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  #1  
Old 10-22-2005, 11:02 AM
Biodiesel300TD's Avatar
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For and against Biodiesel.

I am just curious to hear peoples reasons in support of biodiesel, and against biodiesel. Here are my thoughts and thoughts I have gotten from other people. There aren't in any particular order.

For-
1. Better lubrication of the engine thus extending the engines life.
2. Cleaner burning. Decrease in overall emissions.
3. Safer for transporting and storing, due to a much higher flash point than petro, and is not considered a hazardous material like diesel.
4. It can be used in any diesel engine, ie, boats, planes, trucks, etc.
5. It can be used in place of heating oil.
6. Reduces the dependancy on foreign oil.
7. Supports US farmers.
8. Degrades much quick if spilled in the ocean, and isn't harmful to fish to begin with.
9. The tail pipe smell way better.
10. Makes the engine quieter.
11. No real modification needed to run BD, just filter changes and fuel lines.

Against-
1. Methanol is used most widely in BD production, so it isn't fossil fuel free.
2. Famers used diesel in their equipment for growing BD source crops.
3. Cold weather problems
4. We can't currently produce enough BD for all the diesel users.
5. It is currently un-affordable for everyone for the heavy haulers to switch to BD. Although this is becoming a mute point.
6. We are just shifting resource problems from one area to another, ie, water, fertilizer, etc.
7. Diesel are noisey, yes I like my clackity clackity. But if everyone owned a diesel there would be a lot more noise pollution.

As I BD user I feel the arguments for outwieght the arguments againt. Just my to cents. If you feel any of my arguments are wrong please correct them, I want to make sure I have my facts straight.
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Last edited by Biodiesel300TD; 10-22-2005 at 11:11 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2005, 11:47 AM
Palangi's Avatar
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I have mixed feelings about it. In general, and on principal, I support the idea of alternative fuel.

There seems to be big problems in actually getting this to work in real life. If you follow the discussions on this forum and others, you will see that there are a small number of people who run alternative fuels on a daily basis with reasonably good success. The guys who are successful seem to be using relatively simple processing systems and little or no modifications to the vehicles. (Also, I can't help but notice that the ones who are sucessful are not the ones who make the most noise about it). I commend guys like Randy Leo and Old 300D.

On the other hand, you can read post after post from guys who just simply jump into it with all 4 feet, immediately butcher the car, and then can't make it work. There is another one on here like that just this morning from (where else) California.

Then, typically, a bunch of fellow enthusiasts will jump in and start giving all kinds of free advice. Unfortunately, a lot of the free advice comes from fellow alternative fuel enthusiasts who also don't seem to know their a$$ from a hot rock, so quite often, the damage is compounded. The car is killed off, and the poster is never heard from again.

While I admire the enthusiasm of these folks, as a practical matter, most of them do not succeed. The alternative fuel community needs to take a breather and get a grasp of why that happens so often, and figure out how to turn it around, otherwise, biodiesel (at least the homebrew variety) has a very limited future.

Now, where did I put my flame suit?
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2005, 12:42 PM
ncof300d
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Biodiesel300TD,
Regarding your against list I would like to submit the following:

1. Your statement regarding methanol is accurate, however, ethanol from corn can be used. Most of what I have read claims that methanol processes better than ethanol. I will be interesting to see how the future of this developes.
2. Yes we are using crops, but look at how much fuel we use. Not only do we need to find and use alternatives, we me to REDUCE our consumption. This nation needs to change it ways. Another point is that in this country the vast majority of the oil for biodiesel is from soy beans. We need to grow canola (rape seed) as it has a yield per acre of oil greater than 2x that of soy beans.

3. Cold weather.....hey we went to the moon...if we really put our minds to it we can probably make biodiesel better for winter and gas.

4. In some respects I believe that this is a good problem to have at this time. It shows interest and that some people are thinking differently.

5. I believe that all energy down the road is going to become a premium cost. We have slid by for many years in this country, but I believe that the tide is turning.

6. Not sure. B100 sure does not pollute much.

7. that is subjective. I here many of these little Civics which these huge tail pipes that kids tool round in and they produce more noise than my 1985 300D. I think that my 1995 V6 S-10 is louder than my 1999 E300.

