Author Topic: Biodiesel  (Read 2663 times)

Offline TomC

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« on: August 05, 2006, 09:53:27 AM »  Check out this site.  Was a big article in the LA Times about them.  Mostly convert early Mercedes Diesels (which I also have).  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline Buffalo SpaceShip

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Re: Biodiesel
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 12:46:39 PM »
Tom, just a clarification: let's not confuse biodiesel with WVO and/or straight veggie oil. AFAIK, most diesels can run w/o modification on B20 (20% bio, 80% petro diesel) or even B100 (100% biodiesel). To create biodiesel, the manuf. will remove most of the fats in the various veggie oils that make up the fuel. This allows the fuel to be much more temperature stable, unlike WVO and straight veggie oil that will start gelling at even moderate temps.

IIRC, biodiesel fuels provide excellent lubricity, which can be a concern with the new ultra-low-sulfer petro diesel mixtures. I have found a source of B100 near me here in CO, and will likely start using it in our coach very soon. Currently it costs a few cents more per gallon than petro diesel, but I'd like to do what I can to encourage its use.

Much of the conversion to a WVO system involves heating the grease and the lines prior to injection, and creating a method to start and shut off the engine on petro diesel. There's also a filtering issue with the waste veggie oils especially.

I think I have all of this correct... I'm still learnin'...

Thanks for the link!
Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO

Offline Al Bass

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Re: Biodiesel
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 02:07:57 PM »
check this out.

Offline Merlin

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Re: Biodiesel
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2006, 03:23:18 PM »
check this out.
Very interesting.  However I do see some downside here.  One being availability of the raw material (veggie oil).  What if many people start asking restaurants for the waste oil?  Demand may outstrip supply.  And then another thought ... there currently is no road tax on this stuff.  The gummit will eventually find a way to levy road taxes, trust me.

In the meantime, I see the potential for a little money making business here.  With a pickup truck, and 500 gallon poly tank in the rear, go around and collect free veggie oil and deliver it to people who have a little "still" in their back yard for processing bio-diesel.  Charge enough per gallon to make it worth the effort.
Bus conversion is DONE, and now the home for full-time travel.  Look for me parked in front of your house.


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Re: Biodiesel
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2006, 07:04:57 PM »
And then another thought ... there currently is no road tax on this stuff.  The gummit will eventually find a way to levy road taxes, trust me.

Yup.  They are already working on it.  (of course their real concern is high economy cars, rather than some folks straining WVO)

I was up to Seattle a few weeks ago and it was current news then that Oregon was starting a test of a mileage tax. This article is kind of old but tells the rough of it from a neutral point of view. This article is more current and describes how it works in much greater detail but is biased against it.

It occurs to me that if such an approach replaced the fuel tax, it might actually help with low mpg private vehicles like bus conversions. :)

Offline Jeremy

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Re: Biodiesel
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2006, 02:34:52 AM »
Again, I can only speak from a UK perspective, but on the question of tax I would be surprised if the US didn't do this as well: Regardless of fuel type, there is a basic 'road fuel duty' charged by the treasury. For any fuel bought on a forecourt (gas station),  duty has obviously already been added on, which will comprise of the 'basic duty' and a 'type specific' duty (different for petrol, LPG diesel or biodiesel).

The basic rate duty in the UK is I think 26p a litre, which seems very cheap, but once you've added on the cost of the veg oil the saving over regular diesel isn't that great. The only upside is that the onus is on you to send your duty payment to the treasury, and there is scope to be a bit creative with your accounts as they are not going to know exactly how much fuel you are using. If you get caught using veg oil and cannot prove that you send regular duty payments to the the government, they will charge you with tax evasion, which carries serious penalties. As the use of veg oil in diesels grow (and propane in LPG-coverted petrol engines), it is possible the fuel testers will target cars more - at the moment they typically target trucks and goods vehicles, as they are really looking for vehicles using 'red diesel' on the road (I don't know if you have red diesel in the states - it is regular diesel fuel stained red for identification, on which no tax is charged - it is used in anything which does not run on the road - agricultural vehicles, generators, boats etc). I can well imagine an obviously privately-owned bus attracting the interest of the fuel-testers, as they would imagine it's just the kind of vehicle where the owner would try to make economies on fuel

Another 'UK' thing which you probably also have other there - don't assume you can just go round to you local fast food outlet and collect their waste oil - waste oil is classed as a hazardous product, and you need a licence to transport it. If you carry a drum of waste oil in the trunk of your car you are committing an offence.

Due to the UK's much higher fuel costs, we are generally a long way ahead of the states in the use of veg oil and alternative fuels generally. Personally, having done lots of research I would only use new oil veg myself, although are are plenty of people using the dirty stuff. If you go this route, don't be tempted to give people like that 'dieselsecret' company your money for their 'wonder additive'. Properly converting veg oil into biodiesel is a multi-step chemical process, not a case of simply pouring something into your fuel tank. You can however buy proper equipment to carry out the conversion realitively cheaply (a few thousand dollars, but it would pay for itself). Incidentally - you can also buy a 'seed squeezing' machine to make your own oil straight from the plant - the idea of owning your own field of rape see and using it to power your bus really appeals to me - true self-sufficency

There is lots of information on the 'net about alternative fuels, so you're only a google away from knowing all about it...

A shameless plug for my business - visit for back issue magazines - thousands of titles covering cars, motorbikes, aircraft, railways, boats, modelling etc. You'll find lots of interest, although not much covering American buses sadly.