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Old 18-03-2008, 16:33   #1
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Cruisin' The Loop on Biodiesel

Hi all we are new to the forum and wanted to say hi. My wife and I are getting together a boat that we will be running on biodiesel. We are both teachers and are taking the next two years off to do this educational and research project.

We are very excited to get started and are ready to buy the right boat that comes along. If you have any good suggestions we will always be ready to hear them. Also cruisers we would like to hear from you.

We are looking for a trawler or inexpensive cruiser that has diesel engines. We would like to have something between 40 and 50 feet if possible.

Thanks a bunch and we will see you on the water soon. Just follow the smell of fried chicken.
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Old 18-03-2008, 19:24   #2
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Sounds like quite an adventure. Welcome aboard. There has been a little talk on the board about biodiesel that I know of. 40' to 50' is a lot of boat. Especially in a powerboat. You're going to have to hit alot of greasy spoons to keep those big engines running.
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Old 18-03-2008, 20:03   #3
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Welcome aboard. Biodiesel is a great idea but there are some downsides that you may want to read about.

Cummins Every Time - Customer Center - Biodiesel FAQ
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Old 18-03-2008, 20:42   #4
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Thanks for the information. I have looked into the modifications and they are really not too bad. Basically you need to replace the rubber components with synthetic.

The initial use of biodiesel causes some problems with particulates in the engine. We will not be leaving immediately once converted so we should be well flushed out by then.
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Old 18-03-2008, 20:45   #5
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Great loop is not a short trip. It's a lot of diesel no matter what the flavor is. At 50 ft it's more rather than less. I wouldn't let the trip become a mission. 6,000 miles and 185 locks is a long time and perhaps a fun time too. setting expectations is a serious game not well advised. For the most part you do better taking things as you find them.
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Old 19-03-2008, 00:41   #6
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the next two years off to do this educational and research project.
So how is it either of the above that you need to take two years off to do both? What exactly are your Goals?
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Old 19-03-2008, 05:36   #7
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It started with just wanting to take a year off. As other teachers know it can be quite a stressful job. We work in the inner city as well which makes it more difficult.

As we began to look into things we found that we would need more time. Our idea of using biodiesel began to take off. Although we are not unrealistic in thinking that we can use 100% biodiesel or B100, we want to use at least part biodiesel all the time.

We will take our time doing seminars, getting in classrooms, and developing new technologies that make motor boating more environmentally friendly, and we will try to do our part to make a difference.
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Old 19-03-2008, 05:47   #8
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40' to 50' is a lot of boat. Especially in a powerboat. You're going to have to hit alot of greasy spoons to keep those big engines running.
Welcome aboard coachkip

Charlie, dont necessarily need big engines, just need efficient hullshapes

65hp a side in my boat for approx 10-12 knot cruise

Possibly could have got away with 50hp comfortably enough.

I dont think Bio diesel is compatable with epoxy tanks (which I have) either



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Old 19-03-2008, 09:52   #9
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Cat Man:

I agree that a cat such as the one you are making would be fine but 65hp per side is still 130hp total. Don't know if you have to run both engines all the time but I've got a 41' boat and power at a max of 8 knots (1.1gpm) or a crusisng speed of 7.5 (3/4 gph)

It's the "inexpensive 40 or 50" that precludes a super efficient hull shape.

Anyway sound like a great adventure. Coachkip are you going to be brewing your own biodiesel or buying it along the way. I bought a manual on how to make your own bio-diesel. The plant was an old water heater. Now that would be quite the experience making the loop on self brwed bio diesel.
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Old 19-03-2008, 10:27   #10
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I am not sure if we will be brewing our own or not. I have a local guy who sells processors who will help us set up biodiesel along the way. I would like to process some of it on our own but all the processes that I have seen needs a settling period where the glutens separate with gravity. I am not sure if this will work on a boat due to the nearly constant movement, even at a dock.
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Old 19-03-2008, 10:50   #11
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yeah the settling process can take a long time but perhaps you could set it up so that you collect the oil and then leave it on shore to settle then when it is settled you process it. Even if you only do 10 or 20 gallons a week the small town and maybe city papers would have a field day with it. I can see the headlines "Two teachers on a 50' power boat are sailing 6000 miles on a boat that runs on french fry oil" Nortern Tool sells these folding cars that have a good capacity for less than $200. Foldit Collapsible Cart — 330-Lb. Capacity | Yard Carts + Wheelbarrows | Northern Tool + Equipment
with a 330lb capacity you could carry 40 gals in one trip. It would be a PIA but I imagine it would create some good publicity.
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Old 19-03-2008, 12:12   #12
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There is a guy in our Marina that has been running his Diesel on BioDiesel for at least a year, but I think maybe much longer. He has had no issues so far. It is a powered cruiser of around 40' and they are out pretty much every weekend. As far as I understand, it is 100% bio. I don't think he adds any regular diesel at all. I must catch up with him and ask. I diesel is rising rather rapidly in price and is set to go much higher over the next few days.
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Old 19-03-2008, 13:49   #13
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There is a guy in our Marina that has been running his Diesel on BioDiesel
Is he purchasing "commercial" biodiesel, or doing a "home brew"?
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Old 19-03-2008, 14:20   #14
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Does anyone else have a problem with storing the methanol needed on a boat?

also keep in mind B100 produces less power than Dino diesel. It will take more fuel to cover the same distance.
Stay away from the massed produced processors. Do a google search on the brand names. There have been problems with them.
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Old 19-03-2008, 15:35   #15
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Slightly off topic:

Does anyone know why biodiesel producers peg their prices to that of the fossil fuel producers?

Looking at the economics of it all, I was thinking about home brewing biodiesel for heat this past winter when I had that Dickenson diesel heater. Seemed even buying all the hardware and chemicals I'd come up with less than half the cost the biodiesel producers were charging and they have the advantage of mass production.

Why don't they let the price float freely, independent of fossil diesel?
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