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This info is from a FAQ from Canadian Bioenergy. Here you go!


- Can I use biodiesel in my existing diesel engine?

Biodiesel can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system. Biodiesel has a solvent effect which may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel storage. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken. Ensure that only fuel meeting the biodiesel specification is used. top

- Is biodiesel safer than petroleum diesel?

Scientific research confirms that biodiesel exhaust has a less harmful impact on human health than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel emissions have decreased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrited PAH compounds which have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. In recent testing, PAH compounds were reduced by 75 to 85 percent, with the exception of benzo(a)anthracene, which was reduced by roughly 50 percent. Targeted nPAH compounds were also reduced dramatically with biodiesel fuel, with 2- nitrofluorene and 1-nitropyrene reduced by 90 percent, and the rest of the nPAH compounds reduced to only trace levels. Tests sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture confirm that biodiesel is less toxic than petroleum diesel and biodegrades as fast as dextrose (a test sugar). In addition, biodiesel has a flash point of over 125?'?C which makes it safer to store and handle than petroleum diesel fuel. top

- Do I need special storage facilities?

In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment. Acceptable storage tank materials include aluminium, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene and Teflon. Copper, brass, lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided. top

- Where is biodiesel being used today as a fuel lubricity additive?

In Canada, biodiesel use is limited. Six fleets in the lower mainland of BC and Whistler, BC, are piloting biodiesel to test the feasibility of municipal fleet rollout. Fleet pilot projects are also in place in Toronto (BC Hydro), Montreal (STM), and Saskatoon. It is in municipal use in Brampton, and may be under consideration in other municipalities. Demonstration projects are in use in urban and rural cooperatives, and a program at UBC converts campus restaurants'waste oils for use in university landscaping machinery.

The largest user of biodiesel in the world is France. They add up to 5% of biodiesel to all low sulphur diesel sold in the country. (Sulphur adds lubricity to petrodiesel; low-sulphur diesel requires a lubricity additive.) In the United States, among the first to switch to biodiesel were centrally fueled fleets such as urban buses. It is now being used in transit bus fleets, heavy-duty truck fleets, airport shuttles, ferries and other vessels, freight haulers, railways, national park fleets, military and mining operations, as well as other municipal, state and federal fleets. The EPA's May, 2000 regulation reduces sulphur content in highway diesel fuel over 95% from its current level of 500 ppm. Biodiesel has no sulphur or aromatics and tests have documented it's ability to increase fuel lubricity significantly when blended with petroleum diesel fuel-even at very low levels. The currently proposed ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel regulations, designed to help protect human health, will require the addition of a lubricity additive. Biodiesel could be included as a low level blending component in diesel fuel as a means to improve fuel lubricity. top

- How much biodiesel would need to be added to provide sufficient fuel lubricity in diesel fuel?

Testing in Canada and elsewhere has confirmed that biodiesel can provide sufficient levels of fuel lubricity, even at blend levels below 1%, in current on-road diesel fuel. Testing is underway to determine specific blend levels that would be required in ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel (15 ppm).

Biodiesel enjoys the support of the Fuel Injection Equipment industry as an option to solve the lubricity problem with petrodiesel. Stanadyne Automotive Corp., the leading independent US manufacturer of diesel fuel injection equipment, supports the inclusion of low levels of biodiesel in diesel fuel for two reasons. First, it would eliminate the inherent variability associated with the use of other additives and whether sufficient additive was used to make the fuel fully lubricious. Second, Stanadyne considers biodiesel a fuel or a fuel component not an additive. It is possible to burn pure biodiesel in conventional diesel engines. Thus, if more biodiesel is added than required to increase lubricity, there will not be the adverse consequences that might be seen if other lubricity additives are dosed at too high a level.top


- Does biodiesel cost more than other alternative fuels?

When reviewing the high costs associated with other alternative fuel systems, many fleet managers believe biodiesel is their least-cost-per-kilometre option. Use of biodiesel does not require major engine modifications. That means operators keep their fleets, their spare parts inventories, their refuelling stations and their skilled mechanics. The only thing that changes is air quality top.

- What is the cost of biodiesel compared to other petroleum based lubricity additives?

Economically, these products are the same or less expensive than biodiesel. Petroleum based additives, however, do not have the same conservation, energy security, environmental, and economic benefits. top

- Which blend is best?

