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They are commonly mistaken for each other. Straight vegetable oil can be run in a diesel, with modifications to the fuel system (heat). Or, biodiesel can be produced from vegetable oil to run in your vehicle with no modification.

Biodiesel can be produced by home brewers, but is produced in excess of 95% by major commercial biodiesel producers. It is very hard and cumbersome and expensive and time consuming to produce your own biodiesel. 95% of the people who try usually get out of it within a year. Commerical diodiesel is run widely, for example here locally, our municipality and the Salt Lake City International Airport all run biodiesel blends all the time, and no one has reported negative effects.

Biodiesel (and vegetable oil) are produced from renewable sources (American farmers), does not support foreign oil, is generally better for your engine due to lubricity increases, and offer drastic emissions reductions in nearly all categories. For example, there is no sulfur in the fuel, and the greenhouse gas reduction is approximately a 78% reduction via the CO2 that is required to grow the crops.

It is interesting and is an easy way for diesel engine users to be drastically environmentally friendly - by using B100 biodiesel fuel. Unlike ethanol, it is a very efficient process, and the industry is only 5-1o years old, so it is only getting more efficient. It has gotten some bad wrap related to a lot of the BS (whether true or not) about ethanol. They are completely different fuels (ethanol is an alcohol -- and can actually be used for biodiesel production) and their only similarity is that they are both Ag. crop fuels (currently).
 

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Does not rely on imported oil?

Some thoughts: So this requires no dependence on foreign oil? What was the tractor burning that planted the seed, the fertilizer that enhanced the field, and what was the combine using that combined the field? Further, how about the trucks that brought the seed, the fertilizer, and hauled the seed to the crusher? I mean, aren't we overlooking the obvious? A University of Nebraska economists says ethanol (and I know this is not ethanol) is a net loser on use of hydrocarbons (imported oil). I cannot see how biodiesel isn't in the same boat. It's the same with fuel cells--the only economical source of hydrogen is, ugh, natural gas. I live in farm country and I support farmers. I want them to get rich (and many are). For my money, making diesel out of coal, when we have several centuries of the stuff in our own borders makes more sense to me. There's no doubt in my mind diesel is the future, and finding something to burn in the new hyper efficient, clean diesels is the question--in 08 VW is offering a TDi in the U.S. said to get in excess of 60 MPG.
 

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Biodiesel is significantly more efficient to produce and because it is an entirely different plant (soy) versus corn, and the CO2 consumption is much higher while the labor and processes are much more minimal versus ethanol production. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil, which is easy to extract (pressing) from the soy production process, soy beans. From there it is a simple chemical, low energy reaction that you can do in a blender.

16% of biodiesel is produced from methanol, most of which is produced from petroleum sources, so they they factor that in (that said a lot of methanol does not come from petroleum). Then they have done studies to calculate CO2 consumption related to averages of delivery and production, and on average it is a 6% increase related to these processes. So 16% plus 6% equals 22% which is where the 78% reduction in greenhouse gas comes from.

In addition it is biodegradable (toxicity is 1/10th of salt on average) and B100 is considered non-flammable because the flash point is so high, in addition to the other advantages. Its only disadvantages are cold weather properties (largely related to the infancy of the biodiesel industry) and increased cost related to paying farmers fair cost for their crops. The consumption cost of biodiesel is $.80 a gallon depending on how efficiently you produce, while the feedstock costs are usually about $1.50 or more for cost per gallon of vegetable oil feedstock.
 

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Also a lot of the coal debate depends largely on your beliefs regarding CO2 emissions. I work on local land use issues and understand environmental hysteria and deeply understand environmental movement misunderstandings in approaches. For example you can't make a can with the aluminum you recycle from a can, and this, like most recycling, is considered "downcycling." the same for most plastics. That said it is still worse than ending up in a land fill. But a lot of the "eco-products" are just as bad because the environmentalists don't understand it themselves, and produce shitty recycled paper, etc, because its based on the premise of "sacrifice" rather than using the system to fix itself...