For the most part the future is what we chose to make of it. People can set around and whine about problems or people can get up and do something about it. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy resources and usage we seem to have become a nation that 'calls the fire department after the house has burnt to the ground' rather that think and plan ahead. All of the alternatives cost usually money and personal sacrifices in priorities and changes in daily life. You can either grow with these changes or complain about what you do not have.

(I now step down from the soap box.)
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2005, 03:23 PM
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The only real downside is the temperature issue. To keep running in the cold, I still have to blend with petroleum (kerosene).
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2005, 05:34 PM
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To me it's very simple. Here you have a low emissions, renewable fuel which fits beautifully with existing vehicle design and retail fueling infrastructure. Also it can be made such that it is an entirely domestic product. That really ought to be enough for anybody to at least take a serious look into it. Now when I say that I shoudl also mention that 7 or 8 months ago I had no idea about BD. As soon as I learned about the potential for running diesels on renewable fuels I set about shopping for one. I got my diesel about two months ago.

This idea that there isn't enough farmland to power every car on the road today is the kind of thing that may be true but is also very shortsighted IMHO. First of all we get a little over half of our oil from foreign sources. If all you could do is cut that amount in half you shoudl be looking at it. Plus, think about hte way an industry develops..... some people get into ti, then some institutions get into it, it grows, and at a certain point becomes a substantial industry. At that point (when there starts to be enough of a market that there is a lot of money to be made) people begin to really innovate. Then you see gains in economic efficiency and performance you would not have imagined before. People are already talking about getting the base oil from algae much more efficiently than you can from, say, soybeans. It doesn't take very many leaps forward like that before it becomes cheap and abundant in addition to the other things it already has going for it.

So to me the real beauty of it is that you and I can do it NOW, and let the improvements come incrementally over years and decades as it becomes more widely adopted. This is the thing that hydrogen has going against it... carmakers will have to invest SO MUCH in development before they can be sure it's going to be a worthwhile deal, and the investment required in refueling infrastructure, etc... fughetabautit.

Just my $0.02 ...
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2005, 06:44 PM
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Arguments against Bio-D:

1. Higher price.
2. Uneven quality.
3. Availability (50 miles for me).
4. If using 55-gallon drum, can't compute fuel mileage.
5. Will clog filters first several tanks.
6. Less power (BTUs) ---> less economy.
7. Bio-D buffs are a cult.

Bottom line: Bio-D doesn't pencil out.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2005, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana B.
Arguments against Bio-D:

1. Higher price.

Bottom line: Bio-D doesn't pencil out.
Here in Texas, Biodiesel is less expensive than petrodiesel. Check out www.houstonbiodiesel.com

B99 is $2.85/gal. Dino is $3.19 at my local station.

Inconvenience, rather than price, is the drawback.............
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2005, 06:56 PM
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If it weren't for the current Federal Subsidy

Biodiesel would be a dollar more. IOW about $3.85 per gallon.
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2005, 07:09 PM
Craig
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In my opinion, the biggest current problem with bio-diesel is that is is not commercially available in most places. I travel quite a bit, so it doesn't do me much good unless I can find it when I get off the interstate in the middle of no-place to fill up. I don't see myself doing VWO at home, and I have no intention of hacking up my car to accommodate it. If/when it becomes readily available at Bubba's Truck Stop in the middle of Kansas, I'll be glad to give it a try. Until then, it looks like I'm using petro-diesel.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2005, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutefahrt
[If it weren't for the current Federal subsidy]....Biodiesel would be a dollar more. IOW about $3.85 per gallon.
Ummmmm, no.

B100 (no subsidy) is $3.40 for a difference of $0.55
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2005, 08:13 PM
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Apparently biodiesel is widely available in Europe at many commercial filling stations. People have been driving with biodiesel in Europe for quite a few years. It's old news there.

I'd say an argument against home-made biodiesel is the use of methanol and lye, both of which are pretty nasty.

