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Biodiesel vehicles

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
What are your thoughts on biodiesel vehicles? Are they in our future? Will french fry oil finally have a good home?


  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    What is the byproduct of biodiesel?
    Surely if I stop by the local Taco Bell and get their nasty old grease for fuel and pour it into my car something will be left behind.
    Nachos, anyone?
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I've heard that biodiesel fuel is not a good choice for easy starts so it's best to use regular diesel fuel for the first few minutes then you can switch to biodiesel, true and if so how that accomplished ?
  • oldboyoldboy Posts: 59
    Refer to post #498 at Hybrids vs. Diesel thread for a good explanation of how to switch between diesel and cooking oil. Expensive to install an extra fuel tank, but you might get the used cooking oil free from some restaurants. As for biodiesel, you would just use the existing tank, no problem. However biodiesel blends up to 20% are recommended rather than running 100% biodiesel, from what I have read. I would add that I have no personal experience with this.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Diesel engine can run on biodiesel which is a product of transesterfication, waste vegetable oil, or straight vegetable oil. Biodiesel is interchangeable with petroleum derived diesel and require no different tanks or modifications for distribution or use.
    Using WVO or SVO requires special equipment in a vehicle. Separate tank, and heating element at a minimum and the vehicle typically uses regular diesel during the start of vehicle and prior to shut down.
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,675

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  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    There isn't enough free used cooking oil / soybean oil for us all but kinda like hybrids bio-diesel is there for those willing to look for it - snip - Ostaszewski: Driving the global economy on french fry oil - Have you seen the price of gas lately? It's more than $2 a gallon. Two dollars! What do those big, heartless oil companies think they are selling us? Bottled water? Milk? - 546&format=text
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,270
    I know that biodiesel has advantages over diesel in the emissions department, but how does a diesel engine burning 100% biodiesel compare in emissions to a ULEV or SULEV gasoline engine, or an engine running on CNG?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • EPA's A Comprehensive Analysis of Biodiesel Impacts on Exhaust Emissions will help you.


    Biodiesel reduces Perticle Matter and CO2 but increases more dangerous NOx. 100% biodiesel blend fuel has about 10% less energy than petrol diesel. So, you are looking at energy density of the gasoline.

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,270
    Thanks, Dennis. Although I didn't closely read all 126 pages of the report you gave the hyperlink to, the table that you included in your post gives a pretty good idea of the answers to my question. The report noted that the data were largely based on pre-1997 heavy-duty highway vehicles (largely semis I imagine)that had few emission control devices (for instance, NOX adsorbers). I wonder if the NOX increase could be prevented with such devices. Since the other pollutants decrease dramatically, and biodiesel is renewable and domestically produced, it might be worth the effort.


    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Wow, I sure hope that hybrid drivers concerned about emissions are not foolishly burning ethanol blended gasoline! ethanol/index.shtml

    VOC's in the news in MN. People making the ethanol choice are contributing to toxic emissions.

    Other problems with ethanol.
    Ethanol is highly volatile (increased smog from evaporation of gasoline). Ethanol can not be transported using traditional petro pipelines due to water absortion and separation from gasoline. Requires massive tax subsidies. Requires modifications to existing engines.

    Biodiesel is not highly volatile. Biodiesel can be transported in the same pipelines as gasoline or diesel. Biodiesel does not require blending and can be used as 100% biodiesel. Biodiesel requires no modifications to existing diesel engines. Biodiesel receives fewer tax subsidies than ethanol.

    Biodiesel is the smart choice for the fuel to power future vehicles, not ethanol.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897


    I drive by that plant on the way to work every day. So there is absolutely nothing you can claim about it that I can't clarify for people.

    The regulators and the required action was very swift, since ethanol is mandatory in Minnesota. 100% of the gas in the metro area is a mix with gas. And because of that, we are proving the benefits from it... both from cleaner air and the fact that the production has become more efficient.

