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Old 21-04-2008, 09:30   #1
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Alternative Fuels

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, Im 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? Were 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!
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Old 21-04-2008, 10:02   #2
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Different manufacturers have different standards for using alternative fuels. Cummins for example does not recommend more than a 20/80 mixture of vegetable oil to diesel fuel.

There are a number of factors to consider such as the reduced lubricity of vegetable oil and the impurities which tend to clog fuel filters at a much faster rate.

I'm not saying alternative fuels are better or worse, that's a different discussion, but you do need to check with the manufacturer before doing this.
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Old 21-04-2008, 12:12   #3
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Since there just isn't that much vegetable oil available* to power cars etc, it's unlikely that there will be ever be a push to build the infrastructure to distribute it.

* There are about 100 million gallons of waste restaurant oil generated annually. That would only replace about 0.07 percent of the 140 billion gallons of gas Americans use each year.
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Old 21-04-2008, 13:18   #4
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In regards to the other part of your question, you don't have to modify the engine. It will run on the Vege oil. But as discussed, it is getting the stuff that becomes the hassle. There is a new fuel on the Horizon. I don't think it will be too far away. It comes from Algae which is not new. But the production of it is. In the recent past, all that have tried to "grow" alternate fuels all come up against one hurdle. The energy that goes into growing and producing is more than what you get out and the area taken up is huge in relation to the fuel return. This has suddenly all changed and in a dramatic step. A researcher has come up with an alternative way of growing Algae. It is produced in a form of Glass house with vertical towers of horizontal clear plastic tubes that zigzag all the way down. Water enters at the top and continuosly runs down the tower and Algae grows in the light. The Algae falls of the plastic and runs down with the water. At the bottom the Algae is seperated off and flows out as a green Oil like susbtance and the water is returned to the top again. The product runs off in a continuous stream and he can produce 100,000ltrs for just one Hectare of area taken up by the greenhouse. This finaly sounds like a go'er.
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Old 21-04-2008, 13:41   #5
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We currently barely produce enough grain and other products to produce 11% of our fuel needs, and that is if we stop eating. We should always research new ideas, etc., but growing our fuel just isn't going to happen.
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Old 21-04-2008, 13:59   #6
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I think all Bear wanted to know is if he can use it and how...not a lecture on its environmental merits or ill-merits. That horse has already been beaten to death in a few other threads.
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Old 22-04-2008, 04:57   #7
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All,

Thanks for the input. Yes, was wondering if I can use it, but the mix ratio as described by David M would be a challenge and of questionable usage.

I saw a program on the Discovery Channel (Modern Marvels?) where they were discussing alternative fuels. In California, they can change out an automobile engine to run on pure veggie oil for under $500.

Immediately I thought of two issues.
1) What would the cost be to convert marine engines? Does anyone do it?
2) How would I get the veggie oil?

Wheels has a good point about the Algae. I read on CNN about that process. I think it has a lot of merit in that it can turn economically challenged land (the Southwestern US) into an energy producing gold mine! But again, conversion and infrastructure (getting the fuel to the customer) remain major issues. Also, in the case of algae, how long will it be before it passes from the experimental stage to the commercial stage?

We're going to have to do something - sooner rather than later - or in addition to the adverse effects to the economy, we're going to have to start thinking about whole new ways to conduct our lives.

Thanks to all of you who have already commented and please continue to do so. We can all learn from the observations and experiences of others.

Regards
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Old 22-04-2008, 05:09   #8
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Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a fantastic fuel. I run biodiesel in my truck from Chicken Stock. A local company produces and sells for about 3.50 a gallon. It can be made yourself for about 1.00 a gallon depending on methanol prices. First of all vegetable oil is NOT the same as biodiesel. Vegetable oil for many reasons is not suitable for a diesel engine without conversion. The oil must be heated in order to spray through injector properly, otherwise trouble begins in addition to the rapid clogging of filters. Simplified, biodiesel is cut with Methanol and a chemical reaction takes place that makes a fuel that is similar viscocity to petroleum diesel. Above all you are being environmentaly friendly. While biodiesel has similar particulate matter emissions, it has been shown to have very very few negative health effects. Another plus is 2% biodiesel adds an 80% increase in the lubrication to regular diesel (which is low sulfur and increases wear on engine.)
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Old 22-04-2008, 07:03   #9
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almost every WVO(waste vegetable oil) conversion I've heard of still required diesel, at least to warm the engine up to operating temperature, then a valve is used to switch over to a seperate WVO tank. Usually the original diesel tank is given to WVO and a smaller tank of just a couple of gallons is installed for diesel.