Depending on the application, climate and season the blend of biodiesel can be from 2% up to 100%. In Europe (especially France), where low sulphur diesel has been in-place for many years, biodiesel is added to provide the lubrication that was lost with the removal of the sulphur. In environmentally sensitive areas (marine, alpine) and in mines where the maximum environmental benefit is required, 100% biodiesel is often used. In the US, where biodiesel is in use in bus fleets, 20% biodiesel is mostly used - to address the best current balance of emissions, cost and availability. top

- How much does biodiesel cost?

Currently, low level blends of biodiesel (B5) are at par with conventional diesel top


- What is the industry doing to ensure biodiesel quality?

In December of 2001, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved the full standard for biodiesel, with the new designation of D-6751 (succeeds PS 121-99). This standard covers pure biodiesel (B100), for blending with petrodiesel in levels up to 20% by volume. Higher levels of biodiesel are allowed on a case-by-case basis after discussion with the individual engine company, since most of the experience in the US thus far has been with B20 blends. ASTM is the premier standard-setting organization for fuels and additives in the U.S. The EPA has adopted the ASTM standard and state divisions of weights and measures currently are considering its adoption. This development was crucial in standardizing fuel quality for biodiesel in the U.S. market. top

- Has biodiesel been thoroughly tested?

Biodiesel has been extensively tested by government agencies, university researchers and private industry in the United States, Canada and Europe. Many transit authorities within the US have conducted tests as well. More than 100 biodiesel demonstrations, including three one-million-mile tests and more than thirty 50,000-mile tests, have logged more than 10 million road miles with biodiesel blends on US roads.

In these tests, performance, fuel mileage and drivability with biodiesel blends were similar to conventional diesel, but opacity levels were reduced and exhaust odour was less offensive. No adverse durability or engine wear problems were noted.

The biodiesel industry also has commissioned more than 40 independent studies to research benefits ranging from improved lubricity to biodegradability. top

- Who blends the fuel, and how is it done?

Diesel users can have their suppliers obtain biodiesel and simply blend it before delivery. Or they can have biodiesel delivered directly and mix it themselves. It blends easily, stays mixed and requires no special handling. top

- Are there any warranty implications associated with the use of biodiesel as a low level blending component in diesel fuel?

Manufacturer warranties cover defects in material and workmanship, and those warranties extend to engines burning biodiesel. These warranties do not cover engine problems related to fuel of any kind. Tests and demonstrations, however, have shown that biodiesel is no different from petroleum diesel in terms of engine performance and wear. top

- Is it approved for use?

Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA. There is currently no Canadian standard. Biodiesel is recognized by US Federal, State and Industry as a valid alternative fuel. top


- Can biodiesel help mitigate global warming?

A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO2 emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel.s closed carbon cycle. The CO2. released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants the following season, which are later processed into fuel. top

- Is biodiesel exhaust less harmful than petroleum based diesel exhaust?

Biodiesel is safer for people to breathe. Research conducted in the United States showed biodiesel emissions have significantly decreased levels of all target polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrited PAH compounds, as compared to petroleum diesel exhaust. PAH and nPAH compounds have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. Results of the subchronic inhalation testing showed no toxic results from biodiesel exhaust emissions even at the highest concentrations physically possible to achieve. These results conclusively demonstrate biodiesel's health and environmental benefits as a nontoxic, renewable fuel. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine also results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. In addition, the exhaust emissions of sulphur oxides and sulphates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to diesel. Of the major exhaust pollutants, both unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are ozone or smog forming precursors. The use of biodiesel results in a substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are either slightly reduced or slightly increased depending on the duty cycle of the engine and testing methods used. Based on engine testing, using the most stringent emissions testing protocols required by EPA for certification of fuels or fuel additives in the US, the overall ozone forming potential of the speciated hydrocarbon emissions from biodiesel was nearly 50 percent less than that measured for diesel fuel. top

- Will burning biodiesel put more or less CO2 into the atmosphere?

A US study has found that biodiesel production and use, in comparison to petroleum diesel, produces 78.5% less CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide is ?taken up? by the annual production of crops such as soybeans and then released when vegetable oil based biodiesel is combusted. top

- Does biodiesel increase nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions?

