Diesel Engines / Diesel Fuel

Diesel Engines

German engineer Rudolf Diesel invented the first Diesel Engine in 1892 based on the hot bulb engine and for which he received a patent on February 23, 1893. Diesel intended the engine to use a variety of fuels including coal dust and peanut oil. He demonstrated it at the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) using peanut oil.

Diesel Fuel

After the Diesel Engine was invented, cheaply refined fossil fuel “oil” quickly became known as Diesel Fuel. I think was a horrible mistake. We should have embraced a fairly clean and  renewable resource like vegetable oil, instead of polluting our environment in the countless ways with petroleum fossil fuels. Some petroleum based products are a good thing, no doubt. However regardless of how “cheap” and “easy” it is to get crude oil, it would be cheaper and easier to filter the billions of tons of FREE used vegetable oil that gets thrown away by restaurants around the World every year.  In otherwords we have a fuel resource that has existed for decades on a mass scale, and has been ignored because of the stranglehold that Oil Companies have on our system.

This stranglehold by Oil Companies on global economies and politics has lead directly to military actions, police actions, wars, street violence, invasions, revolutions, and economic problems around the World. Our corporate quest for Oil has led the US to support Iraq’s war with Iran, which has cause grass-roots rebel terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and turned Iran against us. Our lust for Oil to run our engines also led to the invasion of Iraq, and its occupation in order to control the Oil Wells. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban were created in large part as a resistance against our desire to put Oil pipelines through their Homeland. Some who wanted our Oil Money were angered when we betrayed them by not supporting them against their neighbors, which also led to problems. Basically they want us to stop messing around with their land and lives.

Developing Diesel Engines to run better on used vegetable oil, is the best answer to problems that fossil fuel has caused. When Oil-Man President Bush admitted we are addicted to Oil, it is safe to say we have a problem.  We have to make decisions as individuals that directly address the problem, and stop waiting for it to fix itself, or someone else to fix it. We need to speak out, aid in better education, purchase alternative technologies, and publish works in support of these changes.

Biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources (such as vegetable oils), which can be used in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles. It is thus distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used as fuels in some diesel vehicles.

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4 Responses to “Diesel Engines / Diesel Fuel”

  1. I hope you don’t mind if I put in my two cents. I have some experience on this topic.

    I tried making biodiesel in my kitchen several times and was never successful, so instead I began running my pickup on SVO that I would get from local restaurants. I ran the truck on SVO for about 2 years before it got some electrical problem that I couldn’t fix and I traded it for 4 cords of wood.

    I should mention that the SVO was in one gas tank, but I had standard diesel fuel in the other. The veggie oil gels up easily and to keep it fluid in the fuel line and filter you need to heat it up. So I had a radiator in the SVO tank that I hooked up to my coolant system (very easy to do). Every time I started the truck I made sure I was running on standard diesel until the engine got to a certain temperature. Then I’d switch over to veggie oil. Also it’s not a good idea to leave it on veggie oil when you stop (because the SVO will solidify in the fuel lines and make the vehicle tough to start) so you switch it back to diesel a few minutes before you stop the engine. This means that it is great for long trips, (I drove to Ontario and back on 2 gallons of diesel fuel – the rest was veggie) but if your commute to work is 15 minutes or less, you’ll probably not be able to use veggie at all.

    Overall my experience was positive, but it wasn’t without its drawbacks. the good side is that I drove for a few years with a much smaller carbon footprint, and I didn’t have to pay for gas very often. Those are huge pluses and it was well worth the experience. The drawbacks are as follows: It’s a very messy process to filter all the oil and you wind up with these fabric filters that are essentially non-recyclable (I used what are called 5 micron “sock filters”). I also had trouble with clogging fuel filters and the SVO gelling in the fuel line at extremely cold temperatures (I live in upstate NY, and I couldn’t run the truck on SVO if it was much below zero degrees Fahrenheit).

    I think that for the project to have worked in a long-term sustainable way I would have needed a much more effective filtration process (the veggie oil has to be warm to pass through the filters and again this gave me trouble in the winter – I had to bring a 50 gallon drum filled with used fryer grease into my house and pump it into containers – very messy). I wound up using diesel as much as veggie oil because it was such a pain to filter the SVO and put it in the tank.

    You should also keep in mind that the engine that I was using was a 6.2 liter from the 80’s. My understanding is that modern injectors in diesel engines are much more narrow and under much higher pressure, so the difference in viscosity between diesel fuel and SVO really causes trouble with more modern engines. That’s just what I hear.

    Personally I’d like an electric car (although I don’t know much about what to do with the batteries when they have outlived their usefulness). I’d like to set up a little garage with a few solar collectors and park an electric vehicle in it.

    That’s my two cents. I’d love to hear about the experiences of others.

    • Thank you Schwabe, your story is worth several gypsy gifts or small toys. Seriously, well done not only experimenting but also documenting the process for us. SCOD is grateful and enriched by your contribution.

  2. Gina R Gant Says:

    i hope that nature is safer in the future!

  3. Only 2% of a medium sized farm’s acres are needed to provide it with 100% of its own biodiesel fuel. 400 acre farm needs 1000 gallons of fuel; 10 acres of sunflowers makes 1000 gallons of biodiesel. (US Dept. Agriculture & Revolution Green: Biodiesel film)

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