Anyway, in college I took several meterology and climate related classes and I can tell you from my perspective, that unfortunately climate and CO2 issues are unfortunately no hoax. The problem with coal, while it is plentiful, is it is the same problem as the fossil fuels, removing millions/billions of years of stored carbon (solar energy) from the ground and placing it in the atmosphere. those who don't understand how climate works.. The atmosphere is basically like a blanket.. Plants consume CO2 and complex life forms (humans, cattle, deer, fish, etc) consume O2. It is a balance.. This is why they call the Amazon rain forest, for example, "the lung of the world." Problem with the excess CO2 is that the plants can't materialize the CO2 quickly enough, sending us into a warming trend. and the climate system is a complex set of systems, sort of like a transmission. One little thing goes out of wack and at throws the whole system off... So this is where a lot of the "hysteria" (and I do admit there is a lot of hysteria) comes from. That said everything I've seen seems to show it is about a 20 year window max as the natural reaction seems to be that in increases itself as a reaction..

Hope it helps. But this, among other reasons, are why I don't specifically believe that diesel fuel from coal is the correct solution.

Biodiesel certainly isn't "it" but it is one of the better things going, and in my opinion, much better than ethanol right now at least..

Andre
 

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Also a lot of the coal debate depends largely on your beliefs regarding CO2 emissions. I work on local land use issues and understand environmental hysteria and deeply understand environmental movement misunderstandings in approaches. For example you can't make a can with the aluminum you recycle from a can, and this, like most recycling, is considered "downcycling." the same for most plastics. That said it is still worse than ending up in a land fill. But a lot of the "eco-products" are just as bad because the environmentalists don't understand it themselves, and produce shitty recycled paper, etc, because its based on the premise of "sacrifice" rather than using the system to fix itself...

Anyway, in college I took several meterology and climate related classes, and in the end did a few years of professional climate research and I can tell you from my perspective, unfortunately, that climate and CO2 issues are no hoax.

The problem with coal, while it is plentiful, is it is the same problem as the fossil fuels because it is a fossil fuel. This means removing millions/billions of years of stored carbon energy (solar energy) from the ground and placing it in the atmosphere. those who don't understand how climate works.. The atmosphere is basically like a blanket.. Plants consume CO2 and complex life forms (humans, cattle, deer, fish, etc) consume O2. It is a balance.. This is why they call the Amazon rain forest, for example, "the lung of the world." Problem with the excess CO2 is that the plants can't materialize the CO2 quickly enough, sending us into a warming trend. In a sense the blanket gets thicker. And the climate system is a complex set of interdependent systems (jet streams, ocean streams, etc), sort of like a transmission. One little thing goes out of whack and it throws the whole system off... So this is where a lot of the "hysteria" (and I do admit there is a lot of hysteria) comes from. That said everything I've seen seems to show it is about a 20 year window max as the natural reaction seems to be that in increases itself as a reaction..

Hope it helps. But this, among other reasons, are why I don't specifically believe that diesel fuel from coal is the correct solution.

Biodiesel certainly isn't "it" but it is one of the better things going, and in my opinion, much better than ethanol right now at least, and is definitely a start in my opinion.
Andre
 

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Some thoughts: So this requires no dependence on foreign oil? What was the tractor burning that planted the seed, the fertilizer that enhanced the field, and what was the combine using that combined the field? Further, how about the trucks that brought the seed, the fertilizer, and hauled the seed to the crusher? I mean, aren't we overlooking the obvious? A University of Nebraska economists says ethanol (and I know this is not ethanol) is a net loser on use of hydrocarbons (imported oil). I cannot see how biodiesel isn't in the same boat. It's the same with fuel cells--the only economical source of hydrogen is, ugh, natural gas. I live in farm country and I support farmers. I want them to get rich (and many are). For my money, making diesel out of coal, when we have several centuries of the stuff in our own borders makes more sense to me. There's no doubt in my mind diesel is the future, and finding something to burn in the new hyper efficient, clean diesels is the question--in 08 VW is offering a TDi in the U.S. said to get in excess of 60 MPG.
Ummm, Dan: what happens to your argument if all the vehicles you mentioned as foreign oil burners are also running on veggie oil? As for fertilizer mankind has gotten along very nicely on 100% organic non-pertoleum based fertilizers for at least 6,000 years.
 

