Next fill of biodiesel - andymc {P}
I thought I'd start this thread seeing as how there's been a bit of discussion of biodiesel in a thread I had originally started on a different topic, and the "First fill of biodiesel" thread is getting a bit long.

Hi HF. My, you were burning the midnight oil last night! To respond to your post, TD stands for turbo-diesel. The fact that yours is a D rather than a TD just means that your diesel engine isn't turbocharged. In simple terms, turbocharging means that the exhaust gases from burning the fuel are used to make the engine go faster. That fact that your car is 11 years old doesn't mean it can't use biodiesel, just that it probably has fuel lines and seals made of natural rubber, which can be corroded by biodiesel. However, at this age the rubber is very likely to be so vulcanised (hardened) by now as to be impervious to a nuclear bomb.

The thing is, ULSD (ultra-low sulphur diesel) has exactly the same corroding effect on natural rubber. Its introduction in the mid-90s meant that all the manufacturers started using synthetic rubber for the lines and seals in diesel engines. That's why I said that if your car can take ULSD without any ill-effects, it should be able to take biodiesel as well. Also, it's not expensive to replace fuel lines with newer synthetic ones should this ever start to happen, whatever you're fuelling your car on.

There are actually a number of sources of biodiesel around the mainland. Have a look at these two sites to see if there are any near you:
www.biofuels.fsnet.co.uk/biobiz.htm
www.biodieselfillingstations.co.uk/outlets.htm
The type of biodiesel can vary between them - some sell a blend of 5% biodiesel and 95% ordinary diesel, which is just like what is sold in every filling station in France. Some is biodiesel which has been produced in the same way as mine is, ie by reacting used filtered cooking oil with methanol and lye, which takes out all the waxes, tallows and lacquers that can sometimes gum up injectors. Some is even a mix of filtered fresh vegetable oil and diesel, although this isn't technically biodiesel and may go under a different name. If there is someone near you who can supply it, then you can ask them what kind of fuel they make.

Your fuel injector pump could be a rotary pump, but is more likely to be an inline pump. Can anyone confirm the kind of fuel pump a 1992 Vauxhall Astra with the Isuzu diesel engine has?

You're very welcome, by the way - I like to share what knowledge I have because I also get a lot more than I provide, here and elsewhere.

Bazza - as far as I remember, ULSD was actually introduced about nine years ago under EU legislation. You're right that there were concerns over the reduction in sulphur leading to additional wear of injection pumps, which has been addressed here by adding other chemicals as lubricants. As you say, the French decided to put around 5% biodiesel into their ULSD specifically for the purposes of lubrication, which has the additional benefit of supporting their domestic agricultural sector. Now why can't that be done here, I wonder. Ah yes - the government couldn't find its rear end with both hands and a flashlight.

The thing is, a bottle of cooking oil would be a lot to put in your tank as a lubricant and would more than likely cause your injectors to clog up over time, as well as putting more strain on your fuel pump due to increased viscosity of the fuel. Cooking oil/vegetable oil is not the same as biodiesel, which is physically and chemically altered to become a different substance. It is possible to adapt your engine to run on neat vegetable oil by installing a pre-heating system with a second small fuel tank of derv or biodiesel for start-up and switch-off, but the fact that you can put biodiesel straight in without making any such alterations means that it's probably the best compromise for now.

It's not actually illegal to run on cooking oil, whatever the quantity - it's just that you have to register with C&E to pay the fuel duty on the cooking oil you use as fuel. If you pay 35p a litre for the oil and 28p a litre for the fuel duty, then you can still save a lot of money.
Next fill of biodiesel - andymc {P}
Oh - I checked this just after posting the above. Apparently the Honda Civic with the Isuzu diesel engine can use biodiesel that meets the EN590 standard, which is the 5% blend. So long as that's the same Isuzu diesel engine as in the Astra, then you should be fine HF!
Next fill of biodiesel - HF
Wow, andymc,

Many thanks for all that!

That is exactly the non-tech, explanation-for-dummies type of reply that I needed!! I really am grateful, I'm beginning to understand all these points now.

Unfortunately, having checked out both the web addresses you mentioned, there is nothing near enough to me to make biodiesel a worthwhile option at the moment. For some reason they seem to be few and far between in the south, but more common in the north. Hopefully this will spread across the country over time.

Thanks also for the engine information - if I ever happen to go past a biodiesel seller then I'd give it a try, just to see what happens!

I won't try to reply in any more depth at this point andy, because I'll just make a fool of myself, but again many thanks for the info, it is much appreciated and is really something I need to print out and learn a little more from!

Thank you.
HF
Next fill of biodiesel - HF
PS Yes I have nearly run out of midnight oil now - any idea where I can get some more on the cheap? ;)
HF
Next fill of biodiesel - andymc {P}
Hah! Looks like it's me burning the midnight oil now. I'm still up as I feel vaguely let down by a rather disappointing last ever episode of the X Files. Oh well.

I just wanted to respond by saying that if there aren't any biodiesel suppliers in your area you could always try making it yourself (grins mischievously). Just make sure you have protective clothing, goggles, mask and gloves, and get rid of the first initial in your signature! Seriously though, if you want to find out more you can have a look at these sites:

www.biofuels.fsnet.co.uk/sustain.htm - looks at lots of alternative fuel options, concludes biodiesel is one of the most viable

www.veggiepower.org.uk/ - excellent source of information, including various methods of making it, safety information, emissions information, etc

biodiesel.infopop.net - global discussion forum with lots of helpful contributors for both veggie oil as fuel and biodiesel

www.veggievan.org/index.html - site of a guy who helped to popularise the idea in the US, drove a van across the country fuelled only by fuel he made en route

journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_mike.html - more information on making your own, community projects, etc

You can also have a look for the "First fill of biodiesel" thread which I started a few months ago in the Technical forum. Happy browsing!
Next fill of biodiesel - HF
Hi Andy,

Thanks for your post - I see you need to start gettng to bed earlier too ;)

I've been browsing, for quite some time now, and it's all very interesting. From what your sites say, biodiesel certainly seems to be one of the few viable alternatives for the future - and I wonder why it is not more prominent in the UK - all those rapeseed fields giving me hayfever are certainly in abundance round here!

Don't think I'll be making my own yet, though, particularly having read the last site you mentioned - sounds just a little hazardous, to put it lightly!!

Thanks for the info,
HF
PS I followed your thread in Tech (yes I do go in there for a read/education session, although most of it is beyond me) ever since you first started it, that's what prompted me to ask questions here.
 

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