Biodiesel vehicles



  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Expect Bio-Diesel to play a bigger role in 3 years. Already it should be cheaper compared to Petro-Diesel @ $2.3/gallon.

    As usual Brazil is taking bigger initiatives.
    Some Asian countries are already growing trees from which the Bio-Diesel can be obtained.
  • dnewbraunfelsdnewbraunfels Member Posts: 1
    Has any one seen a Ford 7.3l converted to run SVO? I am considering this conversion for my truck and need some advice. Thanks if you can help.
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    I wouldn't recommend burning straight vegetable oil. It clogs filters. Better to burn the processed oil (ethanol/biodiesel) which eliminates that problem.

    If ethanol/biodiesel becomes a fuel source (or even partial), we might see farmers earning as much money as college-degreed programmers.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    This rather long government report lays out the plan to replace 30% of our transportation fuel with biomass resources. Much of which is being wasted currently. Lots of graphs and pictures for those that don't like to read.
  • sinepmansinepman Member Posts: 137
    Do you know if it is more expensive to produce bio-diesel? Are there any drawbacks to using it in cold weather? Wouldn't we have to grow more crops to make the fuel? It sounds like a great idea! Can you provide some add'l info? Also, do you know if it will work in home furnaces. TIA
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    It is slightly more than fossil diesel. It also in the B100 form will cloud and gel in temperatures below 20 degrees. It needs to be kept warm or mixed with other diesel in the winter. Many sites are dedicated to the furtherance of biodiesel as it is one of the few ways to wean ourselves off of fossil fuel and foreign imports.
  • sinepmansinepman Member Posts: 137
    Thanks for the information. As much as it seems like a good alternative, I don't see us being able to produce enough to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It is something I would be interested in. I understand VW now does NOT void the warranty if you use bio.
  • bhill2bhill2 Member Posts: 2,387
    I disagree with your statement as stated. I certainly do not believe that we can eliminate our dependency on foreign oil, but every gallon of biodiesel that we produce reduces our dependency by however much oil it takes to produce a gallon of diesel. This country has a tremendous amount of fertile land not yet used, and the refining of vegetable oil into biodiesel is much more environmentally benign than refining oil into diesel.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • z28_sedanz28_sedan Member Posts: 18
    According to this website:

    ...for every gallon of petrodiesel burned, 2.2 gallons of fossil fuel (crude oil, presumably) are needed (1 gallon burned, plus 1.2 gallons needed to make that one gallon). I imagine gasoline requires even more crude as it's more complicated to refine than petrodiesel.

    By contrast, for every gallon of B100 burned, only 0.31 gallons of crude are needed. I imagine that can be reduced even more if biodiesel itself is used to fuel the harvesting, refining and distributing process.

    From what I understand, biodiesel from algae is the best hope for fueling the entire diesel fleet.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    biodiesel from algae is the best hope for fueling the entire diesel fleet.

    The studies are there saying just that. It is more likely we will be able to replace fossil fuel with biodiesel than hydrogen. No one has come up with an efficient, clean way to produce, store and transport hydrogen other than using nuclear power. Using solar to produce algae and subsequently biodiesel is more likely. I think we will see wide use of biodiesel long before we see hydrogen fuel cells.
  • bhill2bhill2 Member Posts: 2,387
    I can't imagine biodiesel not being in use long before fuel cells. Developing biodiesel seems such a no-brainer given that any diesel vehicle can use it and it would not require any additional infrastructure beyond the facilities to produce it. I also have to admit that producing it from algae absolutely fascinates me. Imagine being able to produce our fuel from swamp land!

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think the model was designed with the millions of acres of desert wasteland being flooded to produce algae. I'm with you that biodiesel is a no brainer. No gas engine can compare for overall environmental friendliness. Being CO2 neutral is a very big plus toward alleviating the GHG problems. Right now it is hard to find B100 biodiesel in San Diego. We have ULSD at the BP/ARCO stations so that is better than the old diesel.
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    Thermal depolymerization--it's a process that turns anything carbon based into gas, oil, and water. Tweaking the process can make his "oil" into a useful diesel.