--steve
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2005, 08:33 PM
84 240D Euro 5sp
 
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BD Potential

Mike Brown (mikebrownsolutions.com) has been writing about alternative energy for a few decades now .... he played with the numbers and thinks there is enough unused or underutilised farmland in the US to raise the raw materials for alcohol (an easy conversion for gas engines) and veg oil (BD or straight) to run all our engines -- within 3 years. BD300TD reminds us that farmers use diesel -- but those engines could also burn WVO or BD. I agree with Charlie M -- we might not get all the way to self-sufficiency -- but we could try. Substituting grown fuel for 50% of the road fuel and home heating oil currently consumed in this country would make an immense change in foreign policy, lop off a lot of the payments currently going overseas, & create a lot of jobs here. What's not to like (unless your name is Exxon or Mobile)?
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  #13  
Old 10-22-2005, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebee
...
I'd say an argument against home-made biodiesel is the use of methanol and lye, both of which are pretty nasty.

--steve
Ever use a fondue set or such like at home? Methanol or denatured alcohol (ethanol with a 5% methanol additive so you don't drink it).Methanol is also known as :carbinol, colonial spirit, columbian spirit, methylol, methyl hydrate, wood alcohol, wood naphtha, wood spirit, methyl hydroxide, pyroxylic spirit, RCRA waste number U154, meths. Methyl Hydrate is common.

Windshield wiper fluid ? Methanol/methyl hydrate, according to a university chemistry professor I spoke to about it.

Lye= drain cleaner. Drano is 55% lye, while Red Devil was 100% sodium hydroxide until just lately.

Sure, if you drink methanol or lye it will not be a pleasant experience and using these chemiclas does require some safety concerns to be addresed, but the same is true outside of homebrewing biodiesel with them too.
Oven cleaner is considerable more toxic and yet thousands of households have it undr the sink or on an easily accessible shelf. The average home contains all kinds of hazzardous and potentially unhealthy substances that all require safety practices to be observed,so unless you can't read anddon't follow instruction very well you will not have any problems with homebrewing biodiesel.
All of the environmental issues are true, and it is win win. Why is commercial biodiesel so expensive, other than the obvious transport and labour costs ? They use virgin oil which is NOT viable energy wise, or barely. Homebrewers use used cooking oil (WVO) by and large and this IS viable energy wise returning almost 9 times the energy taken to produce it. Renewable and sustainable if done respectfully, yet insufficient as a sole alternative energy source to replace petroleum fuels. Ethanol needs to be encouraged and explored more, as are biomass natural gas productions .All those cattle farmers are sitting [literally] on a mountain of fuel that could heat their homes and barns and power their gas cars with just slight modifications just like they are doing now with propane. There just simply is not the political will to do this and Big Oil lobbies do not see it as being in their interests to promote alternative fuels until they can find a way to either outlaw private production or elsewise control the productions as they do now with petroleum products.
The problem isn't alternative energies, the problem is all those monkey wrenches being thrown into the spokes of the machine.
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2005, 09:18 PM
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Location: Norwich, VT USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana B.
Arguments against Bio-D:

1. Higher price.
2. Uneven quality.
3. Availability (50 miles for me).
4. If using 55-gallon drum, can't compute fuel mileage.
5. Will clog filters first several tanks.
6. Less power (BTUs) ---> less economy.
7. Bio-D buffs are a cult.

Bottom line: Bio-D doesn't pencil out.

I have a different pencil than yours
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2005, 09:22 PM
Biodiesel300TD's Avatar
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BD is not the perfect answer by any means. We can make a huge dent in the diesel consumption, and clean up diesel emssions with BD. Even if every diesel ran B20 we can decrease emssions quite a bit and reduce our need for dino by 20%.

As far as availability goes, BD's becoming much more easier to get. When I started paying attention to BD in Oregon about a year ago. There were three places in the state that you could get it, Portland, Eugene, and Medford. Now there are 12 stations in western Oregon. The price about a year ago was around $4/gal. Now it is $3.30/gal.

Homebrew is a whole different ball game. If someone screws up their engine because they put bad fuel in, thats their own fault and thats the chance you take if you are making your own.
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