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January 30, 2005

New biodiesel processor manufacturer launches

Greenline Industries launched their web site today. They will be introducing their innovative BioDiesel Processing System at the National Biodiesel Conference in Ft. Lauderdale this week.

Posted by Martin at 1:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

Engine Manufacturers Association weighs in on B100

The Engine Manufacturers Association has released a PDF on the use of Biodiesel. 297.pdf (application/pdf Object) They basically cover their butts by saying they don't recommend anything greater than B5 and even then only if the B100 used to mix meets the ATSM, DIN or EN standards. I believe this is just liability posturing by an old industry not wanting to change. If they approve B100 they must warrant their engines. They don't want to expand their liability. But that doesn't mean they are right...

Posted by Martin at 12:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

Biodiesle versus SVO

Green Car Congress is on top of it again: Green Car Congress: Biodiesel or SVO? Good analysis comparing BioDiesel to Straight Vegitable Oil. I still like Biodiesel. Less potential problems with clogging and no heating required, use it straight in existing diesel engines. Anything that requires the least amount of change is good.

Posted by Martin at 1:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Everything you ever wanted to know

Here is the WikiPedia entry on BioDiesel. Biodiesel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a user generated and user modified encyclopedia of everything. The Biodiesel section is actually very complete. Geek out with chemistry all day!

Posted by Martin at 9:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mike Pelly's old school BioDiesel home brew

For those of you thinking about making B100 at home, here is a primer from Mike Pelly, one of the most experienced home brew manufacturers. Biodiesel recipe from Mike Pelly: Journey to Forever. Home Brewing is not for the faint at heart. You have to be a bit of a mad scientist and have the time to learn the basic chemistry and the space to refine the stuff safely. I personally would rather buy for convenience and standardization sake.

Posted by Martin at 9:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good BioDiesel Primer

Kevin Kelly -- Cool Tools is collecting everying cool on the web. Here he has found a good intro primer to Biodiesel. All the basics are here about how to get started and some good links to San Francisco based suppliers. Get BioDieseling!

Posted by Martin at 9:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005

Direct link to Willy's biodiesel site

here is a direct link to his site. Welcome to Willie Nelson's Biodiesel - Source of Farm Fresh BioDiesel. He is singing about B20. No doubt because he doesn't believe the force of his personality alone can get over the price difference of B100. Hopefully he is at least talking about it for those who want to know that there is an alternative. Think about it, B100 uses 5X the crops that B20 does? What do you think would happen to the price of feedstock if demand were 5X?

Posted by Martin at 2:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A college student who gets it...

Technorati pointed me to: Rachel's Zone: Here is another research paper that earned me an A. today. Glad it did. Rachel gets it right. If you want to read an incredibly cogent argument for the use of Biodiesel including some of the macro-economic trends updated currently, read this paper!

Posted by Martin at 2:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

B100 rodent food?

Thanks Alan's blog for the recent entry about Biodiesel and moving back to Seattle. Your comment:

"One minor hiccup in this environmental love-fest. It turns out that rodents seem to consider biodiesel a rather tasty treat (it is, after all, remarkably similar to french fry grease), and some of them apparently have been nesting on top of our engine during the night and nibbling away at the distributor caps. So, the Golf is currently back at Carter VW for repairs, thanks to the mice, and unfortunately rodent damage is not considered warranty service..."

is interesting. I have not had that problem yet with my Touareg. But I keep it outside and not very hospitable to rodents. I wonder if there is other discussion about this? We whould start a thread on the forums.

Posted by Martin at 1:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Willie Nelson joins BioDiesel company

Well it is bound to happen. Stars try to pump up their cred with environmental causes. And of course Willie needs the money. So he: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Singing praises of biodiesel. Thanks to an astute reader for the pointer. I think this is all goodness for BioDiesel. Anything that raises the profile in the general public.

I am also glad to see that Dan Gillian, president of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America is engaging in the time honored practice of FUD when a new technology comes along that threaten's his monopoly. He says that biodiesel has to be "stored in heated tanks to avoid gelling problems." What a liar! That may be the case for some biodiesel made from Waste Vegitable Oil, but it is NOT the case for Soy or Rapesead based biodiesel. It has been well below zero for the last week here in Seattle and my Touareg with B100 (WestSoy) has started faithfully every morning. Expect more of this disinformation from the entrenched petro monopolists. Come here to get the truth!