    This could provide our mobility fuel needs from what we throw away right now--simply reprocessing our farm waste ( chaff, manure, etc ) would provide enough fuel for us to all get around.

    Now i'm even more determined to get a diesel next.

  • b0gmanb0gman Member Posts: 2
    An interesting source for ppl to read would be willie nelsons website. No that isnt a typo I may strongly disagree with him politically however he is a strong promoter of biod. Mr.Nelson's E320 CDI on B100(pure biodiesel) runs cleaner than a toyota prius.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I had a long phone conversation with one of the American Biofuels owners yesterday. They cannot keep up with the demand at this time. He drives a Passat TDI and fills it with B100 when he can. He then may find himself where none is available and fills with #2 diesel. He tries to fill up when he is at half tank so he has a good percentage of Biodiesel. The car runs better and of course we know it is much cleaner in almost every emission that is measured. Including the fact that it is GHG neutral. No hybrid can claim that. He also told me that most of their production is presold to dealers in the Bay area. Until they expand they will not be able to sell to dealers in Southern CA.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    And according to Richardson at University VW and Audi, consumers want to use biodiesel. VW is the first automaker whose warranties allow biodiesel to be used. Other makers void warranties because of concerns about the purity and performance of anything less than 100 percent diesel.

    But Richardson, who is general manager, said his diesel models are flying off the lot.

    "The Northwest is kind of a hot market for this because people in the Northwest tend to be more forward-thinking," he said.
  • jah2osjah2os Member Posts: 6
    I’ve read most of the posts in this thread and really feel most of the drawbacks mentioned about biodiesel use are either acceptable or fixable. I used homemade biodiesel in a 1977 VW Rabbit Diesel for 3 years and never had a problem that could not be overcome. Below are the areas people were concerned about.

    Cost – This will always be a problem when purchasing anything from our petroleum manufacturers. Their profit is what causes the high costs. When I was making my own it cost about $.30 a gallon. So there is an alternative to the high price and it does not take much time or effort to refine the vegetable oil. Initial equipment costs are a little pricey, but pay for themselves in the first six months.

    Parts Deterioration – Rubber seals and hoses in the fuel delivery system may experience deterioration and should be replaced with third party fluroelastomer parts before the 100,000 mile point hits. It is the 10% - 20% alcohol content in biodiesel that causes the deterioration. If auto manufacturers are going to support biodiesel as an alternative fuel they should manufacture all OEM parts out of the fluroelastomer material instead of rubber anyway. They may already, but I bet we pay a lot more for them.

    Environment – These issues are very important to me, but I feel you have to weigh out everything involved. NOx output increase is the only drawback I have found personally, but my Rabbit, burning biodiesel, always passed emissions tests in Colorado’s “Front Range Emissions Area.” The damage caused by vegetable oil in land fills oozing into ground water is much more damaging to the environment. Anything we can do to lessen this problem is a BIG PLUS.

    Switching back to diesel – When I first started making biodiesel (when I used straight, refined vegetable oil) I had this problem. I ran low on fuel a long way from home and put regular diesel in the Rabbit. It ran terrible, but got me home. I found that you had to adjust your fuel settings differently when using the two different fuels. Well, I bought a book which explained that adding 10% alcohol to the mixture would make biodiesel run at the same mixture settings as diesel. I never had anymore problems switching between the two fuels.

    The smell – There really is no smell if the vegetable oil is properly scrubbed or washed during the refining process. When vehicles burning biodiesel give off a nasty smell, the operators need to get their fuel somewhere else or the person refining it needs a little education in a proper refining process.

    Cold weather gelling – We can get very cold winters here in central Colorado, but I never got stranded do to fuel gel. I knew in advance that vegetable oil start to gel right around 32 degrees F. The alcohol in biodiesel drops this a little too. During the winter, I used to fill to ¼ tank with winterized diesel then fill the last ¾ with biodiesel and never got stranded. If it gets to subzero temps you may want to consider a half and half or higher mixture or even running straight diesel. I never had to do this though.