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions from biodiesel increase or decrease depending on the engine family and testing procedures. NOx emissions (a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog and ozone) from pure (100%) biodiesel are increased by about13% according to the EPA in its comprehensive 2002 report on biodiesel emissions. However, biodiesel's lack of sulfur allows the use of NOx control technologies that cannot be used with conventional diesel. There are reliable, proven methods for baselining or even reducing NOx produced when using biodiesel A slight retard of injection timing or use of oxidation catalysts will achieve this. So, biodiesel NOx emissions can be effectively managed and efficiently eliminated as a concern of the fuel's use. top

- Who else can benefit from biodiesel?

The reduction of our dependence of a 100% imported fuel and the introduction of a renewable technology benefits the entire country. The range of benefits include:

* Growth in rural economies.

* Reduced dependence on imported fuel.

* Increased employment by adding value to agricultural commodities.

* Massive reduction in greenhouse emissions.

* Reduction of sulphur dioxide, one of the main causes of acid rain.

* Reduction of other cancer causing emissions such as benzene.

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Thanks for the info KevO. Its kind of intimidating but I guess I have to read this stuff if I'm even considering it.

How about used vegetable oil?

Anyone ever done that?

There's this incredible site: http://greasecar.com/

They sell kits for converting an engine (these ones do need to be converted) for around $700 bucks. You type in the car you have and it lists everything you need.

I dont own a diesel car, that would be part 1 of the project I guess.

Can you drive normal speeds in a biodiesal or veg oil car?

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Realistically speaking (and it was your question I think) if you haven't changed a tire, I would say converting a cars fuel system yourself is likely a tad on the ambitious side.

Agreed. Although I get the feeling you're being polite here... ;)

Seriously though, have you done this before Hux? Do you know anything about it?

Thanks Ollie. I guess Randy's my guy! I'll check out his site.

Update: Not so impressive, barcodes site. It includes a whole two sentences and three teeny pics from September. Shows potential though. Time for an update barcode!

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Update: Not so impressive, barcodes site. It includes a whole two sentences and three teeny pics from September. Shows potential though. Time for an update barcode!

Yeah, like I said. In his defence he decided to move house in the middle of the project so he probably won't be up and running again until some time next spring, as a guess. Still a great person to contact as he's done lots of research and loves to share.

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Info from Randy:

I've setup a website to track my progress, which is currently on hold because we just moved into a new place and I had to tear all of my old setup down to relocate. I'm hoping to get started again right after Christmas though because I've currently got a 160KM round-trip commute for work, which is sucking up the diesel pretty quickly.

Anyway, here are links to my website and flickr pages:


Link to Flickr set

my car is a 92 jetta turbo diesel with about 322,000KMs on it, so she's old, but still running very smoothly.

i was planning on either buying the frybrid.com or greasecar.com kit to convert the car. i was leaning toward the frybrid kit because it seems quite a bit better, but it's double the price of the greasecar kit and so far, they've been impossible to get a hold of.

as far as pricing goes, i've spent about $150 or so to build my home oil filtering station (minus the barrels that my dad gave me) and the frybrid kit is $1700 US, and the greasecar kit is $800 US.

this guy Tony that works at Yonge Street garage in Ottawa has done a few greasecar kit installs and they've all gone good, but i've been hearing that the kit doesn't heat the oil consistently enough for our cold winters ;) which is one of the reasons i'm looking at the frybrid kit, because the heating components seem a lot better and there are more of them.

the only other thing you've got to worry about is an oil source... try and get a good oil source first and foremost. asian restaurants tend to have the cleanest oil but not all of them are willing to give it away. try and find someone that uses canola oil and is willing to put it back into the cubies for you so that you don't have to go dumpster diving, which is probably illegal anyway.

ok, hope that helps for now, but like i said, i'm still settling into the new place so i'm hoping to start moving on things again after christmas.

keep in touch!



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Converting your engine will be a challenge but you can do it for sure! Yes you can use vegetable oil for biodiesel. However, making the actual fuel for your biodiesel engine is another story.. Not so easy or cheap. I may still know a guy in Wakefield who converts cars and also produces biodiesel. I can look into it for ya.

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from what Randy's shared in his research, it's not really all that difficult. The only conversion that I'm aware of is some form of heating system to help get the veggie oil to a proper consistency for burning in our colder climate.

The filtering system doesn't seem to be that big of a deal either. You just start with a diesel vehicle, and find one that other's would say is suitable for the project and then a source for free vegetable oil. I believe Randy is using the Works fryer grease.

He's also got a filter that is used in marine applications that separates water and grime from oil.

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