Can I/Should I use BioDiesel?

Vdoubleuman

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Location
Indianapolis, IN USA
TDI
2000 MK4 Golf Tdi
After owning about 10 VWs, I just got my first TDi. I flew to Texas to bring it home to Indiana. Living in Indiana I can get BioDiesel in any blend I want: b5, b20, b100, or they even have custom blend pumps. Can I use BioDiesel in my stock 2000 golf, should I use it? Which blend should I use?
 

vwrobert51

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
Maui Hawaii
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon
you should start at b20 and do a few fuel filter changes as you increse your amount of biofuel, watch for inj. pump seal leaks if pump has old style seals, and be sure to use a good quality syntec oil every 5k most important, use a good quality fuel. good luck:cool: :)
 

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
Just gradually increase the blend you use. Lots of people run B100 on the ALH engine with no issues, just keep an eye on your filter and watch for any pump leaks. I got my 2001 last December, and now that it's spring I've bumped my blend up to B80 and it runs great with no filter plugging or leaks of any kind.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Can? yes.
Should? that's up to you. Consider the alternatives to whatever categories you like and in order of importance you like.
If out of pocket costs are highest importance, then don't. Petro is cheaper to you.
If lowered CO2 contribution is high importance, then do. B100 produces about 1/4 the fossil CO2 emissions per unit than petro.
Make a list of plusses and minuses, arrange them in order of importance, assign a 'weight' to that ranking and do the math.
You have to decide for yourself.

I made my decision long ago.
 

vw4life

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Location
New West, BC, Canada
TDI
2014 Touareg TDI
you don't want to switch back and forth every tank as your fuel pump seals will go through hell and then leave you stranded
 

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
vw4life said:
you don't want to switch back and forth every tank as your fuel pump seals will go through hell and then leave you stranded
That's a popular meme, but I don't think there is sufficient evidence for this claim.

Vdoubleuman said:
And what about the Should I? Other than being green, should I really?
That is up to you, and no one should be telling you what you should do. It all depends on your priorities and opinions.
 

Thunderbox

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Location
San Diego
TDI
2009 Jetta SW
Biofuel is a great idea, until you look at the big picture. It takes a lot of energy to make the fuel. First you have to prepare the fields, plant, water... Then you need to harvest it, using fuel of course. Then make the fuel, using more fuel. Then ship it out, using, well you get the point. Then the issue of displacing food crops and making more farm land. That is a big part of the reason that diesel #2 is cheaper than biodiesel. In the future biofuels may make sense, especially with different crops (alge and grasses) and maybe even wood pulp and yardwastes. I guess it has to start somewhere, but just because it is not drilled out of the ground and has the catch phrase "Green" or "Bio" on it does not make it so.

Do your own reasesarch and arrive at your own answers.
 

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
Thunderbox said:
Biofuel is a great idea, until you look at the big picture. It takes a lot of energy to make the fuel. First you have to prepare the fields, plant, water... Then you need to harvest it, using fuel of course. Then make the fuel, using more fuel. Then ship it out, using, well you get the point. Then the issue of displacing food crops and making more farm land. That is a big part of the reason that diesel #2 is cheaper than biodiesel. In the future biofuels may make sense, especially with different crops (alge and grasses) and maybe even wood pulp and yardwastes. I guess it has to start somewhere, but just because it is not drilled out of the ground and has the catch phrase "Green" or "Bio" on it does not make it so.

Do your own reasesarch and arrive at your own answers.
This may be true for ethanol, depending on the manufacturing process, but is decidedly NOT true for biodiesel. The energy inputs for biodiesel are 1/3 the energy gained from burning it. And that is for soy - canola and some others are better than that. Soy biodiesel does not "displace food crops" as the oil is a byproduct and not the primary crop. There are other choices for biodiesel as well, like jatropha that grows on marginal land not suited for food crops. So yes, indeeed, do the research if it interests you.
 

