Alternative Fuels.. why do we not hear more about Bio-Diesel

khale

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With all the fuss about fuel prices lately? All I seem to hear about is Ethanol. It seems to me that now is a great time to get the word out about Bio, but I have not heard anything in the press.

Around where I live (Winston-Salem, NC) there is not any Bio-D pumps. When I did find some (in the Raleigh NC area) I was amazed at how well my 2004 TDI-PD ran on a B50 mix.

Just wondering.
 

4Gman

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I agree thoroughly! The media almost never mentions biodiesel.
But I think this will change soon since ULSD is thought to allow
more diesels into the US.
All it takes is some celebrity or politician to back it...and the lemmings will follow.


Anyone interested in collaborating to make a SHORT Documentary? :)




Edited for typo:) And edited AGAIN because I realized i hijacked the thread with my A.D.D. :(
 
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ThatRickGuy

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You hear about Ethanol because GM is in financial trouble. The Flex-fuel marketing gimmick is designed to spur new vehicle sales. So while hearing more about BD would be great, atleast those damn go Yellow commercials and the E85 hype are helping GM and could reduce green house gas emmisions.

BD is getting some headlines, but since the vast majority of US consumers drive gasoline cars and the EPA has all but killed the 2007 line up of light duty diesels, there's no real reason to spend money on marketing. Best at this point to continue sinking money into refineries and distribution. By 2008 there will be a bunch of new BD plants coming online, a variety of common rail light duty diesels to buy, and B20 at the pumps could be a very common sight, especially on truck routes.

-Rick

-Rick
 

Longsnowsm

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We are starting to hear more about biodiesel lately. Hopefully the good news will get lots of air time, and we will get to see more and more applications for bio that get positive coverage.

Now for the bad news... Politicians are getting involved! They are going to start mandating blends of bio. The news media is going to try to turn it into mass hysteria for a story... They will be showing some video of "Billy Big Rigger" spitting chewing tobaccy at the camera and complaining that bio hurt his fuel economy, plugged up his filters, an tore up his motor that has run just fine for the last 1 million miles without a rebuild...

And of course big oil clearly sees bio as a threat so they will do anything to highlight any obstacles... So be ready for the fight. :D If bio gets too popular then the big oil boys are going to start fighting back and it is gonna get ugly with half truths, lies, and all sorts of reports of shortages created by the EPA due to these clean diesel regulations!

Longsnowsm
 
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The word is spreading slowly. In fact there was an article recently in a local newspaper (Vancouver Province I think) about a trucking firm switching their fleet over to BioD.

Wish I had kept a copy of that article though...
 

BrianCT

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khale said:
With all the fuss about fuel prices lately?
It all started peacefully on a street corner in Cincinnati. After smelling the first Bio-Diesel engine passing it struck us like a lightening bolt.




Every Ounce of
Bio-Diesel You Burn
You Kill a French Fry!
 

tdireader

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ThatRickGuy said:
You hear about Ethanol because GM is in financial trouble. The Flex-fuel marketing gimmick is designed to spur new vehicle sales. So while hearing more about BD would be great, atleast those damn go Yellow commercials and the E85 hype are helping GM and could reduce green house gas emmisions.

-Rick

-Rick
I think once E85 people see the hit on the mpg and no comporable favorable price differential. E85 gets about 77% of the range of RUG but doesn't cost 23% less.

At least GM has found a way of making their vehicles get even worse mpg in real world driving. At least we can enjoy the face of the proud new owners of 2007 Tahoes.:p

Look for a fight if congress lowers tarifs for ethanol/biodiesel. The midwest congressmen and senators will look after their own.
 

sodapop6620

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Yesturday I saw that there is a new fuel out on the market. The lady reporter told us about the diesel-gas and how well that works. Now if I only could get a vehicle that it will burn in.... Oh, wait a minute I have a MB from 84 that should be able to run on anything;)
 

hank miller

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The US made just under 5 billion gallons of Ethanol last year. I'm not sure how much biodiesel we made, but it wasn't anywhere near that amount. Both numbers will increase greatly this year, but ethanol faster because it is a technology that has been through the shake out that all new manufacturing processes have. Biodiesel has not had this shake up.

