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Old 28-04-2008, 13:52   #16
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That is why fuel filters can clog, it is cleaning your system.
The really has to be said as not an issue of the Bio-Diesel, but poorly maintained fuel system.
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Some car engines, and I assume marine diesel engines, have seals that can be damaged by the fuel.
We had that issue here when sulphur was removed from our Diesel. The process also removes some of the Aromatics and these solvents act on the seals to cause them to remain soft and plyable. When the aromatics were removed, the gaskets shrunk and became dry and brittle causing leaks. The same is for Bio-fuel. It is not that the fuel causes leaks as such, it is the fact that there are no Aromatics in the fuel, so the gaskets need replacing with a different type. Only certain Diesels were affected and all modern day diesels come with the new O-rings and seals.
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Old 28-05-2012, 11:21   #17
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Bio-Diesel, Algae-based Fuel

...for aircraft (and boats?)

I was just recently looking thru the May 2012 issue of Popular Science and found an interesting discussion on some of China's enviromental impact in this new energy world. Apparently Boeing company has been working with China in relation to the aircraft industry to develop bio-fuels that can be used in the engines of their very significantly growing airline industry. I've scanned the article here, and posted a few excerpts:

"When an engine burns fuel from algae, it emits CO2, just as if it were burning fuel pumped straight from the Persian Gulf. BUT, the algae would have removed at least as much CO2 from the atmosphere while it was growing. So in principle, and with allowances for inefficiences and fuel costs in the production process, algae-based fuel could allow airplanes to fly on something much closer to a 'carbon-neutral' basis."

"By process of elimination, these criteria have led mainly to algae (biofuels). In principle it can produce 5 to 10 times as much fuel per acre of surface area as oil palms, soybeans, corn, or other crops that can be used for biofuels. It grows and produces the oil many times as fast as more complex plants,...and the algae crop cycle is a matter of days rather than weeks or months."


...and here is the quote that surprised me !!
"It can be grown on land that is otherwise too barren or unusable, and in water that is too polluted or brackish for any other human or agricultural purpose. The world's entire avaition fuel needs could be taken care of by algae facilities the size of Belgium."
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Old 28-05-2012, 11:30   #18
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Re: Bio-Diesel

Then the next question is, who is going to allow their land to converted? Belgium is 11,787 square miles.
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Old 28-05-2012, 11:31   #19
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Re: Bio-Diesel

Of course, when you burn dino-oil, you are also simply "restoring" the CO2 that the dinosaurs or swamp plants took out of the atmosphere millions of years ago.<G> Making the source of the fuel a moot point in the larger picture.

China is nothing if not practical. They have no domestic oil supply, they are smart enough not to want to depend on "the lower kingdom" to get it. From the Chinese point of view, it doesn't matter what biofuel costs as long as they can produce it domestically, and not have to rely on anyone else as a vital fuel source.

When the economics make foreign fuels cheaper, they'll buy foreign. When it becomes cheaper to grow fuel at home...or the acid mists from their domestic coal prove too embarassing...

The US military is working with biofuels for the same reasons. Ecology is good PR, but really not on the real priority list.

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You said "allow" in the same breath as "China" ? The land where they shoot you, and then bill your family for the bullet? By and large, right or wrong, what the Chinese government wants, they make happen.
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Old 28-05-2012, 11:44   #20
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Re: Bio-Diesel

What I know about China is that in many respects they are better at being entrepreneurs than most of the rest of the world. What that means is they are going to go for the lowest cost fuel for their aircraft. Chances are pretty good that the lowest cost fuel will not be bio-fuel.

Also, the airline business is extremely price competitive. Meaning that the airlines with the least expensive fuel are going to get the lions share of the business, since fuel is their greatest cost of doing business. Being pragmatic here, I don't know how bio fuel is going to work if it is not as cheap as fossil fuel OR all the worlds airlines are not onboard with bio-fuel. But as you know, not all the airlines can be forced into using the more expensive bio-fuel. I'm all for cleaner fuels and think that a slightly higher price makes it worth it. I'm just looking at the economics side of it.
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Old 28-05-2012, 13:13   #21
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Re: Bio-Diesel

A couple of comments.

Algae properties have been known in bio-fuel scientific circles for years. They have all those benefits and one very major problem - they are very small. Growing them is easy, filtering them out for further processing is next to impossible. Other than that - perfect. They do not compete for farm land, grow fast, can be fed with municipal waste water, CO2 from power plants and heated with waste heat from same. The one who discovers an efficient way of filtering algae out will become very rich very fast.

Bio-fuels (fatty acid esters) have one issue with application in aviation, they do not remain fluid in low temperatures and it is very cold in flight levels. But, it could be argued that airlines could have bio-fuel producing industry and swap for fossil fuels, still being 'green' in the end.

So, politics aside, there are technical obstacles to overcome too.