Thunderbox

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Location
San Diego
TDI
2009 Jetta SW
UFO said:
This may be true for ethanol, depending on the manufacturing process, but is decidedly NOT true for biodiesel. The energy inputs for biodiesel are 1/3 the energy gained from burning it. And that is for soy - canola and some others are better than that. Soy biodiesel does not "displace food crops" as the oil is a byproduct and not the primary crop. There are other choices for biodiesel as well, like jatropha that grows on marginal land not suited for food crops. So yes, indeeed, do the research if it interests you.
Soybean oil is an important. It is not waste. What is the primary reason for growing soy? (hint oil and protien) About one half of the vegetable oil produced world wide is soy. It is used where ever vegetable oil is use (being very general there). While jatropha can grow in crappy places it's yield is very low and is not easily sustained. Algae is showing great promise. Hell, even used coffee grounds work great. I am not bashing the biodiesel as a whole, I just don't think it has been refined (no pun intended) to a point that it is the end-all answer. Give it more time, it will be a great answer one day.
 

ikendu

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Location
Iowa
TDI
2003 Golf Indigo Blue
Thunderbox said:
What is the primary reason for growing soy? (hint oil and protien).
Hint #1: 98% of the soy crop is used for animal feed to raise meat. The soy beans are crushed to make the feed and the oil comes out. No one would grow soy beans strictly for the oil (the yield is too low... about 20% of the bean). Virgin soy oil is not waste but the oil is a by-product of the primary reason the beans are grown. Hint #2: There are 3 billion gallons of fryer oil used every year in restaurants. After its useful life in the fryer (good restaurants change frequently) it is either discarded (land filled) or collected to help make pet food. It is a choice as to which is a better use; pet food or displacing imported oil.

I vote for displacing imported oil.

Thunderbox said:
...I just don't think it [soy biodiesel] has been refined (no pun intended) to a point that it is the end-all answer. Give it more time, it will be a great answer one day.
This is true. Soy biodiesel won't get us ALL off imported oil but it has made it possible to reduce MY use of petroleum by a large enough extent that no oil needs to be imported just for my use. That feels good. Plus my '03 TDI runs cleaner and quieter on 100% biodiesel. Been using it for over 6 years now and 120,000 miles. No problems what-so-ever. I did have a problem once in the winter when it was so cold I was running 100% petroleum and my filter clogged from lousy petroleum fuel; I believe.
 

Vdoubleuman

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Location
Indianapolis, IN USA
TDI
2000 MK4 Golf Tdi
I guess the Should I that I had in mind would be more along the lines of "yes it cleans the engine, or yes it give you more Horse Power, or Yes it make the car invisible to radar or..." not should I make an ethical decision to or not to do, I guess I should have asked, and is it better?
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
I don't consider the garbage and waste from which my biodiesel is made to be "food" any more than I'd consider cow dung to still be soy or corn. No one is going hungry, no added acreage is mono-cultured, no added irrigation is needed.
The energy used to pump, refine, transport and distribute each BTU or therm of petroleum based fuels is greater than that used to grow, harvest, process transport and distribute biodiesel from regionally grown indigenous feed stocks.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
You'll have less power. The BTU content per volume of biodiesel is about 1/10 less than that of petroleum diesel. You can compensate by pressing the accelerator 10% further and use 10% more gallons, or you can use the same pedal position and have 10% less power.
Real world results are closer to a 5~8% decline than the 10% decline the lab guys say should happen. A lower RPM (2500 and under) there is actually MORE power with biodiesel due to the longer duration burn process, but the absolute highest peak power that occurs at higher rpm is less. I don't drive much for long time above 2500 rpm (70+ mph) anyway so the improvement at lower speeds is more important to me anyway.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
ronbros said:
I absolutly would NOT use it!! just leave the oil for me..
He's in Indy, I doubt his use would cut into your or my supplies. If he were closer to me I'd be telling him to stay away from it so I can have more.
 

highender

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Location
Northern California
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI
Vdoubleuman said:
I guess the Should I that I had in mind would be more along the lines of "yes it cleans the engine, or yes it give you more Horse Power, or Yes it make the car invisible to radar or..." not should I make an ethical decision to or not to do, I guess I should have asked, and is it better?

Well, Yes, biodiesel does clean the fuel system hoses....

But it did clog up my fuel filter , though many people did not encounter this minor side effect in the first few months.

But No...it tends to gum the injector nozzles .....though many people with good biodiesel and good additives experience no gummed up nozzles.

It gives you about 15 % to 10% less horsepower, since the number of btu's is less in biodiesel.


I try to run B100, but many times blend it in various solutions from B10 to B99..... Have been doing it for 2 years no problems. (except first clogged filter).