I wouldn't worry about press, truth is, today we can make either fuel for much less than regular oil. That means companies will develop it anyway for the money. Bio-fuels do not need press today, they need more cars that are compatible with them. Right now companies are selling all they can make, so there is no need to market them to others yet. What bio-fuels need is for cars to be able to use them even as they ramp up production.

E85 will result in less range than gas, but 30% less is a little low. True there is 30% less energy, but engineers can fool with other parameters a little bit to get better milage (and/or power) than a simple calculation would lead you to expect. Some cars do worse than others.

Where I live E85 is enough cheaper (at some stations, shop around as you can find as much a $1/gallon difference depending on which station you are at) that it is worth the cost even with 30% less milage.

I dream of a world where our energy comes from renewable resources.
 

fredb

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I for one don't see any change in the near future.
Look at the profits the big 5 are making (yes only 5 folks)
I can't see why they would want to invest in new technology until the old technology is exhausted.
The current administration talks the talk but will not walk the walk.
They will back big oil all the way..Why not?
(typical example) George says we need more refineries but big oil says no
why should they invest/cut into thier profits??
.
I would Like to see biodiesel remain a grassroots backyard sort of deal.
I can make it for 75 cents a gallon heat my house and run the tdi
most of the year on it (winter is a challenge) .
So the fewer regulations the better i like it. When the big companies
get thier hands on it all wvo will be controlled ..as well as methanol and
lye too probably. the big soy lobbys will make /decide whats done.
I say leave it alone....

..
Am i being selfish....LOL;);)
 

McBrew

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I think once E85 people see the hit on the mpg...
I honestly think that most people don't know how to calculate MPG (TDI Club members excluded, of course). All they know is how much it costs to fill up their tank. Ford could probably sell more SUVs if they only put a 10 gallon tank on them... then it would only cost $30 to fill up instead of $80. Most people don't know MPG from PSI.
 

samspock

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PSI? That's the old name for the stadium in Baltimore that the Ravens play in. They changed it to M&M's Bank or something....


A guy I worked with was complaining about how much gas he uses in his Ford Exploader and I told him that I had a diesel. His respons was: "Dude, it's only like 6 cents chepaer!" I then had to give him a lesson in simple math.
 

BrianCT

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samspock said:
PSI? That's the old name for the stadium in Baltimore that the Ravens play in. They changed it to M&M's Bank or something....
M&T ...M&M same difference.:D


samspock said:
  • I told him that I had a diesel.
  • His respons was: "Dude, it's only like 6 cents cheaper!"
  • I then had to give him a lesson in simple math.
You wasted your time.:confused:

  • If it was the same guy I ran into, he was on his way to Home Depot to buy Pella replacement windows with a greater R-Factor than his present Andersen double paines. They were on sale.
  • If it was the same guy I ran into, he was over at Target in the lawn and garden section buying patio furniture with real imitation teak wood.
  • If it was the same guy I ran into, he was at WalTart making a deal on two 20 foot extention cords, half for now, half for later.
  • Lastly, if it was the same guy I ran into, he was at Starbuck's asking for something smaller than a Grande.
 

bhtooefr

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4Gman said:
All it takes is some celebrity or politician to back it...and the lemmings will follow.
Willie Nelson. (He drives an MBenz, fuels his tour bus on it, and his wife has a Jetta. Oh, and he runs a biodiesel company. :p)
Darryl Hannah. (Drives an El Camino converted to diesel, and runs it on bio. Dunno what engine, though.)

There, you've got two celebs...

I think what VW needs to do is give a T'reg V10 TDI to a celebrity, and fill the thing with biodiesel.