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My father's been succesfully making biodiesel for home heating fuel for over a year now. He's been able to source used oil from area businesses and has a methanol contact that is able to ship to him in 55 gallon drums. He's a science teacher by trade so he's basically perfected his formula based on a ratio of how clean the used oil is.

I'll definately being trying out a blend in the wagoneer once I get the swap complete.
 

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Biodiesel Mileage

Has anyone checked the mileage with biodiesel as compared to diesel fuel?

1981 J10
4BT
SM 465
 

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yes with b100 generally a slight performance and fuel loss, about 7% at most. Most notice no change in 20-50% blends but this can vary slightly. some report slight increase in mileage but technically biodiesel versus diesel is a 7% energy loss so slight loss in mileage too.. A
 

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OK Andre, you seem pretty learned about this subject. I have read that biofuels from crops are produced here in the US at a 1.3/1 ratio. In other words 1.3 gallons of fuel produced per gal of fuel burned. Not very good. Have also read about a country in S. America that uses biofuels exclusively, growing a sugar cane having an 8/1 ratio. Why isnt this crop/method employed here in the good ole US?
Carl
 

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Hi Carl,

It's sort of explained in the first post. It is true with ethanol (which is a much different fuel from a much different crop with little real difference to ethanol other than being a "biofuel"), but biodiesel is must easier and refined. In Brazil they have achieved oil independence (no oil imported) by using sugar cane and "alcool" as they call it ('alcohol' - which is basically what ethanol is - a type of alcohol) is very common and has been widely in place there since at least 1990.

The problem here is the typical sort of American farm scenario farm bill type stuff and policy which is designed to protect the interests of existing farmer and the corporations who manage the products to them. It is a dilemma because who doesn't want to support farmers but they move and make changes very slowly. Corn is the #1 crop in the country (with soy, which biodiesel comes from, being #2), and ethanol can come from corn. Also only some places have an environment (Texas, Florida, etc) where they can grow sugar cane and it is already widely considered a non american crop. The most efficient crop that is suitable for ethanol production in America is actually switch grass. If you listen carefully to the President's speeches you'll see he mentions it often and it is discussed in the media fairly often. The problem is it requires a major crop transition which is a big deal particularly in the US. The ethanol (and biodiesel) industry here are relatively in their infancy. Things will get more efficient as things progress. For example some ethanol production does increase fuel use but most does not. What I particularly dislike about ethanol is hte manufacturers are using it as a scape goat to get away from the efficiency (or lack of efficiency) issues that they face. They are saying "we are being environmentally friendly" by making a relatively minimal modification to a car so it can run on 85% ethanol blends too when probably 99% or higher of those vehicles are still running gasoline. Any vehicle can run up to 15% ethanol currently. Hope it helps, Andre
 

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ECONOMICS OF BIODIESEL and or ETHANOL

