Bio-Diesel FAQ ( work in progress)
I see the same questions being asked over and over... and decided to try to author up an FAQ here that we can refer folks to.
This was attempted over at infopop, but the process got bloated and ugly quickly, and (last I saw), the attempt sort of died. (Admittedly, I did use some of the lingo that I saw over there... my thoughts here aren't that original).
I figure that what I can do is start what I have so far, and as other folks want to answer other FAQ's that they see, they can tack on to the end of this thread... and eventually we will have an FAQ thread.
Have the moderator take out the irrelevant banter that occurs, and make it a sticky... and we have a place to corrall new folks into.
Here is what I have so far:
Is there anyone here running Bio/WVO?
Yes. Plenty of us are.
Should I run BioDiesel or WVO through my system? Is one better than the other?
It depends. We are all brothers here. The general rule of thumb is, <font color="red"> "Running BioDiesel means you convert the fuel to run with the vehicle. WVO means you have to convert the vehicle to run with the fuel." </font> Typically, if you have more than one diesel vehicle, running Bio seems to be the common path. If you have a single vehicle and don't want to mess with chemicals and mixing, WVO might be your better choice.
Is Bio/WVO for me? I have an (insert vehicle here).... what kit should I use?
Due to the recent HARD spike in petroleum prices, there are a lot of users that come to this forum (and others like it) seeking the "15 minute answer"... that is, they just want someone to answer a single question, so that they can go about their business. "Tell me what I want to know so I can go back to my life".
The bottom line is, no one can answer this question for you. Any "15 minute" answer won't suffice simply because once you take the dive, you are going solo.
In this forum, we are all independant... together.
While there are some people that have "broken out" and started commerical enterprises, it is important to note that this arena is still in experimental form. BioDiesel may have gotten some recent nods and warm fuzzies in the general world, but for the most part, our homebrew methods and shade-tree tinkering still seems to remain the red-headed bastard step-child to the diesel engine manufactures at large.
Every kit is different. Some are good, some are bad... just like any cross-section of products in any competive marketplace. You need to search, read, search, read, and search and read some more.
After that, take a step back and note that what you are paying at the pump represents the cost of the CONVENIENCE of having a 3rd party collect/filter/process/store/distribute your petroleum product for you... and give you the ability to fill up your tank all over the nation.
BioDiesel and WVO may offer significant cost savings, but the trade-off here is that the "convenience" factor is gone. You are doing your OWN collection... your OWN processing... your OWN storage... etc etc etc.... not to mention the fact that if your engine takes a nose-dive (for ANY reason), not many Ford Dealerships will give you the time of day once they find out you decided to go against the grain.
What kind of mileage/performance differences are there in running BioDiesel or WVO? There are two answers to this question. 1) It's free... who cares?
2) From what I have gathered, if you compare a single drop of WVO to a single drop of #2 Diesel, the petro-fuel contains APPROXIMATLY 5-10% more potential combustible energy than the WVO. While this SEEMS like it should translate to a 5-10% drop-off in mileage and power, most (if not all) folks never seem to notice. So while the scientists in lab coats wag their fingers, the rest of us just shrug and say "whatever".
Can I use "off-road" (red) Diesel in my truck? Can I use heating oil? Will it hurt anything?
The only thing you are hurting is your wallet if you are caught. The risk that you run is getting nabbed by the police/IRS. "Off-road" diesel is intended for use in machinery such as farm equipment that doesn't typically travel on public roads, and therefore is cheaper because of the difference in fuel tax. Off-road diesel is dyed with a red coloring, making it easy to spot if a dip-stick is ever placed in your fuel tank. From what I have read, the fine from the IRS alone is $1000 or $10/gallon... whichever is greater. This penalty doesn't include any fines from your local/state government.
Can I just use any type of oil?
Most (if not all) vegetable-based cooking oil will work for BioDiesel and WVO... in general folks like to find quantities of non-hydrogenated oil, as it has the lowest gel/cloud point... making it much easier to manipulate/filter/use in lower temperatures. Most folks also (with a few exceptions) tend to stay away from the hydrogenated oil used at fast food restaurants, as it has the consistency of Lard/Crisco at room temperature and is very hard to work with.
Can I just throw a few gallons of WVO into my stock tank without modifying anything?
"Cutting" your #2 diesel fuel with WVO is a common practice, particularly in the warmer climates. Typically, you will see this as something like "10/90", representing a combination of 10% WVO and 90% #2 Diesel. The short answer is "Yes", but again... this is a process that goes well beyond the "15 minute answer". In short, you want to pay CLOSE ATTENTION to how you are changing the viscosity of your fuel. The additional X-factor here is the ambient temperature of your area. Hotter temperatures in the summer mean you can typically mix higher percentages of WVO with your fuel. Lower ambient temperatures mean (obviously) that a lesser ratio should be used.
Can I burn WMO? (Waste Motor Oil?)
There has been a lot of discussion on this topic..... and the brotherhood here seems to be divided evenly into the "YES" camp, and the "NO" camp. While the general consensus is that you CAN (everything has a flashpoint)... the answer might just be that you SHOULDN'T. (I am trying to stay impartial here, and avoid any flaming). WMO contains the very stuff that your engine is trying to get RID of... and turning it right around and stuffing it into the other end of your piston chamber makes some people uneasy. That being said, there are a number of folks who surface here from time to time talking about their successful blends of WMO to #2 Diesel whenever this question arises.