My biodiesel precursor veggie oil comes from recycled potato chip factory...
 

bikeprof

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Location
Pagosa Springs, Colorado(YEAH!)
TDI
1996 Passat B4 Variant white, 1996 Town & Country 3.8 LXI
Warning!

vw4life said:
you don't want to switch back and forth every tank as your fuel pump seals will go through hell and then leave you stranded
Yes, this is a mandatory reminder about using BIODIESEL. The reason being is that there are more solvents/aromatics* in this fuel, so when it is not used, the O-rings may shrink and cause I.P. leakage.

There are a good amount of TDI owners and BIODIESEL stations that have given me feedback on this, so be careful, always run your fuel with some sort of AROMATICS if not using BIODIESEL!
It will keep your I.P. happy!

*Here is a correction from paragraph one: aromatics in BIO? maybe not but more/better solvent and thus more lubricity, something that ULSD is missing.
 
Last edited:

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
bikeprof said:
Yes, this is a mandatory reminder about using BIODIESEL. The reason being is that there are more aromatics in this fuel, so when it is not used, the O-rings may shrink and cause I.P. leakage.

There are a good amount of TDI owners and BIODIESEL stations that have given me feedback on this, so be careful, always run your fuel with some sort of AROMATICS if not using BIODIESEL!
It will keep your I.P. happy!
There are no "aromatics" in biodiesel. I'm sure there is a good explanation for what you claim, but the misuse of words is not going to help to understand the issue.

And I've done plenty of switching, with all my diesels, and haven't seen this problem, so it doesn't seem to be absolute either.
 

bikeprof

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Location
Pagosa Springs, Colorado(YEAH!)
TDI
1996 Passat B4 Variant white, 1996 Town & Country 3.8 LXI
Running Biodiesel:
1. Gives USA crop farmers more income therefore more NATIONAL $'s going around.
2. Burns more clean(different numbers on different gaseus compounds)
3. Is a way better solvent than most commercial solvents on the shelve AND 100% natural!
4. 100% Renewable, nice!
5. Although having 5% less overall burn, it is better for the TDI motor because the engine runs smoother and quieter 'cause it is being lubricated better!
6. Using USA made fuel keeps us home with no reason to invade oil reserves... :( .
7. When hungry, smell the exhaust for a REAL "fill-up"!
(fries, soy or whatever you made/used that day :D )

(just my two puffs...)
(correction with grizzly's help)
 
Last edited:

grizzlydiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2009
Location
Virginia, USA
TDI
2000 Jetta 5 speed
actually... biodiesel has a higher cetane value than dinojuice. which is why you notice a quieter, smoother, burn. Which probably offsets some of the lack of BTU's in the biodiesel. It may have lower overall energy, but it burns faster for higher peak cylinder pressures which produces more power than a slow burn.

As for me, i run B20 for many of the reasons stated, being domestically produced, environmentally conciensious, good for the engine, and a smoother burn. To me its worth the extra... what, $1.00 per 100 miles of travel that i pay at the pump.
 

eb2143

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Location
Rhode Island
TDI
None
bikeprof said:
Yes, this is a mandatory reminder about using BIODIESEL. The reason being is that there are more solvents/aromatics* in this fuel, so when it is not used, the O-rings may shrink and cause I.P. leakage.

There are a good amount of TDI owners and BIODIESEL stations that have given me feedback on this, so be careful, always run your fuel with some sort of AROMATICS if not using BIODIESEL!
It will keep your I.P. happy!

*Here is a correction from paragraph one: aromatics in BIO? maybe not but more/better solvent and thus more lubricity, something that ULSD is missing.
The aromatic confusion lies in the fact that it is the aromaticity of dino fuels that is primarily responsible for their swell of (nitrile esp.) rubbers. Aromatics will sure as heck swell most rubber. My understanding is that the low and then ultra low sulfur fuel requires additional lubricity additives, which are often aromatics like naphthalene (at least, that's a lot of what is in PS and the like from my digging). Thus crap --> LSD --> ULSD changes over the last two decades have affected the fuel's ability to swell (be adsorbed into) rubbers.

In the case of biodiesel, it's just the ester group. Blame the oxygen, the polarity its electron hogging creates allows esters to be readily adsorbed into most rubber. IMHO, it is very good advice to not switch back and forth regularly. I believe the evidence is sufficient.

Goodnight..
 
