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René O'Deay

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Member Since: Oct, 2006

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Diesel RVs: To Biodiesel or Not To?
by René O'Deay   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, January 21, 2007
Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2007

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Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning alternative fuel produced from renewable resources such as recycled cooking oil and agricultural products like soybean, sunflower, rapeseed, etc., oil.

Autos, trucks, buses, generators and Motorhomes equipped with diesel engines can use biodiesel.

But why should you even think about it?

In its pure vegetable oil form, B100, can be used in diesel vehicles and engines with some modifications. Most vehicles use a biodiesel blend, a percentage of vegetable oil to petrodiesel, 20% oil, B20; 5% oil, B5. Most available is the B20 blend.

Even older diesel RVs can use B20 biodiesel without major alterations.

Autos, trucks, buses, generators and Motorhomes equipped with diesel engines can use biodiesel.

But why should you even think about it?

Reasons to use Biodiesel:

1. First of all, the diesel engine was originally invented to use pure vegetable oil, as early as 1895. The diesel was sent off in the direction of petroleum, instead, it was cheaper, available, after Mr. Diesel, the inventor-promoter, was assassinated.

2. Second, alternative energy sources need to be developed and, biodiesel is renewable, biodegradable, reduces pollutants, and it keeps money in the U.S.

3. Third, diesels are notoriously noisy, smelly, obnoxious. Using even 20 percent biodiesel, B20, reduces the smell, the black smoke, the noise, and increases lubrication of engines, increasing mileage and engine life and decreasing maintenance needs.

4. You can even make your own biodiesel, if you are so inclined. Umm, french fries.

So, if your rig smells like french fries while running, is quieter, and has no more black smoke belching out the exhaust, do you think your neighbors might like you better?

What if you got 2 or 3 more miles per gallon, interesting?

Environmently-friendly an added attraction? Less pollutants.

Who is Using Biodiesel

Many government agencies, more each year, have operated their fleets of diesel-powered vehicles using various blends of biodiesel, with often improved results, and very few appreciable differences in operations. The best results have been a decrease in noxious fumes and pollutants, including the notorious black smoke.

Even cross-country truckers in their big 18-wheel rigs are beginning to use biodiesel, and come back for more, attracted by the most famous promoter of biodiesel, Willie Nelson. The popular country singer uses B20 in his big tour buses for his concert tours, and in his diesel-powered Mercedes. Heavily involved in Farm Aid concerts, Nelson promotes biodiesel as a way to help farmers, reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce air pollutants and keep more of our dollars in the country.

Willie Nelson has invested in and promotes his own brand of biodiesel, BioWillie, and has truck stops and other stations supplying BioWillie, B20, in Texas, Georgia, and California. His website invites more fuel suppliers to join his enterprise, provides a lot of information about biodiesel, and useful references and links.

WNbiodiesel.com

www.wnbiodiesel.com

One of the comments from a user on Willie's site said: "Immediately the Biodiesel hit the engine, the truck ran quieter and the smell of the exhaust dropped dramatically. The most dramatic indication of the benefit of Biodiesel came when they revved the engine and the normal cloud of black smoke was no longer there."

A Cummins owner, posted on an RV forum: "... My RAM runs great and with better mileage on B20 BIO - I have too much rubber to do 100% pure." 99 RAM 2500 Cummins SRW TDI

Possible Problems

But there are warnings and a few possible problems that RV owners specifically can and will face.

Cold weather gelling of diesel and biodiesel fuels and deterioration of stored fuel over long periods of time are the two main problems. Both of those can be solved with proper care and fuel additives for specific problems.

Careful monitoring of fuel hoses, and filters, injector connectors, which can be reinforced with Teflon tape, is recommended, as biodiesel in its purer forms can cause rubber hoses and seals to deteriorate. Replacements of these can be made with suitable material to run higher grade biodiesel blends when available.

Some of the newer models are already outfitted with biodiesel resistant hoses and seals.

Major diesel manufacturers have approved use of biodiesel from 5 percent up to 30 percent, or B5 to B30. B2, B5 and B20 are the most commonly found blends in stations that carry Biodiesel. Many coops offer only B100 and sell to fleets or private buyers that mix their own blends.

Find Local Biodiesel Stations

More stations are beginning to supply biodiesel blends as more co-operative companies start-up in various parts of the country. More local co-ops also mean more local suppliers, which all helps keep price down. Like one in Fort Collins, Colorado: Blue Sun, just opened a gas station, and has several stations it supplies with B20, but is not on the following list link.

A good search under alternative fuel categories in your local Yellow Pages, perhaps farmers coops too, might yield better results than even the following WebPage with a list of biodiesel fueling sites across the nation. biodiesel.org

Plan Ahead

When you decide to run your diesel powered motor home, camper-truck, or tow vehicle with biodiesel, unless you bring an oil converter with you and learn how to make your own, it would be wise to consult the areas you intend to travel, look for biodiesel suppliers, make sure what you can purchase from them, and plan your trip and refueling stops accordingly.

As the demand for more biodiesel increases, more local producers and suppliers will come on line, and hopefully the price will begin to drop, if the crops and fuel are not trucked unnecessary miles. There are huge concentrations of biodiesel coops and suppliers in the MidWest states, like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas; the Northeast has quite a few, too.

Hopefully, more recyclers of used cooking oil in metropolitan areas will also begin to supply biodiesel demands in cities and towns. One report estimated that U. S. restaurants produce 300 million gallons a year of Waste Vegetable Oil, WVO, that either ends up in landfills or down the sewers.

That's a lot of potential fuel right in the city, conversion of which is not toxic nor very complicated, nor even very expensive. The most complicated part might be the logistics of collecting WVO, the used oils, by contacting local restaurants and institutions, etc., and the pickup and delivery of the WVO.

Some Amazing Biodiesel facts:

Biodiesel successfully used in gasoline engines! Though some have put it in their tanks, most have used it for lubrication, in autos and in motorcycles, generators and other engines. Works great!

Pure biodiesel used for laundry tough spots, heating, cooking and lighting fuels, campstoves and lanterns. (Reports from users on
Journeytoforever.org
)

References:

Online Links:

Journey to Forever : Biodiesel Library plus great resources for making your own fuels.
Journey to Forever

Blue Sun Biodiesel :
Blue Sun Biodiesel

Willie Nelson BioWillie : WNbiodiesel.com

Refueling Sites :
www.biodiesel.org


VegEnergy.com

http://www.vegenergy.com/

Books:

"From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank"
"Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy", by Greg Pahl, 2005

"Complete Idiots Guide to Saving the Environment"

"Natural Home Heating & Complete Guide to Renewable Energy"

Web Site: Rene ODeay Home Page



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