Posted by Martin at 1:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2005

BioDiesel is Ethanol 10 years ago.

Want a glimpse of the future of the BioDiesel industry? One possible scenario would be to look at the Ethanol industry. I ran across the 2005 Fuel Ethanol Industry Directory today in e-mail. Basically a yellow pages of who is who. Now it costs money, so I didn't buy the thing yet, but it is quite thick and long. Ethanol is primarilly a fuel additive today, but will be starting to push E85 as a fuel in itself. GM is coming out with more and more E85 compatible vehicles.

I, myself, am cutting directly to the chase and running B100 in my Touareg rather than mixing. But I understand that the vast majority of the country will date before they marry.

Posted by Martin at 6:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New York Distributor goes big time into Biodiesel

Thanks to Frank for this link from the Star Tribune:

<br /> NY Distributor to Bring Biodiesel Home<br />

NY Distributor to Bring Biodiesel Home

Associated Press
January 5, 2005 0105AP-BIODIESEL

NEW YORK (AP) - A major distributor of heating oil and diesel has started marketing "biodiesel" for home heating use, spurred by a new federal tax credit aimed at promoting alternative fuels.

Fred M. Schildwachter & Sons, the first New York-area terminal to market biodiesel for trucks, is offering the same fuel - a blend of 80 percent diesel and 20 percent soybean oil - to its home heating customers.

The move gives heating-oil consumers a means to lower their output of sulfur and other harmful emissions. If it catches on, the use of biodiesel could go a long way to ease the periodic supply tightness in the Northeast, the nation's main heating oil market.

Schildwachter said the American Jobs Creation Act, which went into effect Jan. 1 and provides a $1 tax credit for each gallon of soybean oil used in petroleum products, will enable it to sell its biofuel at the same price as regular home heating oil.

"People see the win-win situation of having a premium product at the same price," said Dave Schildwachter, a principal of the family owned business. "It improves the environment, because there is no sulfur in soybean; it reduces our need to import oil from the Middle East; and it helps our farmers."

Operating out of a terminal in the Bronx, Schildwachter sells about 40 million to 50 million gallons of heating oil a year to wholesalers and 5,000 and 10,000 retail customers.

Diesel, which is essentially a lower-sulfur version of regular heating oil, has long been used for heating purposes. But it's never become a true substitute for heating oil, because it costs more. The new tax credit is aimed at making biodiesel more competitive with regular diesel and could have the effect of making it competitive with heating oil as well.

Schildwachter has been aggressively marketing its biofuel, running a radio commercial in the affluent Westchester County and taking out full-color ads in major news weeklies as well as the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated.

Recently Schildwachter conducted a survey of its customers and says the response was enthusiastic. Only a few more than 100 customers had signed up as of Friday, but the company is counting on steering a larger number of its customers to the environmentally friendly fuel.

"We hope to increase the market quite a bit, but we do it one step at a time," Schildwachter said.

How big a market remains an open question. While biodiesel use has surged dramatically - the National Biodiesel Board estimates that 25 million gallons of biodiesel were sold in the United States in 2004 - it still represents less than 1 percent of the market.

The main reason is that biodiesel costs a lot more than regular diesel, according to Fred Mayes, an expert on alternative fuels at the U.S. Department of Energy. The high cost has been a "financial sacrifice for many people," Mayes said.

As a heating fuel, biodiesel will have a slightly lower heating value, but that drawback will be more than offset for by its cleaner emissions, Mayes says.

"If the price is the same, there is no reason why it could not compete fairly comfortably with regular heating oil," he said.

For now, only one other distributor is selling biodiesel for home heating - Abbott & Mills, which is based in New Jersey.

Posted by Martin at 5:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2005

Northwest is a pioneer in use of Biodiesel

Good article out today: from the DJC.COM: Alternative fuels catch on in the NW, provided by Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. One Excavator company has moved to 100% biodiesel and loves it. I wonder if he gets any LEED credits for that. He should.

