water is much more damaging to the environment. Anything we can do to lessen this problem is a BIG PLUS.
Switching back to diesel – When I first started making biodiesel (when I used straight, refined vegetable oil) I had this problem. I ran low on fuel a long way from home and put regular diesel in the Rabbit. It ran terrible, but got me home. I found that you had to adjust your fuel settings differently when using the two different fuels. Well, I bought a book which explained that adding 10% alcohol to the mixture would make biodiesel run at the same mixture settings as diesel. I never had anymore problems switching between the two fuels.
The smell – There really is no smell if the vegetable oil is properly scrubbed or washed during the refining process. When vehicles burning biodiesel give off a nasty smell, the operators need to get their fuel somewhere else or the person refining it needs a little education in a proper refining process.
Cold weather gelling – We can get very cold winters here in central Colorado, but I never got stranded do to fuel gel. I knew in advance that vegetable oil start to gel right around 32 degrees F. The alcohol in biodiesel drops this a little too. During the winter, I used to fill to ¼ tank with winterized diesel then fill the last ¾ with biodiesel and never got stranded. If it gets to subzero temps you may want to consider a half and half or higher mixture or even running straight diesel. I never had to do this though.
Well, 6 months ago the Rabbit died with 320,000 miles on it and my new car burns gasoline so I haven’t made biodiesel since then. When I get the new truck I want, I will be making it again.
#123 of 170 Talk to an Editor
Aug 30, 2005 (6:51 am)
An editor at Edmunds.com is looking to speak with a woman running bio-diesel in her car. Please email jhelperinedmunds.com no later than Friday, Sept 2, 2005
#124 of 170 Good used trucks for running biodiesel
Sep 08, 2005 (2:03 pm)
My boyfriend is thinking about selling me his Saturn wagon (which I'd love) and buying a used diesel truck to run biodiesel in. He's very interested in biodiesel for the environmental and cost benefits. He'd also like to get a truck because he's doing some major home renovation and really needs one.
He'd only have about $7-8000 for a used truck. Can anyone recommend a decent diesel truck in that price range? It's my understanding that any diesel can run biodiesel, right?
#125 of 170 India is not waiting for a crisis in oil to adopt BD
Sep 20, 2005 (7:31 am)
If you were asked to suggest the next class of Mercedes vehicles, you may as well bet on `BD', for bio-diesel. DaimlerChrysler India (DCIL) is so charged up on the idea that in August it took two C class vehicles - Mercedes Benz and Viano, the Mercedes van - topped them up with biodiesel from the jatropha plant for a 1,920-km drive from Chandigarh to Leh. In the project with DCIL are the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute and the University of Hohenheim.
Bio-diesel has been accepted as clean alternative fuel by US and its production presently is about 100 million Gallons. Each state has passed specific bills to promote the use of Bio-diesel by reduction of taxes. Sunflower, rapeseed etc is the raw material used in Europe whereas soyabean is used in USA. Thailand uses palm oil, Ireland uses frying oil and animal fats. Due to its favorable properties, Bio-diesel can be used as fuel for diesel engines (as either, B5-a blend of 5% Bio-diesel in petro-diesel fuel) or B20 or B100). USA uses B 20 and B100 Bio-diesel, France uses B5 as mandatory in all diesel fuel. It can also be used as an additive to reduce the overall sulfur content of blend and to compensate for lubricity loss due to sulfur removal from diesel fuel.
#126 of 170 Re: India is not waiting for a crisis in oil to adopt BD [gagrice]
Sep 20, 2005 (7:52 am)
Do you think that if it went mainstream and people adapted there would be enough to go around? Imagine? Growing vegetables and converting it into fuel? Novel idea, but can it be done? I'd support it!
#127 of 170 Re: India is not waiting for a crisis in oil to adopt BD [sinepman]
Sep 20, 2005 (8:23 am)
The big question is can it be done without subsidies. In Hawaii biodiesel is now less than #2 petrol diesel. It is limited in the islands by the amount of waste oil and grease that is collected. In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum. Kind of a tough call. I do know in CA the biodiesel producers are not keeping up with the demand. Many high profile entertainers are getting on the biodiesel bandwagon.
#128 of 170 Re: India is not waiting for a crisis in oil to adopt BD [gagrice]
Sep 20, 2005 (8:53 am)
I wonder if there is a net gain in energy from the production of bio diesel. As much as the ideal sounds wonderful, I can't see it going mainstream. With Rita showing her skirt in the open waters of the Gulf we can only pray it does not harm our infrastructure any further. We definitely need alternatives and I'm glad bio diesel has a chance.
#129 of 170 Re: India is not waiting for a crisis in oil to adopt BD [gagrice]
Sep 20, 2005 (12:29 pm)
In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum.
When you account for our military costs in the Middle East, I think we are subsidizing petroleum at a monetary cost far greater than a dollar per gallon.
#130 of 170 Re: Good used trucks for running biodiesel [charlotte7]
Sep 20, 2005 (8:24 pm)
Hmm, I am considering doing the same to test the waters. Wife says buying a new 30k vehical to test BD is in no way smart, and she's right.
You may want to check Dodge Rams, careful as I beleive there are a few years where it is not recomended (possibly due to fuel pump type). But, go to journeytoforever.org or the biodiesel list they have linked from there and ask. Annecdotally, from what I have read the two biggies are auto transmissions on dodge (get manual) and something with the housing/mounting of the turbo that can rust out an mislead people into thinking the whole turbo is bad. I seem to remember someone saying 94-95 was a good year for BD use and should be in that price range if well maintained
Ford 7.3s also seem to do well.
But, I am probably steering clear of newer duramax and newer powestrokes just from the stories I have heard - nothing to do with BD, but just general reliability issues