    Well, 6 months ago the Rabbit died with 320,000 miles on it and my new car burns gasoline so I haven’t made biodiesel since then. When I get the new truck I want, I will be making it again.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    An editor at is looking to speak with a woman running bio-diesel in her car. Please email [email protected] no later than Friday, Sept 2, 2005
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Member Posts: 144
    My boyfriend is thinking about selling me his Saturn wagon (which I'd love) and buying a used diesel truck to run biodiesel in. He's very interested in biodiesel for the environmental and cost benefits. He'd also like to get a truck because he's doing some major home renovation and really needs one.

    He'd only have about $7-8000 for a used truck. Can anyone recommend a decent diesel truck in that price range? It's my understanding that any diesel can run biodiesel, right?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    If you were asked to suggest the next class of Mercedes vehicles, you may as well bet on `BD', for bio-diesel. DaimlerChrysler India (DCIL) is so charged up on the idea that in August it took two C class vehicles - Mercedes Benz and Viano, the Mercedes van - topped them up with biodiesel from the jatropha plant for a 1,920-km drive from Chandigarh to Leh. In the project with DCIL are the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute and the University of Hohenheim.

    Bio-diesel has been accepted as clean alternative fuel by US and its production presently is about 100 million Gallons. Each state has passed specific bills to promote the use of Bio-diesel by reduction of taxes. Sunflower, rapeseed etc is the raw material used in Europe whereas soyabean is used in USA. Thailand uses palm oil, Ireland uses frying oil and animal fats. Due to its favorable properties, Bio-diesel can be used as fuel for diesel engines (as either, B5-a blend of 5% Bio-diesel in petro-diesel fuel) or B20 or B100). USA uses B 20 and B100 Bio-diesel, France uses B5 as mandatory in all diesel fuel. It can also be used as an additive to reduce the overall sulfur content of blend and to compensate for lubricity loss due to sulfur removal from diesel fuel.
  • sinepmansinepman Member Posts: 137
    Do you think that if it went mainstream and people adapted there would be enough to go around? Imagine? Growing vegetables and converting it into fuel? Novel idea, but can it be done? I'd support it!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The big question is can it be done without subsidies. In Hawaii biodiesel is now less than #2 petrol diesel. It is limited in the islands by the amount of waste oil and grease that is collected. In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum. Kind of a tough call. I do know in CA the biodiesel producers are not keeping up with the demand. Many high profile entertainers are getting on the biodiesel bandwagon.
  • sinepmansinepman Member Posts: 137
    I wonder if there is a net gain in energy from the production of bio diesel. As much as the ideal sounds wonderful, I can't see it going mainstream. With Rita showing her skirt in the open waters of the Gulf we can only pray it does not harm our infrastructure any further. We definitely need alternatives and I'm glad bio diesel has a chance.
  • drewbadrewba Member Posts: 154
    In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum.

    When you account for our military costs in the Middle East, I think we are subsidizing petroleum at a monetary cost far greater than a dollar per gallon.
  • fenris2fenris2 Member Posts: 31
    Hmm, I am considering doing the same to test the waters. Wife says buying a new 30k vehical to test BD is in no way smart, and she's right. :P

    You may want to check Dodge Rams, careful as I beleive there are a few years where it is not recomended (possibly due to fuel pump type). But, go to or the biodiesel list they have linked from there and ask. Annecdotally, from what I have read the two biggies are auto transmissions on dodge (get manual) and something with the housing/mounting of the turbo that can rust out an mislead people into thinking the whole turbo is bad. I seem to remember someone saying 94-95 was a good year for BD use and should be in that price range if well maintained

    Ford 7.3s also seem to do well.