    BIODIESEL IS DIRTIER THAN DIESEL, WITH RESPECT TO NOx (SMOG) EMISSIONS. Would you like me to publish a link to the proof of that, again?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    hybrid advantages:

    1) Lower Nox and P articulates

    Diesel advantages:
    1) Less greenhouse effect ( esp considering fuel evaporation )
    2) No environmentally questionable battery pack
    3) Renewable and net zero greenhouse with biodiesel
    4) Established diesel engine longevity.

    Fuel economy, i think we have to say is a tossup, esp as some reviewers have claimed to have gotten the same MPG out of a prius and an (automatic) mercedes e320CDI--and that's a much bigger, heavier, and faster car.

    Cost--diesel, it seems. A TDI jetta is cheaper than a civic hybrid when equipped similarly, and honda is admittedly subsidizing the hybrid. Speculating that it will cost massive amounts to clean up potential future emissions standards is double speculation--euro diesel standards are already high, and diesels are cost-effective there.

    As i don't need a car right now, i can wait a year or two until there's an audi, c-class, or 3-series diesel available here.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > 1) Less greenhouse effect

    The lack of proof makes this very questionable. Real-World data is required.

    > 2) No environmentally questionable battery pack

    Proof that NiMH is both environmentally benign and recyclable has already been provided.

    > 3) Renewable and net zero greenhouse with biodiesel

    Since ethanol is a biogas, what's the point?

    > 4) Established diesel engine longevity.

    Since Prius is about to begin year 8, this point will lose it's competitive advantage as time goes on.

  • loveshemploveshemp Posts: 4
    I bought a 2004 TDI New Beetle and have used 100% biodiesel in it since the first time I filled the tank. I keep a 55 gallon drum of the stuff in my garage. It's easy to buy, delivered the same day I call for it, and easy to use with the little hand-pump I bought for $29. The fuel is non-toxic, non-combustible, and smells good. Best of all, my car runs like a dream. I have the hippest car in town because it doesn't pollute. Check out the emission facts at if you aren't convinced that this is the fuel of the future.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    That answers a lot of my questions, especially in the light of allegations that Bio-Diesel was higher in NoX. It seems you can buy high quality Bio-Diesel that passes CARB requirements for the upcoming 2006 standards. I need to plant more corn and soybeans on my MN farm.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,270
    I am very interested in what biodiesel is costing you. I could certainly handle pumping it myself. Oh, and where do you live (what state)? Thanks.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • loveshemploveshemp Posts: 4
    I pay $3.17 a gallon here in Montana (delivered, as I said, to my garage). I don't mind paying a little more to save the world, and my VW gets almost 50 mpg.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Hey hemp sounds like you've got a good thing going. Couple questions, is your VW stock and what happens when your on the road or can't get back to your garage for fuel, can you mix n match without a problem ? I could go the biodiesel route (don't mind paying a little more, storing it in my garage and filling my tank there) but every now & then would end up getting whatever the filling station has to offer .
  • loveshemploveshemp Posts: 4
    It's okay to mix and match, that's another good thing about it. Recently I drove to California and couldn't find any biodiesel pumps along the way, (except one in West Yellowstone) and the car ran just fine on regular diesel. I haven't done anything special to the car--just plunked down my money and put it in gear. It runs like a top.
  • loveshemploveshemp Posts: 4
    Forgot to say--yes, the car is "stock," nothing special about it, a 2004 TDI New Beetle. Also, in the winter I'll have to mix the biodiesel with No. 1 diesel (right in the gas tank) because B100 gels at 20 degrees (more or less) but B20 is good to 40 below. So if you live in a cold climate keep the B100 in the garage next to the house so the whole tank doesn't gel. Even if it gels it is okay once it warms up, not like regular diesel which gets crystals in it and can wreak havoc on your engine, or so I am told by my husband who is an ex-diesel mechanic and was skeptical about my purchase but has since become a believer.
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