Here is the full story since there was a problem with the link:

DJC.COM: Alternative fuels catch on in the NW, provided by Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

January 10, 2005

Alternative fuels catch on in the NW

Special to the Journal

Earthwise Excavation

Photo by Terry Stephens

Earthwise Excavation burns 100 percent biodiesel fuel in its equipment, including this backhoe. The fuel reduces air pollution and improves engine lubrication.

Biodiesel fuel, made from such farm-grown products as soybeans, is still part of a new frontier in the world of alternative power supplies. But a growing number of Puget Sound pioneers are using it.

The cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia are already using biodiesel fuels in truck fleets; King County Metro Transit burns the fuel in many of its buses, along with Intercity Transit; school districts use it in their bus fleets; Washington State Ferries is experimenting with it; and businesses such as Earthwise Excavation in Snohomish and Saybr Contractors in Puyallup are using it.

"The city of Tacoma is an environmental leader in this area. We're hoping their commitment to using biodiesel will help spark other communities' interest," said Linda Graham, director of the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition in Seattle. The group represents public and private agencies and businesses promoting the use of alternative fuels to reduce air pollution and the nation's dependence on imported petroleum.

Is biodiesel right for you?

Biodiesel is commonly produced from soy or canola crops, but even recycled frying oil from a local restaurant will work. The oils are usually mixed with regular diesel fuel in 20 to 50 percent blends, although the more expensive 100 percent vegetable oil fuels produce the best environmental results.
Some of the benefits:

  • Biodiesel is replenished by growing more agricultural crops

  • It’s biodegradable and nontoxic, creating no problems if it spills on the ground or gets into a water supply

  • It’s nearly carbon-neutral, dramatically reducing harmful emissions

  • Studies have shown that the lubricating benefits of biodiesel fuels reduce engine wear by as much as 50 percent

  • Three years ago, Tacoma became the first city in the Pacific Northwest to commit an entire fleet of vehicles to biodiesel when it began burning the alternative fuel in its 85 garbage and recycling trucks.

    Fleet manager Steve Hennessey said the city had explored alternative fuels for some time but found most of them were too expensive, but biodiesel fuel had only a minimally higher cost. "(It enabled) us to do the environmentally right thing without spending a lot of money," he said.

    The city has experienced no extra operation or maintenance problems in its three years of using the fuel, according to Hennessey.

    Pricey, but earth-friendly

    A 20 percent mix of vegetable oil and regular diesel in a B20 blend used by most biodiesel fuel operators in the region costs about 12 to 20 cents more per gallon than pure diesel, according to the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition, whereas B100 biodiesel usually costs over $1 more per gallon.

    But even the higher cost of B100 hasn't kept Albert Postema from using it. His business, Earthwise Excavation in Snohomish, has converted its entire fleet of 18 trucks, backhoes, bulldozers and other excavation equipment to the pure biodiesel fuel.

    "This vegetable oil fuel burns well in diesel engines, and the results are amazing," Postema said. "I was able to hook up with Alternative Fuel Works in Ballard as a supplier. We were both heading in the same direction, trying to lessen the impact on the environment from diesel fuel. By comparison with other fuels, biodiesel is almost carbon-neutral."

    Using biodiesel has multiple benefits for Earthwise.

    "It dramatically reduced air pollution, which is really good considering there are four major carcinogens in diesel exhaust," Postema said.

    ‘When we started burning biodiesel,
    all of the headaches from diesel fumes went away.’

    -- Albert Postema,

    Earthwise Excavation

    "Also, we began to notice other health benefits," he said. "Running (diesel-powered) equipment long days on a work site during the summer would often give our crews dull headaches by the end of the day. We always attributed that to working long hours on the equipment, but when we started burning biodiesel, all of the headaches from diesel fumes went away.

    "Biodiesel also eliminated the acrid smoke that often accumulated on the site. Plus, the lubricating nature of biodiesel made our engines run smoother and quieter."

    Commitment needed

    Even so, biodiesel isn't a silver bullet, Postema said.

    "Biodiesel is really impressive. Until you experience using it, you don't realize how good it is. We wouldn't ever go back to regular diesel. But you have to be committed. For one thing, we pay about $1 to $1.20 per gallon more for (100 percent) biodiesel than for regular diesel. But you have to look at the other advantages. For instance, we've gained a lot of business just because people like the idea that we're innovative and using biodiesel to improve the environment."