I know, the T'reg's a guzzler, but the lemmings will "get it", that you can have your luxury AND your economy...
 

michigandon

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bhtooefr said:
Willie Nelson. (He drives an MBenz, fuels his tour bus on it, and his wife has a Jetta. Oh, and he runs a biodiesel company. :p)
Darryl Hannah. (Drives an El Camino converted to diesel, and runs it on bio. Dunno what engine, though.)

There, you've got two celebs...
Wasn't Bonnie Raitt also running her tour bus on B20?
 

John McMillin

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Biodiesel is the best unknown tech I'm into, unless you count the Konica Minolta 7D camera, the NSU auto I drove for 10 years out of college, and ... well, turns out I tend to collect obscure technologies. Since least summer, other motorists have suddenly become interested in talking about fuel economy, diesel and related topics. Not one in 10 are aware of the biodiesel option, but they've heard about WVO, you bet. They believe using bio requires hanging out at the back doors of McFryers looking for handouts. Millions of NPR listeners were misinformed a few months ago when The Car Guys pronounced that biodiesel use required dual fuel systems! Three weeks later they offered a brief correction, but the damage was done.

Meanwhile, I drive once a month to a Denver area commercial fuel distributer and stock up on 40 gallons of B100. It's made by Blue Sun, a small Colorado company. I trust their quality control is better than their marketing, which is nonexistent. I never see any other drivers waiting in line.

So I've got a beef to pick with the WVO advocates, like fredb who wrote "I would Like to see biodiesel remain a grassroots backyard sort of deal..." I know where you're coming from- I was counterculture before we even knew the word -- but let's face the facts. As long is biodiesel brewing is regarded as a homebrew hippie science project, it's never going to capture much of the motoring market. It's just more work than most people are looking for. They're busy learning how to use their new giant TV sets, and sleepy after a two-hour commute to their new patio home. You think their homeowners' covenants look kindly on garages stocked with pariffin, ammonia and lye?

I don't really blame the homebrewer as much as the media, though (MEDIA: Making Everyone Dumber in America). French-fries-to-fuel is such and irresistable story line. It's a two-for-one audience pleaser, comical and conservation-minded at the same time. But the effect is to peg biodiesel as a fringe pastime. I think it's a serious matter, and I want to see it leave the fringe, into the mainstream market. Only then will we make a meaningful impact on CO2 emissions and energy independence.

So the next time the WVO crew is talking to reporters, I wish they'd mention the local retail biodiesel outlets, and explain the differences...please?
 

BrianCT

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John McMillin said:
I don't really blame the homebrewer as much as the media, though (MEDIA: Making Everyone Dumber in America). French-fries-to-fuel is such and irresistable story line.
Simple explanation. If the State, Local and Federal authorities discovered that people are blending and manufacturing fuel for their diesel cars privately it would be very upsetting. Why would it be upsetting?

TAX.

Do you realize that the feds have almost no way to monitor and control these processes in collecting their meaningful and deserved revenues on each litre produced privately from waste oils?

Do you realize how terrible it is to produce fuel without paying some sort of tax?

Do you realize by the media laughing it off, making the process of product look messy and throwing in every flower-child photo of a liberal hippy's face in the camera shots actually works in favour of delaying an eventual need to regulate and levy a tax for bio-fuels?

The Feds/State/Locals are just not ready yet to deal with a wave of home brew bio-fuels as taken seriously without steps in taxing the production itself.

Once the government is capable of monitoring and taxing co-op or home-bio-fuels ....that's when you'll see the shirts and ties and live FOX News reports.

That's when.

Not a moment before.

Brian
 

John McMillin

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That's an interesting theory, brian. It's like the old moonshine days, with "revenuers" combing the hollers for stills making untaxed homebrew.

But I think the theory falls apart, and here's why. Our current federal government isn't all that keen of raising revenues. Look at the party in charge. Their consistent pattern is to lower taxes as much as they can. We could debate the wisdom of Bushco's tax cuts-- I think it's a terrible debt to we're passing on to future generations -- but I'll admit that this is the one campaign promise he's delivered on (to the wealthy, anyway). Also, there's been no federal push to place taxes on email or ecommerce purchases (I'd gladly pay a penny per email if it means those spammers were paying the same on their million messages a day.)

