Originally Posted by Bear Essentials
Hello again fellow boaters,
Well, after paying $1,000 for my last two (partial) fill-ups of diesel for our boat, I started thinking about converting to vegetable oil vice diesel for power. However, I’m having a bit of difficulty in finding individuals who can convert Volvo/Penta IPS engines to vegetable oil consumption and if there is a reliable/steady source for getting vegetable oil in bulk in the Miami area.
We were wondering if anyone had converted their boat from diesel to vegetable oil and if so, if they have had any unforeseen difficulties following conversion? We’re not going to do this tomorrow, as we firmly believe that the infrastructure – especially in the Bahamas and points south – need to be better established. But right now, it is looking increasingly attractive.
As always, appreciate any thoughts you may care to share.
Thanks a lot!
It is interesting to read the many responses this received. As the operator of a company that is actually familiar with this technology (Alternative Fuel
Systems, LLC), I feel compelled to answer factually, based on today's market 3 years later. First of all, I have no commercial
interest in the application of this technology to your particular vessel, we only convert commercial
vehicles and vessels.
#1. Suitable fuel
is readily available, including some islands in the Bahamas
, and certainly in Miami
to dockside available.
#2. This technology will not 'destroy' or damage your engine
#3. This technology is presently most cost effective for large consumers
#4. If you convert, you can still run conventional Diesel fuel if VO is unavailable.
In a nutshell, converting to Vegetable based fuel oil is pretty easy. There are two types of vegetable oil used, VVO (vigin vegetable oil) or WVO (waste vegetable oil) the only functional difference is cost. On today's market the WVO (which is centrifuged or multi stage filtered to be free of animal fats and impurities) is about $2.50 per gallon incl taxes
and the VVO about $3.60 per gallon. Vessels may be exempt from some taxes
may or may not need to be fitted with different fuel injectors, depending on several factors too lengthy for this discussion and the fuel must be heated either in tank (preferred) or inline to the necessary viscosity for the application. typically a 'day tank' is required for most vessels. This is safe, proven technology in use by many companies and gov't agencies today. The vehicle or vessel is started on conventional Dino oil and operated on this until the VO reaches the operational temperature and then switched either mechanically or electronically (your choice) to the VO. Prior to shutdown, the engine is again run on the Dino Oil until the lines and injectors are clear of the VO.
A conversion on a small (350ci as example) displacement
engine in a passenger car might run around $1,800 and a large diesel in a dump truck could run around $3,000. A recent conversion on a single
engine (large displacement) Shrimp boat (no not a small boat, a shrimper) with two generators ran $9,000. So you see this could work for you depending on a lot of factors. A typical commercial operator at today's prices recoups their investment in about one year (or less) There are companies selling to do it yourselfers and companies doing conversions for 'retail' consumers, but you would have to search for these, I don't do referrals.
As a final note, the VO burns cleaner that Dino oil and meets the new EPA mandated emissions in most diesels without catalytic converters or similar devices.