    But, I am probably steering clear of newer duramax and newer powestrokes just from the stories I have heard - nothing to do with BD, but just general reliability issues
  • fenris2fenris2 Member Posts: 31
    Hmmm, best add that al lthese are the superduty variety of full sized pickup truck (dodge ram 2500, ford f-250). Although afaik ford also made the excursion SUV along with the 7.3 diesel and it was geared better for milage, but worse for towing vs. the PUs
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I work with a fellow that lives in So Dakota. He has used B20 in his Ford 6.0 PowerStroke since new two years ago. He says it does fine year round. He buys fuel at the co-op and B20 is consistently less expensive than unleaded regular gas.
  • mitch9mitch9 Member Posts: 3
    I just purchased a 2005 Mercedes E320 CDI. I live near a biodiesel retailer that sells "B100". I have checked around and verified that they sell "high quality" biodiesel fuel that meets ASTM standards. Does anyone have experience running this car on biodiesel? Is there any retrofitting I would need to do? I've read conflicting things. Any help, especially from someone with experience, would be greatly appreciated.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Willie runs B100 in his E320 CDI. There is confusion concerning warranty. Mercedes would have to prove that the biodiesel caused a failure to refuse warranty work. Let us know how it runs on biodiesel.
  • mitch9mitch9 Member Posts: 3
    I infer from Willie's website that he hasn't modified his car, and all else I've read suggests only to keep an eye on the hoses and fuel pump seals containing "elastomer compounds incompatible with biodiesel." Since I'm not experienced in under-the-hood matters, am I safe to assume that this would be something any good car mechanic can do? It would be great to hear from anyone else doing this. I'll let you know how it goes for me.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    If you go to

    today (2005/10/29), you will see lots of news about bio-diesel.
    USA, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, etc are constructing bio-diesel plants.

    It seems that BD has 1 unit input & 3 unit output ratio. Thats better than Ethanols 1 : 1.5 input : output ratio.
    Anything edible can be converted into Bio-diesel.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Biodiesel is also much safer to handle and transport. I think it is a good alternative as soon as we get a few more diesel cars on the market here in the USA.
  • bhill2bhill2 Member Posts: 2,387
    I don't think we need to wait for more diesel cars. Just about every big rig burns diesel and can use biodiesel. It can simply be added to the existing petro-diesel. We can gear up biodiesel production as quickly as we want and will be able to use all of the output immediately.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    Since you are familiar with the product I have an interesting question for you. Why aren't big trucking companies embracing bio-diesel to cut down on their costs? Wouldn't it be a no-brainer? I think it's a fantastic idea. I also think that the economy would support an infrastructure that made bio-diesel easily accessible. I'd be interested to know if it can also work in home heating applications as well.

    Lastly, I hope that by 2007 we start to see some Asian diesels in the market place.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Willie is selling to truck stops all over the country. San Diego is coming on line with 5 stations by the end of the year. Most plants are producing at maximum capacity.
  • aefaef Member Posts: 2
    Hello one and all: I currently use biodiesel purchased from a commercial pump. i appreciate the consistent and standards and am quite happy using biodiesel. I have had no problems. I drive a 1981 300-D. I find that for my work I need a car with more pick up so am looking into the ford escape hybrid, which may suit my professional needs.
    My two cents -
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    Did you have to modify the fuel lines?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Brendle, 64, heats his house and his greenhouses and soon will power his Benz with an unusual, cheap fuel source: used french-fry oil.
    “I just really enjoy the fact that stuff doesn’t get wasted,” he says.