    Postema's soy-based biodiesel supplies come from Iowa, where multimillion-dollar processing plants have been built to produce the fuel from local crops. Postema sees that potential for Washington farmers, too.

    "Wheat farmers like to plant mustard as a cover crop in Eastern Washington, a crop that also happens to be a great source for biodiesel fuels. Eventually, there could be enough demand for wheat farmers to have almost a million acres in production for biodiesel fuels," he said.

    Terry Stephens is a freelance writer based in Arlington. He can be reached by e-mail at features@gte.net.

    Posted by Martin at 10:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 6, 2005

    Cold Flow Properties of West Central Soy

    Here is a link to the cold flow properties of West Central Soy's Biodiesel. SoyPower Home. Now that is for the standard. A couple weeks ago, West Central Soy sent some rail cars over to Seattle that had been cleaned with water and the water contaminated the batch. It caused totally different performance of the fuel. In fact the water when mixed with diesel in the Ferry system caused sludge and filter clogging. So you need to consider all the conditions of the fuel all the way to the tank. The specs of the fuel out of the processor may be (in fact almost certainly are) different than what are experienced in the field.

    Posted by Martin at 9:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 5, 2005

    Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce article on Biodiesel

    Thanks Rob for the tip!

    > Trying to make biodiesel a cash crop
    > Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
    > January 4, 2005
    > Journal Staff Reporter
    > King County has teamed with University of Washington professors and a > Yakima farmer to get a biodiesel project up and running. A grant for > $75,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping make it a > go.
    > At the demonstration site in Prosser, Benton County, byproducts from > wastewater treatment in King County are fertilizing test plots of > canola, a crop whose crushed seeds yield oil for biodiesel.
    > Like ethanol, its better known corn-based cousin, biodiesel is a mix > of vegetable oil and fossil fuels that's used to power cars and > trucks. European gas stations have sold biodiesel for more than a > decade, but high production costs in the United States have kept it > out of more than just a few cars here. But as oil prices hover around > $50 a barrel, the incentive for biodiesel grows.
    > Exhaust from vehicles that use it smells like french fries, said King > County's Doug Howell, who works on regional environmental policy.
    > "People like that." Some are using it to run their Mercedes and > Jettas.
    > King County plans to use the project to move biosolids - the > byproducts of wastewater treatment processes here - to the Yakima > Valley.
    > Sally Brown and Chuck Henry, two professors from the University of > Washington, applied for a $75,000 research grant from the USDA so they > could bring biosolids to the farm of a friend, Ted Durfey. Brown said > Durfey grows organic cherries, pears and grapes at his farm in > Sunnyside.
    > For the professors' demonstration project, Durfey planted 30 types of > canola last year. Seeds were harvested, heated and pressed to see > which kind yielded the most oil. One goal was to show farmers there > how much better crops can grow when biosolids are applied.
    > "We know it works better," said Brown, who has done lab research to > support her conclusion. "They need to see it to believe it."
    > People worry contaminants in biosolids will get into the food chain, > she said. "Citizens there think they're going to die if biosolids are > involved." Teaching them that biosolids can be safe is part of the > project, too.
    > Another goal is to get farmers to recognize canola as a cash crop. If > more grow canola, more seeds will then be available for biodiesel.
    > Peggy Leonard works in the county's wastewater treatment division and > oversees its biosolids program. She said the big picture idea is to > create a sustainable, closed-loop system: biodiesel made from canola > seeds can be used to fuel the trucks that bring the biosolids to plots > where canola is grown.
    > "We have a beautiful system here," said Howell. "We just have to make > it large scale."
    > Getting people to make the fuel a little closer to home means first > finding people that want to use it.
    > It's easier to start biodiesel programs for governments than to try to > bring private industries on board, Howell said. "Market penetration > for biodiesel into the private sector is going to be a tough nut to > crack."
    > Earlier this year, King County Metro Transit started a two-year pilot > program to use a 5 percent biodiesel blend in 325 of its 1,200 buses.
    > Blended fuel is expected to cost the transit agency an extra 6.3 cents > per gallon.
    > It might cost less if biodiesel didn't have to be shipped by railcar > from as far as Iowa, said Howell.
    > People who are interested in making biodiesel need raw materials, and > also don't want to have to go so far.
    > John Plaza is the founder of Seattle Biodiesel, which plans to > manufacture and sell biodiesel. "Ideally we want to use oil that is > grown and crushed in the Pacific Northwest," he said, "with Washington > as our main source of crop."
    > Howell cites a few other groups interested in making biodiesel, such > as the Spokane Conservation District. Baker Commodoties in Tukwila has > been looking for real estate for the last year and a half to make > biodiesel from its waste vegetable oil. Creston in Lincoln County is > looking for a facility in which to crush canola.
    > And though "backyard brewers" who cook up biodiesel in their garages > aren't certified, international standards are now in place, another > sign a biodiesel market is beginning to emerge, said Howell.
    > A recently passed bill that allows a federal tax credit for > manufacturers and distributors could be "the 800 pound gorilla" to > jumpstart a new market.
    > Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

