Biodiesel/SVO/WVO

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by pdpfilms, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #1
    Howdy-
    It seems more often than not (and not all that surprisingly), biodiesel users are also Mac users. For those of you who aren't aware, Biodiesel refers to any agro-based fuel used in a Diesel system. It can be a 95%/5% mix of diesel to soybean oil (B5), pure soybean oil (B100/SVO), or even pure waste vegetable oil from restaurants (WVO). As crazy as it seems, any current Diesel car can run on the used french-fry grease with almost no modification.

    Anyway, I wanted to know if any users here are active biodiesel users! I'm about to convert my 04 Jetta TDI (essentially just adding an extra fuel tank and filter to grab all the french fry chunks), and wanted to know how your experiences have been. Share!!
     
  2. Turkish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    #2
    Using restaurant waste oil is a great idea, though much of that is already recycled into cosmetics and other products.

    Soybeans (and any "bio" fuel like ethanol, for example) require carbon fuels to manufacture, fertilizers that pollute the land, pesticides... Not only does growing the soybeans require fossil fuels, but refining it uses large amounts of energy as well.

    Not sold yet.
     
  3. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #3
    Ooh! Debate!:D

    As you say, much of WVO is recycled into cosmetics and other products, but not nearly all of it. This remainder that gets dumped or simlpy wasted is a huge margin that allows thousands of individuals to fill-up in a carbon neutral way (i.e. carbon emissions are less than the carbon sequestered by the plants required to make the fuel).

    As for commercial BXX Mixes, I agree- it's sort of a silly idea. To clarify for everyone else, these mixes can be used directly in your diesel, no modifications necessary, and are available at certain stations. You can even pour it directly into a half-full tank, worry-free. The production of these fuels in mass quantity, specifically for fuel is a completely absurd idea. First, they're actually using more petrolium to make it and deliver it than would be necessary for gasoline or diesel itself. Sure, it sounds great as an end-user to be "petrol-free", but the reality is that by choosing that fuel, you're doing more damage than you would othewise. Also, the price is insane... a B5 mix (that's 5% bio) will often cost 20 cents more per gallon.

    All in all, biodiesel (in the form of waste vegetable oil) is a great alternative for the few. It may require more work (filtration, collection, etc), but it assures that the oil you're using won't be wasted, and you're one less driver fueling (no pun intended) the petrol industry. Oh... and it's $0.00 per gallon. But the nature of the program means that it's completely contradictory once the biodiesel userbase exceeds the margins of waste fuel.
     
  4. Turkish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    #4
    Totally agree.

    Using waste vegetable oil is a great idea. I guess if I did that, I'd feel like I was actually doing something positive. I just feel like using biodiesel (the program in our area to try and get marine diesel users to try it flopped) is doing something for the sake of doing something.

    It's (biodiesel) like ethanol - you spend more carbon energy making it than makes sense...

    Show us your mods when you get around to it. :)
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Do you plan on doing the conversion yourself, or paying someone to install the kit? And do you plan on prepping / storing fuel at home, or is there some kind of fueling station in your area?
     
  6. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #6
    I'm not super knowledgeable when it comes to car mechanics, but I'm going to give it a shot myself. The kit I'm getting comes with an installation DVD, so that should help. My sister's boyfriend installed the same kit on her Jetta and my dad's Dodge pickup and knows what he's doing, I'll definitely be calling him up throughout the process.

    As far as storage, I'll be keeping it at a friend's place, just using gravity filtration. Ideally I'll be getting the oil in 5-gallon containers which I'll let sit for a couple weeks. Then I'll pour the clean stuff off the top into the 55-gallon through a 5-micron filter bag, and get rid of the scum off the bottom of the 5-gallon. That way I've got a large store of ready-to-use fuel and multiple smaller cases filtering simultaneously.

    Here's an interesting article about the biofuels/ethanol debate from NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/cfr/world/20...nge_senauer.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

    An interesting excerpt:
     
  7. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #7
    Alright! I'm 95% done with my greasecar.com kit installation. I'm going to be taking it on a 700 mile break-in drive next week, and I'll let you know how that all goes. I've already got a grease source secured.... here's to free fuel!:D
     
  8. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Location:
    Woodland Hills
    #8
    Where do you guys find the fuel for all this?

    How was the installation?

    How is the filtration thing set up for the fuel?

    I must do this I must?

    What about miles to the gallon? Do they end up being less?

    How about the cost of wasted oil?

    So many questions and I am so eager to do this...
     