    OK, that and the fact that he is heating his Green Meadow Farm for the bargain price of about 30 cents a gallon.
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    Great article. One man's quest to heat his home and greenhouse with french fry oil. He did have to spend 10grand for modifications. This would NOT work for the masses. Though biodiesel is interesting, can you imagine if every house wanted to run this type of fuel. NOT ENOUGH.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    One man's cholesterol is another man's fuel. You are right that it is limited. More people will want to jump on that bandwagon with the oil price hikes.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Biodiesel Production Soars 2005 production expected to triple last year’s figures JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John Plaza can’t seem to make biodiesel fast enough. The president and founder of Seattle Biodiesel says the plant is producing biodiesel at full capacity – and his customers snap it up as soon as it is made. Located in downtown Seattle, Plaza’s experience with his 5 million gallon per year plant illustrates the national picture. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) anticipates 75 million gallons of biodiesel production in 2005. That’s three times the 25 million gallons produced just one year earlier. A federal tax incentive, state legislation and a diesel shortage all contribute to the rise in demand. But Plaza says he thinks Americans are finally waking up to alternative fuels. “A lot of Americans like the patriotic aspect of biodiesel,” he said. “The environmental benefits add value, but creating a stronger America through energy security is many people’s true motivation – including my own.” Plaza left a career as a commercial airline pilot to pursue his interest in alternative energy. “I was flying a 747 from Anchorage to Tokyo, and I started thinking about how much fuel that flight used,” he said. “I figured out that in one 6 ½ hour flight, we used enough fuel to power my personal vehicle for 42 years. I had to make a change.” The biodiesel industry will meet growing demand with increased production. There are currently 45 active biodiesel plants. The average size is about 6.5 million gallons per year, but some larger plants in the 30 million gallon range have also opened. In all, 45 plants produce biodiesel, with another 54 planned.
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    What is the avg price for bio-diesel in your area? Is it cleaner than ULSD??
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The only biodiesel I can find in San Diego is B20 for about the same price as ULSD. It is better for CO2 and has No sulfur. NOx is similar or slightly higher. Urea filters will eliminate the NOx. I filled my Passat Monday with ARCO ulsd and paid $2.899. Willie Nelson biodiesel is slated to be in 5 stations by the end of the year. After 6200 miles the overall average is a bit over 29 MPG calculated. That is mostly very short trips shopping the last 3500 miles. Trips to LA are high 30s.
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    Unfortunately there are no bio diesel stations here because there is no demand yet in NY (CARB wannabee state).We probably have the fithiest diesel around. My best friend who has his Merc 300D (mid 80's with 140k) says his car still runs fine, but it does create soot on hard acceleration. You actually have convinced me to look at a Jetta diesel. Truthfully I am frightened at the prospect of a high maint car. I am going to take a test drive and see if it has improved over the one I tried four years ago. Way too much NVH at idle. I'm open minded, so I'll keep you all posted.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    "Bartzat said that unlike vehicles designed to run on compressed natural gas, diesel-burning vehicles can relatively, easily and cheaply be converted to biodiesel, which tends to run 20 to 30 cents more expensive by the gallon.

    Proponents of biodiesel argue that these ongoing costs are offset by benefits such as a 20-percent reduction in pollution, slightly improved gas mileage, and less wear on the vehicle through its lubricating properties. Diesel-burning vehicles can also be easily and cheaply converted to biodiesel and can, therefore, be a viable option for fleets that are not seeking to replace their vehicles."
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Take two VW Jetta cars one that uses gas the other B20 biodiesel and make a comparison. In 15K miles you will use 600 gallons of fosssil fuel gasoline. With the VW TDI burning B20 for the same 15K miles you will only use 315 gallons of fossil fuel diesel. Which is better for America? If we all switched to B20 fueled cars vs gasoline fueled cars we could cut our fossil fuel usage nearly in half. And we would not half to scramble to find more expensive batteries or fuel cells.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    In most situations, there are both pros and cons of an action.

    At least one "con" in the action you mentioned is that diesel fuel, even B20, puts out a lot of dirty emissions, especially soot, and until the advanced particulare filters are installed on every modern diesel vehicle, that is still a major health problem.

    Lowering fossil fuel usage is an important goal, but so is public health.
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    I'll take my chances with a hybrid before I ever bought another VW product.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Worldwide Bio-Diesel usage is growing at a rapid speed. Probably faster than Hybrid Vehicles.
    Malaysia is going to do a big conversion to B5. Brazil is also moving in.

    Unless Toyota, Honda, Ford sells Hybrids without those extras, Bio-diesel vehicles may grab a big market share.
  • falcononefalconone Member Posts: 1,726
    How can they grab market share in the US. CARB states are increasing. NJ and OR are now (or will be soon) part of CARB. No manufacturers will bring these to market unless they can sell them in all 50 states. I keep reading that this will be by this summer. How about just a plain old diesel from Honda or Toyota. Right now we have unreliable VWs and unreliable overpriced Mercedes. Am I biased?? No. I own a Mercedes and HAVE owned Audis and VWs. Great build quality, but very very expensive to maintain.
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