    Posted by Martin at 1:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 4, 2005

    Results of biodiesel poll on DGC

    I was doing a poll on DGC about how much B100 people use in a month. Here are the results. I hope to get more responses on the discussion boards here.

    How much B100 do you use?
    How much B100 do you use a month?
    3 (30%)
    0-10 gallons
    0 (0%)
    10-30 gallons
    5 (50%)
    30-50 gallons
    0 (0%)
    50-100 gallons
    1 (10%)
    more than 100 gallons
    1 (10%)
    Total votes: 10
    Free Polls by BlogPolling.Com

    Posted by Martin at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Jeep Liberty CRD review

    Came out from MotorWeek in December. MotorWeek: Road Test. I am going to put this one in the pot and mix it.

    Posted by Martin at 8:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The math on the V10 TDI payback

    One user is doing the math. Looks like it takes over 10 years to pay back the TDI premium if you assume it is $8K. My experience is that it is closer to $20K. But they left out the improvement in gas mileage, so I should do that math.

    TDIClub forums: TDI Toureg resale value?

    Assuming about $8k premium over the V8, $2/gal for diesel/gas, it will take 200-250kmi to pay off the diesel option. So, it works out for the owner in the long run. Now, at say 15kmi/year driving, it will be several years in the future, and the vehicle average lifetime fuel prices might well go to $3/gal or more. At that point, the payback mileage is more like 150kmi. Not too bad for the new owner, who'll surely own the vehicle at least that long (10 years in time).

    Posted by Martin at 4:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Discussion of V10 Touareg resale value

    TDIClub forums: TDI Toureg resale value?

    Posted by Martin at 4:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I want the VW AAC

    VW has a concept car the AAC which is basically the Touareg V10 TDI with the back chopped off like an Avalanche. Volkswagen: Concept Cars. I drive an Avalanche now. I want it!

    Posted by Martin at 4:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    How a diesel engine works

    For those new to Biodiesel and Diesel in general, start here to figure out how a Diesel engine works and how it is different from a gas internal combustion engine. Howstuffworks "How Diesel Engines Work"

    Posted by Martin at 4:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Lamborghini to build Diesel-powered Gallardo?

    This from the TDI club discussion boards... TDIClub forums: Lamborghini to Build Diesel-Powered Gallardo?

    Wow. I keep wondering what VW is going to do to expand the use of the monster V10 engine and a Lambo SUV would be great! The issue is that the tourque messes up the tranny though. And the HP is 190 less than the current V12 engine at 500. There are ways to make more HP though. And a Lambo running b100??? Sweeeeeeeettttt..

    Posted by Martin at 2:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Test your Diesel IQ

    Surfing for resources on how to tune a TDI engine, I ran across this GREAT quiz from the TDIMeister! TDI Page Diesel Quiz I have ALOT to learn!

    Posted by Martin at 2:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    VW and ADM co-operating on BioDiesel?

    Was crusing the Cars.com site to compare diesel cars today and came across this ditty:

    cars.com: 2005 Volkswagen Buying Guide | Volkswagen Prices

    On a different note, Wittig announced at the 2004 Detroit auto show that Volkswagen signed a letter of agreement with Archer Daniels Midland Co. to perform joint research into biodiesel fuels. Volkswagen says it's the first time a leading car manufacturer has entered into such an agreement to develop renewable fuels for the future.

    and found some more links on this partnership:

    Posted by Martin at 9:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack