Biodiesel and other Eco Fuels

a456

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2005
882
0
Does anyone have any experience of using biodiesel or other biofuel, or even electric cars? What are they like in practice?

I have recently been using biodiesel (which passes all the tests and has winter additive) and found that for the first 50 litres or so it was great, but suddenly there was a loss of power going up hill and a 1.9 TDi drove slower than a Morris Minor. This has been rectified by topping up with normal diesel but I am not sure whether it was the actual biodiesel that caused the loss of power, or whether as some people say on the web it clogged the fuel filter by lifting mineral diesel residue (or even paint!?!) from the inside of the fuel tank. I know that in cold weather the biodiesel thickens, but I am surprised that it is already too cold in the south of England to drive on 100% biodiesel given the claims for it on the web.

I am not going to stop using it, after all it's already paid for and sitting in my garage, and any reduction in fossil fuel use is great, but I would like to know if anybody else has had the same 'real life' problem?
 

mpw

Guest
Jun 18, 2004
6,364
1
Can't be of any help on the biofuel query, but I'll keep an eye on this thread if people can report on their experiences with electric cars, not hybrids straight electric.

I'd love an electric car, it makes me fume that there's so little govenment support for a switch to them in favour of fossil fueled cars.
 

a456

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2005
882
0
Telsa Roadster

mpw said:
Can't be of any help on the biofuel query, but I'll keep an eye on this thread if people can report on their experiences with electric cars, not hybrids straight electric.

I'd love an electric car, it makes me fume that there's so little govenment support for a switch to them in favour of fossil fueled cars.
Have you seen the Tesla Roadster, the Mac of the Motor Industry? (http://www.teslamotors.com)
 

SpookTheHamster

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2004
1,489
0
London
What sort of biodiesel were you using, and in what car? In a lot of cars it's best to use a mix of biofuel and normal diesel.

a456, look at this car http://www.pmlflightlink.com/archive/news_mini.html It's made by a local company, similar (if not better) performance to a Tesla roadster, with the added bonus of 4 seats and the option of a generator to recharge the battery if you can't get to an outlet. Sadly, there are no plans to reproduce it, it's a showbed for their motors.
 

mpw

Guest
Jun 18, 2004
6,364
1
Both of those look like great cars and I'd jump at the chance to get either.............................., but I don't see any prices being quoted.

I know the PML Mini is just a test bed but the only pricing info I see for the Telsa is the $100,000 deposit required!

This car looks like a direct competitor to the Lotus Elise which retails at around $50k I believe. How much fuel does $50k buy nowadays?
 

KingYaba

macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2005
3,414
12
Up the irons
I personally have no experience with bio-fuels or electric cars. However, I have talked to two truckers who now fill up their semis with biofuel. They have told me upon personal observation that their trucks get better mileage, and a cleaner engine. Plus it's starting to save them money. Even if its only a couple cents per gallon, that's a hell of a lot of money in the long run.

Here's a 'lil reading LINK
 

Silencio

macrumors 68020
Jul 18, 2002
2,455
314
NYC
mpw said:
This car looks like a direct competitor to the Lotus Elise which retails at around $50k I believe. How much fuel does $50k buy nowadays?
The Tesla is, in fact, based on the Lotus Elise chassis.

I have to say that Tesla's approach to the market is pretty savvy: go after the ultra-rich guys first to build up market momentum and cashflow, then evolve the product line downwards. I'll be following them with much interest.

I have a friend who drives a biodiesel (also a TDi IIRC) who told me the same thing: when you convert a car to biodiesel, the deposits left by conventional diesel fuel start breaking free and gumming up the works.
 

pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,382
0
Vermontana
Silencio said:
I have a friend who drives a biodiesel (also a TDi IIRC) who told me the same thing: when you convert a car to biodiesel, the deposits left by conventional diesel fuel start breaking free and gumming up the works.
Which is why you (should) have installed a second filter to prevent this gunk from getting into the engine itself.

From the sounds of it, I'm guessing this is what's going on. Those first 50 liters were super... until all the gunk they dislodged began building up. I highly doubt this has to do with the temperature, unless you're running a completely cold system (no heating elements in tank, lines, or pre-injection). What kind of biofuel are you using exactly? SVO? WVO?
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
3,417
4
Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
Just replace your fuel filter. It's a five or ten minute job.

I use B10 AmGreen because that's the highest % available within my normal driving circuit.

What kind of biofuel are you using exactly? SVO? WVO?
He says he's using biodiesel, not VO. He doesn't need a second filter, though he may want to keep the ratio down to B50 or B20 (depending on his climate) over the winter. B100 will gel no matter what additives are used.
 

johnpierce79

macrumors newbie
Jan 1, 2009
2
0
Biodiesel fuel is made through a process called transesterfication. This process involves removing the glycerin from the vegetable oil or fat. During the process byproducts are left behind, including methyl esters and glycerin. Biodiesel is free from such substances as sulfur and aromatics which are found in traditional fuels.