Compared to those huge volumes of commerce, a tax on WVO bio would be small french fries indeed. But even if a tax was the gummint's motivation, why do you expect every media news outlet to parrot the party line, starting with the most "liberal media"? The WVO stories I've heard lately came from NPR and the local alternative weekly newspaper. Their coverage was mostly positive. Meanwhile, I heard an NPR interview with the president of Blue Sun, Colorado's retail B100 refiner, conducted by a know-nothing reporter who was skeptical, almost hostile.

It may be different elsewhere, like in the Midwest. Passing through Indiana, I heard radio ads for gas stations pumping bio. Anyone involved in the growing of soy is liable to know about its uses and markets. Someday the word will get out about commercially-made biodiesel, but I despair how long it may take. So I've resolved to talk up this fuel in every forum I visit, including this one.

I'd ask you, brian, just what market share you could predict WVO bio can capture within two years, or five, or ten?

How many folks are willing to brew their own fuel at home, doing the QC, disposing of the parrafin and pouring the product into their late-model, still-financed diesel vehicle?

If your answer is, say, 25% or more, what do you think that does to the price & availability of used cooking oil? (I don't see that stuff being delivered to restaurants with tanker trucks, and that's the kind of quantity we're going to need.)

As I consider those questions, it seems like WVO bio faces more and more problems as its numbers increase... but I think retail biodiesel would get cheaper as the market expands, due to economies of scale. Why, I'd save a gallon a month if I could buy it on the corner, not 15 miles away!

But what's the term? Non-homebrew? Refined biodiesel? I like "retail" bio, because it describes a buying experience we're all accustomed to. This fuel is so obscure, we don't even have a name for it yet, if the WVO movement takes cxlaim to "biodiesel"!
 

John McMillin

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BTW, brian, I'd trust this forum over Fov News as a source of automotive knowledge. Heck, I'd be more inclined to trust anyone in here, even you!
 

BrianCT

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John McMillin said:
I'd ask you, brian, just what market share you could predict WVO bio can capture within two years, or five, or ten?
I never ask a question unless I know the answer. So I won't answer that question.

I will ask a question though. What type of media-machine and campaign took form over E85? Answer? A trillion dollar campaign to push fuel that could be taxed.

Brian:D

p.s. never really good to trust anyone
 

bhtooefr

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Oh, and another celeb: Jake Gyllenhaal, driving a Ford Excursion PSD running on bio (is that really that good on the HEUI injectors, which are more vulnerable than the PD injectors, as I understand? Not to mention, this is a FORD EXCURSION, not exactly the bastion of greenness.) :eek:

Article: http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/news/11281.html

Yes, that's an article about our very own Ernie Rogers, that mentions that. :p
 
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hank miller

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The government is aware of those making their own fuel. They aren't bothering to collect because they know the cost of collecting is greater than the gain, or very close. Add in the whines from all the people doing it ("But I shouldn't pay tax, only the other guy should."), and it isn't worth it.

WVO is cheap now, but there is a limited supply, and industry is better able to gather it in the long run. If you are using WVO, enjoy it while you can, because in big cities some company is looking into collecting it (paying the restaurant), and processing to biodiesel. These companies will pay the taxes. (depends on where you live, some areas will take a long time to get this far, some are already there)
 

BrianCT

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hank miller said:
These companies will pay the taxes. (depends on where you live, some areas will take a long time to get this far, some are already there)
Can you see the lines of home-bio-people with their buckets infront of McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken at 03h00 mornings when the over night crews drain and filtre their fry vats. Dissapointed, they hear the roar of the big white truck which pulls up, winking at the store management while handing out those big fancy company checks as 10 helpers climb out from under their tarps and load the vehicle and drive off into the sunset.

The last visual seen by the empty pale home-bio-people is the new decals on the white rig as it pulls off the lot.

 
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