the diesel engine was ORIGINALLY designed to run on vegetable oil, or so I hear. Over the years though it's changed a bit and vegetable oil is not the ideal fuel for it any more.

there is also the matter of heating the WVO. WVO thickens up as it gets colder. In most cars this can be remedied by just a simple little heater attached to the tank. In a boat, I'm not sure how the oil would handle being in a tank, losing heat to the water, especially in winter, and most especially in latitudes farther north.(or south for those of you it applies to)


check out Journey to Forever: Hong Kong to Cape Town Overland - An adventure in environment and development, join us on the Internet, all welcome, participation, online education, school projects, free of charge excellent site with tons of information. Plenty of links about WVO/Biodiesel/Alcohol fuels.
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Old 22-04-2008, 09:10   #10
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I met a guy in California that collected oil from many different restaraunts. He filtered the oil, and dumped it in his 20yr old MBZ with no hassles at all. He hadn't paid for fuel in a year according to him?
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Old 09-06-2008, 18:56   #11
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
I met a guy in California that collected oil from many different restaraunts. He filtered the oil, and dumped it in his 20yr old MBZ with no hassles at all. He hadn't paid for fuel in a year according to him?
He will probably eventually need a new motor or if he's LUCKY new injectors. If he hasn't modded it.

General rule of thumb is. Veggie oil, you modify the engine (fuel system, tank(s), etc), biodiesel, you make the fuel.

For info on SVO, WVO and "proper" Biodiesel, you might want to check into the Infopop forums.

Biodiesel & SVO Forums - Powered by eve community

There is also a good Australian (predominately) forum I recently discovered:

Bio Fuels Forums - Powered by vBulletin

and I know there's a few in the U.K. which depending on where you are could be essential in checking out legal issues. (taxation etc as in some places the government IS charging people with tax fraud etc)

I myself am looking into biodiesel (homemade) as I found the Veggie oil thing is a HUGE pain in most cases! That's before you even get into the fact that if you remove used oil from a restaurant you well may be stealing it as they often have contracts with renderers, etc.

Also, in making your own bio, you have to realize that it can be highly flammable and you have to work with some seriously hazadous chemicals so it also has a lot to do with if you have somewhere SAFE to do it!

For a general idea, see the 2nd and 3rd links in the following:

Articles and Information

I haven't transferred this info to my new forum yet so it's all I have at the moment in one place.

For Veggi itself, Frybrid has a good forum and it isn't just biased on their own products and has many warnings about the "bad guys" out there.

Greasil/Greasecar I believe has a forum too but unless they've changed they don't have the "greatest reputation"t though I still need to substantiate that claim as a few people have told me they've "changed their ways" recently.

It may not be boat related but Mercedesshop.com also has a bio forum and if I recall there may be info on club smartcar also.

Hopefully some of this may help. It's all I can think of off the top oif my head. Between the first few sources, there is probably a lot more info then you could ever use.
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Old 09-06-2008, 19:14   #12
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Warning, beware,
I've used Bio diesal in my boat and its fattening... The darn stuff smell like "popcorn" and you're always hungry when the motor is running. The savings I got on the Bio-diesal, I spent on food to eat. I must have gained 10 pounds on that tank of fuel.
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Old 09-06-2008, 19:59   #13
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The last time I checked virgin bulk soybean oil was $0.55 a gallon US. One hell of a savings over $4.39 for diesel. Even if you mixed it 50/50 you would only be at $2.50 a gallon. The other option is buring used transmission fluid. It works fine in the summer.
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Old 09-06-2008, 21:10   #14
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The last time I checked virgin bulk soybean oil was $0.55 a gallon US. One hell of a savings over $4.39 for diesel. Even if you mixed it 50/50 you would only be at $2.50 a gallon. The other option is buring used transmission fluid. It works fine in the summer.
I haven't read through this yet but some good info from what I've seen so far.


http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/r...01_tra-051.pdf
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Den View Post
I haven't read through this yet but some good info from what I've seen so far.


http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/r...01_tra-051.pdf
I think I'll do some research on soybean oil. Sounds interesting. Hopefully they were more diligent in their research than they were in writing their paper. Sloppy to say the least.

Thanks for posting it.
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