Last edited:

victorkauai

New member
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Location
Kauai
TDI
2000 VW Jetta TDI
The question to biodiesel or not biodiesel, and what is ethical and sustainable is complex. The TDI is well suited to burn biodiesel, and it offers several advantages (as noted in other posts). We've been burning biodiesel for about 1.5 years, and found no significant power loss (usually run at lower speeds), in fact it seems we've had more power; fuel economy seemed the same, and the exhaust much less smelly. It all sounds good. However, we've discovered from a mechanic who works on diesels that he has had to replace several diesel engines running on the local biodiesel, and that the local stuff is junky, and burns out engines. It seems the process they're using around here doesn't leave it clean enough; although it's OK for older engines (and old farm equipment) it's not clean enough for modern engines (may work for a few years OK, then caput). And so I'd check with other users in your area to ensure the quality of the biodiesel. In making biodiesel a producer will use lye; and later have to remove moisture that may be left in the fuel. Small producers may not do it well enough. The original diesel engine was designed to burn peanut oil. The modern Jetta TDI will burn straight soybean oil, as an article in Cocto magazine described about a year ago. This may be a cleaner way if you can't get quality biodiesel locally.

Now, regarding sustainability -- is biodiesel a true green, renewable, sustainable fuel? In certain account yes; in many accounts NO. Yes for recycled oil, and by-product oils. Newer technologies (algae) are not commercialized yet, so there is NO true commercial sustainable methods yet. Of course posters defending soybean oil will object to my comments here, but I would recommend you view the film "The Future of Food" that lays it out plain and clear how Monsato is devastating farm land everywhere, like South America with it's soybean fields (making locals very sick with their excessive use of Roundup pesticide). This is not healthy or sustainable. Modern farming methods as used to grow soybeans deplete soil. Malaysia has converted nearly all it's native forests to oil palms, completely wiping out it's normal ecology, making the urangutan on the endangered species list. You could never produce enough biodiesel from all the farm land and forest land in the world to satisfy the world consumption if all engines were diesel. Hence it's not a true green solution, nor modern practises sustainable.

Having said that, in many cases it is better to burn biodiesel as to support advancement in green technologies. The demand for biodiesel promotes research in oil generation, such as a bacteria that digests garbage into sugar, and another that digests the sugar into oil. Eventually some of these technologies will yield a true commercial sustainable fuel. In the meantime I propose you investigate the source of the oil in your local biodiesel and place preference on the more acceptable sources (ie. yes to recycle or by-product oils, no to Malaysia palm oil, no to South America soybean oil).

This post isn't meant to upset anyone who supports all sources of biodiesel. I just want to clarify it for those who are very conscious of the sources of their consumption. :)
 

boutmuet

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2009
Location
Long Beach, CA
TDI
2015 BMW 328d
You could probably get away with running bio in your Golf, it is really the newer diesels that require filters that don't really jive well with biodiesel.
 
Last edited:

wal1809

Active member
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Location
Texas
TDI
2006 Jetta-2002 Beetle
I make 300 to 400 gallons of Bio D at home. I have about 100,000 miles on two tdi motors, a 7.3 Ford powersmoke, a Allsison Chalmers tractor and a Kubota zero turn mower. Not one problem.

I offer a correction to an earlier poster: Quality BioD does not plug filters. It cleans the system of the junk placed there by dirty D2 and that is what clogs the filters.
 

ikendu

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Location
Iowa
TDI
2003 Golf Indigo Blue
victorkauai said:
...regarding sustainability -- is biodiesel a true green, renewable, sustainable fuel?

In certain account yes; in many accounts NO. ...Monsato is devastating farm land everywhere, like South America with it's soybean fields (making locals very sick with their excessive use of Roundup pesticide).
I am a great believer in the goodness of soy biodiesel. I am not upset by your post. I have struggled with many of the thoughts you have expressed. I have concluded that Monsanto does not grow soy beans for the oil.

98% of the soy crop goes to make animal feed to raise meat. The soy oil is a by-product of this process. No one would raise soy only for the 20% of the bean that turns into oil. If you really think that Monsanto's soy production is such a bad thing, you might want to think about the effect of so much meat eating in our society. This is the true root of so much land being farmed for soy beans.

And... what is the root of so much meat eating? A lot of it is simply population pressure. We are feeding a lot of people. Want to stop the relentless drive to plow up rain forest? Got to do something about having so many mouths to feed.

In the end, I am happy to substitute soy oil for petroleum when I can. Fossil fuels are endangering our health, economy and national security. What could be less sustainable than petroleum? We won't get our next shipment of fossil fuels for another 100 million years.
 
Top