Compared to other alternative fuels, biodiesel has a number of unique features and qualities. It has passed all the health effects testing requirements, unlike other alternative fuels. This means it meets the standards of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has legally allow Biodiesel to be sold and distributed. Other alternative fuels can not be sold commercially as motor fuel because they do not meet the EPA's fuel specifications.

I believe that the biggest feature about biodiesel fuel is that is it not harmful to the environment like traditional fuels. Biodiesel is made from renewable resources which means it is safe for the environment. It does not produce the high emissions like traditional fuels. Biodiesel does not cause harmful effects to the environment that will produce lasting effects on generations to come.

Biodiesel is also good for the economy because unlike traditional fuels, the resources to make biodiesel come form within the United States. It is made with products grown in the USA without having to involve politics with other countries. The country can become less dependent upon foreign countries for fuel supplies and the money goes right back into the US economy.

Biodiesel is a fuel that is gaining commercial and general recognition. It is not surprising to find Biodiesel in many gas stations. It costs a little more than traditional fuels at the current time because the demand is not as great. However, as demand grows and the public realizes the benefits of a biodegradable, renewable fuel source, the price will drop.

Right now, though, the cheapest way to get biodiesel fuel is to make it at home yourself.
 

Aeolius

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
903
26
I believe that the biggest feature about biodiesel fuel is that is it not harmful to the environment like traditional fuels.
Somewhere on the news I heard that, to make enough biodiesel to fill up an SUV one time used the same amount of corn that could feed a person for a year. I don't see biodiesel made from corn being environmentally sound, in this case.

Biodiesel made from seaweed and/or algae, on the other hand, shows promise.
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2007
1,049
195
Denton, TX
I used to run B99 in my '86 F250, it seemed to like the bio better than oil-based diesel. Ran quieter, got better fuel mileage, no more smoke(Fuel is turned up).

I replaced the fuel filter after two weeks, then two weeks later, then on my next oil change. I never noticed a loss of power due to plugged filters.

I just wish I could find it somewhere near my new home.
 

UltraNEO*

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2007
4,057
12
近畿日本
Does anyone have any experience of using biodiesel or other biofuel, or even electric cars? What are they like in practice?

I have recently been using biodiesel (which passes all the tests and has winter additive) and found that for the first 50 litres or so it was great, but suddenly there was a loss of power going up hill and a 1.9 TDi drove slower than a Morris Minor. This has been rectified by topping up with normal diesel but I am not sure whether it was the actual biodiesel that caused the loss of power, or whether as some people say on the web it clogged the fuel filter by lifting mineral diesel residue (or even paint!?!) from the inside of the fuel tank. I know that in cold weather the biodiesel thickens, but I am surprised that it is already too cold in the south of England to drive on 100% biodiesel given the claims for it on the web.

I am not going to stop using it, after all it's already paid for and sitting in my garage, and any reduction in fossil fuel use is great, but I would like to know if anybody else has had the same 'real life' problem?
Honda recently unleashed the first hydroelectric car, it's called the FCX Clarity. TopGear, british motoring show tested it on... it's rather nippy! You can watch their review here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00g7dw0/Top_Gear_Series_12_Episode_7_(new_series)/
 

bassproguy07

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2008
704
0
Katy, TX
I used to make my own bio diesel for my 1983 F250, can be very fun to make and cheap as well! there are plenty of websites with how to stuff, etc. Just make sure your car can use bio diesel, some older vehicles that use natural ruber in there hoses will need all new hoses. Natural rubber and the alcohol in the bio diesel react with each other and the ruber gets eaten up. Happened to me, and it is not fun having to replace all the fuel lines! Othere than that almost every car can use bio diesel and it is a great alternative to regular "dyno diesel"
 

iAthena

macrumors regular
Jan 22, 2008
109
0
USA
The stuff works great in those old 240D Mercedes sedans, although performance certainly isn't part of the equation when you decide to drive one of those.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
22,124
8,551
CT
Somewhere on the news I heard that, to make enough biodiesel to fill up an SUV one time used the same amount of corn that could feed a person for a year. I don't see biodiesel made from corn being environmentally sound, in this case.
Not to mention how much corn prices would sky rocket.
 

bassproguy07

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2008
704
0
Katy, TX
Somewhere on the news I heard that, to make enough biodiesel to fill up an SUV one time used the same amount of corn that could feed a person for a year. I don't see biodiesel made from corn being environmentally sound, in this case.

Biodiesel made from seaweed and/or algae, on the other hand, shows promise.
havent heard much on using corn for bio diesel, most of the oil is soy bean, canola or peanut. Corn is used to make ethanol though, so that might be what you heard.
 
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