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Old 28-05-2012, 13:47   #22
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Re: Bio-Diesel

"I don't know how bio fuel is going to work if it is not as cheap as fossil fuel "
That's easy, price (cheap) is an artificial concept. The Saudis can charge whatever they want for oil, but once it hits $5/gallon it becomes economically competitive to make oil from coal (WW2 technology, Germany used it) and other means.
Biofuel? Just make sure you can sell the "carbon tax" credits, and voila, the net price of the green oil comes down. Or, you manipulate futures contracts, or manipulate the industry itself.
The Saudis know that if they go to $5, someone can build an oil factory and compete with them. At which point, they can drop their price to $4, put the factory in bankruptcy, buy it for a penny on the dollar, and then bring it back online at $7 per gallon.
Welcome to the 21st century, when "cheap" just means "no one has figured out how to own this yet".
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Old 28-05-2012, 13:54   #23
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Re: Bio-Diesel

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Then the next question is, who is going to allow their land to converted? Belgium is 11,787 square miles.
There are considerable land masses around that could be considered.

Heck I was surprised at the considerable waste lands that exist in Montana as I was driving thru there several years ago....not what I imagined at all for a considerable portion in the eastern part.
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Old 28-05-2012, 14:02   #24
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Re: Bio-Diesel

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The US military is working with biofuels for the same reasons. Ecology is good PR, but really not on the real priority list.
That's one of the primary problems we have now....not on the priorty list !! When are we going to wake up to the fact that we can't solve all these problems at the very last minute....PLAN AHEAD AMERICA !!

Get a REAL energy plan...not that bulls--t that was passed by our congress over the past 20 years

Got any idea of what a gallon of fuel cost delivered to Afghanistan?? Just maybe we could pay the poppy growers more money for the growing algae for bio-fuel
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Old 28-05-2012, 14:11   #25
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Re: Bio-Diesel

If you bothered to read the article....

"Boeing's calculations assume that a sustaned world oil price of $90 per barrel or above would make algae-based fuel economically pratical once production techniques are improved"

It goes on to talk about the efforts being made by Chinese universties and academies to do just that. America needs to stay competitive
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Old 28-05-2012, 14:15   #26
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Re: Bio-Diesel

The low-temperature jelly problem was solved by Concord. The fuel was pumped along the leading edge of the wing to remove the aerodynamic friction heat, and pre-warm the fuel on its way to the engines.
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Old 28-05-2012, 14:18   #27
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Re: Bio-Diesel

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, which is 109 yrs old, has a 10 yr old Algae bio-fuel reseach program in place.
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Old 28-05-2012, 17:42   #28
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Re: Bio-Diesel

One other issue - Diesel has a relatively long shelf life whereas biodiesel is something in the order of 3 months. This can obviously be a substantial factor for a sail boat and irrelevant for a motor boat used regularly.
I am surprised at the prices quoted by the OP - around here (Canada), biodiesel tends to be slightly MORE expensive then regular diesel. On the other hand, filtered used cooking oil (NOT BIODIESEL) is substantially cheaper than diesel. I would suggest verifying that the product being offered is Biodiesel and not veggy oil as a lot of people have no clue about the differences.
As reported by others, biodiesel is good stuff even in small qty as it improves lubrication. Veggy oil has a slightly higher energy content than dino diesel and can be used if the engine has been appropriately modified but you ALWAYS start on dino diesel and only switch over to veggy oil when the engine is at operating temperature and the veggy oil can be properly pre-heated to bring viscosity down. You also shut down on regular diesel. Veggy oil has a similar shelf life as biodiesel. Veggy oil breaks down to an almost bomb proof goo when exposed to air and/or metal contact over longer periods of time. This is accelerated with temperature. Heaven help you if you have a tiny leak and don't discover it for a while - the resulting goo is almost impossible to clean up completely.

To sum it up, if I had the option of using biodiesel at a substantial discount I would do so but I would be sure to watch the age of the product in my tanks. I would feel better using a max of B20 but would also empty the tanks at the end of the season. I would not use straight veggy oil in a sail boat.

To put this in perspective, I have just finished an experiment of running straight veggy oil in an old style (Lister, indirect injection) diesel engine for a period of about 2200 hrs. The end result was that maintenance issues were more than I was prepared to deal with (note that this was raw veggy oil and not biodiesel) and the project is currently being dismantled.
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Old 28-05-2012, 20:31   #29
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Re: Bio-Diesel

I've run thousands of gallons of B20 - B99 biodiesel through farm equipment, trucks and even my car. It can attract more water than petro diesel and it eats rubber hoses and seals. On my combine, I changed out all hoses and I always drain the system before winter and add petro diesel. The blends do add lubricity, and a B20 blend is a safe bet, aside from winter. I run B50 nearly year round in my farm truck, but I burn a lot of fuel and the diesel has winter additives.

I don't run much biodiesel in my sailboat, because I don't want to deal with the hassle. I've got so much first hand experience with it on the farm, and while cruising, I neither want to put up with potential inconvenience, nor do I want to run the engine much anyway. If you have the time and prepared to deal with fuel system issues, it is completely possible. No doubt your engine would benefit, but often at the expense of the fuel delivery system. If you change your hoses out and are willing to deal with a potential pump failure, etc. then no prob.

The local guys here make high quality fuel from recycled cooking oil. That is very practical to me. Fuel made from virgin oil or corn ethanol is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic in my opinion. I toured biodiesel factory in Brazil with other farmers, but good lord they've got the beans to do it in the Mato Grasso
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