:idea: CORN, is and has been primarily raised to feed cattle,hogs,chickens,ect. Previously,corn has been raised then directly fed. With ethanol the corn is fermented, cooked, the mash is then fed resulting in a small loss in feed and around 3 gallons ethanol retained for fuel out of each bushel of corn. THE CORN WILL BE RAISED AND FED REGUARDLESS IF THE ETHANOL IS EXTRACTED OR NOT. Therefore should ALL of the fuel used for production be calculated against ethanol production???????? Now, Soybeans are primarily a high protein hog (pork) food. To feed soybeans to hogs the beans must be cooked. The most economical way to cook beans is to run them thru a extruder(large screw press) which heats the beans from the extreme pressure, in this process it seperates the oil from bean meal. the meal is fed to hogs, fish, chickens,ect. the oil is still leftovers about 10% which can be used for cooking oil or biodiesel. Sunflowers net about 48% oil but the feedstock is not as desireable as it desnt have as much protein content per ton as beans, however the oil is a lot easier to refine into fuel and is thinner than bean oil which is easier to mist thru the diesels injectors than bean oil. NOW, taking these factors into the equation, is it more economical to raise corn then feed it or is it better to retain the fuel then feed it???? The bean oil that is already being extracted, should it be dumped into the ocean or should it be used for fuel???????? Switchgrass may produce more ethanol but may not have good feed value if any therefore you may have to factor all of the switchgass production costs and fuel consumption towards the fuel gained, where here in the USA the corn and beans are a multiuse product that can easily be stored for long periods(a year) ,where switchgrass may have to be used up in very short term, resulting in delivery problems and major crop losses, ethanol plants can only process so much at one time, some countries are in a warmer climate where they can produce grass yearround but here in the USA we have a thing called winter and not much of anything grows in the frozen dirt,we only have around 3 months of production then nothing. The einsteins (or so they think) who doubt the feasability of ethanol work very hard gathering all the data they can get to make sure they dont leave out any factors, however they get lost in all the data and numbers and forget about the primary purpose for which corn was raised, the primary purpose is feeding livestock wich turn into people food . The primary purpose does not get figured into there equations. WHY????? Corn will be planted ,harvested, and trucked to elevators to be trucked to point of useage even if ethanol is not removed beforehand. Making ethanol from corn does NOT destroy feed value,the primary purpose for which corn is raised. Corn averages 150bu per acre @3 gal ethanol per bu that is 450 gal acre (dont forget primary purpose) how much more productive can we be??? Annother point is that it does NOT require anywhere close to 450 gal of fuel to raise an acre of corn and deliver it (unless youre delivering it to the moon or venus),so therefore the farmers are still feeding the dense Einsteins (along with the general public),except now they are producing energy at the same time!!!! Whats not to like????? Bean oil production could easily be increased by 3 times s much just by planting a different variety of beans that currently exhists, however the primary purpose is hog feed which in turn is Bacon, Pork Chops, and such, and the high oil beans dont work so good to produce as much Pork, so which is more important, eating or driving an escalade /excursion???? DEAN
 

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This is the most complete detailed information I have seen on Biofuels. Lots of detail, but it is still understandable. Noone here is making money off of their post so it seems honest.
Recycling-Reusing things and doing your own recycling goes along way and is more efficient than sending it to a recycling plant for them to turn it into something else. In Asia I've seen students testpapers turned in then have something printed on the backside and reused again. I've seen postit notepads that have writing on 1 side already. I've seen all manner of paint and chemicals packaged in used beer bottles and relabeled. Ever see a old barn or house in the country that has metal shingles which are actually old cans which were cut and flattened out to make a shingle?
Environmentalists-The stereotype I have of passionate environmentalists is most of them tend to be art lovers and not very mechanically inclined. They tend to embrace "feel good" policies that don't make sense.
Biofuels and the Arabs-If they didn't have money from Oil they couldn't afford technology. If they couldn't afford technology they wouldn't be a threat. Iran couldn't project it's power through its terrorist operations. If all the money we sent to them for fuel went to American biofuel producers we would probably be better able to afford expensive fuel. If you figure in the money saved from not having to fight over oil and defend against those who get rich off of it biofuel looks really affordable.
 

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cool thread... the problem I see with ethanol is that spark ignition engines are much less efficient than compression ignition. why doesn't the US start using more diesel vehicles than the rest of the world that way there would be much less fuel needed to be produced possibly enabling the farmers in this country to produce all the fuel we will need...
Wylie
 

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cool thread... the problem I see with ethanol is that spark ignition engines are much less efficient than compression ignition. why doesn't the US start using more diesel vehicles than the rest of the world that way there would be much less fuel needed to be produced possibly enabling the farmers in this country to produce all the fuel we will need...
Wylie
The problem with that is the "normal" american is all about mass consumerism. They don't want expensive things. They want alot of cheap, disposable things. It is the Wal-Mart mentality of instant gratification, then throw it away and buy something else new and cheap.:eek:
 

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industrial hemi guy, I really appreciate all that info, very good detailed info that is just killer. My background is biodiesel not necessarily ethanol so nice to see the reality of that take too. Thanks, Andre
 

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when produced cleanly the glyercol can be refined into pharmacutical grade glycerin with is used in a huge variety of products and is actually of significant value. the trick is refining high enough quality by product, finding someone to buy it, and largely depends on your biodiesel refining process. Some processes produce a higher quality by product that others. It is also actually an excellent fertilizer and cleaner and it can be made into various soaps as well as previously mentioned. The key is getting the methanol out of the glyerol which is also the most cost effective technique as methanol is the most expensive ingredient for the process..
 
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