  9. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #9
    This is awesome. I'd never done any car work before, and managed to install the entire kit (and even customize it a little bit) without a single hitch. Got it done in about 12 hours of work. It's working fabulously too... I flip the switch over to the veggie tank when the engine is warm enough (after about 3 minutes), and it doesn't even skip a beat. I'll post some pictures soon, I just washed it so it's all nice and shiny:).
     
  10. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Location:
    Woodland Hills
    #10
    Wow thats awesome! Thanks for the reply. I wonder if any restaurants in the valley are willing to give up some oil for me. I also wonder if my apartment would let me have the 55 gallon tank near my parking spot.

    How about the smell of the car. I've heard the car can smell like the oil or what ever was cooked in it the times before.
     
  11. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #11
    Actually, most places pay to have their oil taken by contractors. They're almost always more happy to give it away for free than to pay for its disposal. The car itself smells great- the exhaust smells like whatever was fried in the oil. Chinese food, tacos, frensh fries, etc. Better than diesel, IMO.
     
  12. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #12
    The 700-mile drive went great! Here are some pictures of the car:

    Under the hood:
    [​IMG]


    The new tank:
    [​IMG]


    Spreading awareness:
    [​IMG]

    Greasecar fuel gauge and switch:
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #13
    That's a really clean install. Did you have to give up your spare tire for it?
     
  14. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #14
    Yeah, Greasecar sells a quality kit, custom for the model diesel you drive. Turned out great. The tank fits in the spare tire well, so you have to either leave it at home or stick it somewhere else. I'm fine with keeping it in the trunk, it's heavy enough that it doesn't move around.
     
  15. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #15
    pdp - I'm more interested in how you collect the "fuel" from restaurants? Do they put it in containers/buckets for you and you pick it up at XXX frequency? Do you then just store it in your filtration system? Messy? Bugs an issue? How can you be certain its VO instead of an animal based fat?

    What did the kit run you?

    I am officially out of warranty with my 04 Jetta and at a rate of 40K miles/year - fuel costs are barely tolerable.
     
  16. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #16
    As far as fuel collection goes, I walked around town stopping in at every restaurant and asking what they did with their waste veggie. I finally found one that would be willing to give it to me (all the rest are already supplying other greasels), and they put it right back in the 5-gal containers they buy it in. Every week or so I stop in and pick up whatever they have, no pumps or barrels necessary. It's essential that you take a look at the oil before you start collecting. Usually the restaurant will have the empty 5-gallon containers lying around and you can check the ingredients to verify it's veggie-only. All restaurants I know of use veggie oil for frying... I think it's the cheapest option.

    Filtration takes some effort, but is well worth your time with the cost of fuel and the environmental savings. I haven't yet had a chance to setup my filtration system, but here are my plans:

    1. Screen filter at restaurant (they take care of it themselves when they clean the fryer)
    2. Let jugs sit for 1-2 weeks to allow any large particles or water to settle to bottom
    3. A pair of blue jeans with the ankles clamped shut to catch the medium-sized gunk, hanging over a:
    4. 55-gallon drum with a hole in the top for a 5-micron bag filter
    5. A hand-powered pump to lift the filtered veggie back into my car.

    This particular setup is relatively easy, and relies on gravity. When it gets cold, it's going to be a bit tougher to get it through the 5-micron bag, but we'll deal with that when it comes. Also, I don't have any de-watering process because my oil is (luckily) water-free. De-watering is as simple as installing a heater on your 55-gallon drum so that the water evaporates out.

    Sometimes you'll get water if you pump out of a oil dumpster or the restaurant cleans its fryers with water. You can test for water by heating up a pan on the stove and dropping a bit of oil into it. If the oil sizzles, there's water in it. If not, you're OK.

    For an 04 Jetta, the kit is about $1000. Being a low-mileage driver myself, this kit will pay itself off in about a year. Here are some rough calculations for your situation.

    40,000 miles/year @ ~40mpg * $3.00/gallon= $3000/year of gas money

    Therefore, the kit should pay itself off in about 3 months. After that, you're getting 100% free fuel. Cool, huh?
     
  17. tigergibb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #17
    We are converting a 2001 VW Beetle TDI Diesel to run on Waste Vegetable Oil(WVO). We started a blog for it, which you may find at http://www.danielgibbons.net/wvobeetle . It will be updated as the progress continues with pictures and videos.
     
  18. pdpfilms thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #18
    Congrats! Post back or email me if you need any help.:) And be sure to update us when you've finished!

    EDIT: I just read that you waited 2 months for the kit...wow! I almost feel bad for having ordered and installed my kit before yours even arrived.
     

Share This Page