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The Elsbett SVO conversion workshop took place last weekend in Pittsboro NC, but my Jetta remained an innocent bystander. For now, software issues block the Elsbett path for VW TDI Pumpe Düse diesels newer than 2003. Still, I decided to attend the workshop as an observer and photograph the process for future reference should I decide to convert an older TDI. Here's my report.
(Thanks to BrevardBiodieseler Jim for this comprehensive trip write-up and photos!)
Update: More details on the workshop at the Piedmont Biofuels website.
Heads up (thanks for the A-Lert from George) - An episode of Dirty Jobs on The Discovery Channel is airing again tonight called Bio-Diesel-Man. It will also re-air on or around the 29th of October.
TiVo description is "turning cooking oil into a gasoline alternative". Well okay that isn't quite correct but close enough for TV Guide accuracy?
If anything interesting is shown I'll post again with details.
10/27 post viewing:
Just finished watching - very nice job! They packed in all the key points and covered the WVO -> Biodiesel process from collection, through titration, test batch, and final conversion. It didn't look like there were any washing done. They did not mention what this user does with his glycerine byproduct. I didn't notice any technical inaccuracies which can be a problem when trying to present the information to the public in one quick swoop. Well worth the view.
I installed a Linear-Logic "ScanGauge" in my 2004 TDI Jetta to try and help gather additional mileage data for future biodiesel reports.
. The ScanGauge scans the built-in car computer to gather and report various engine and fuel data, along with a trip computer function.
Read on for review...
The new 2006 mileage ratings from the EPA place Volkswagen diesel powered vehicles in 4 of the top 10 spots. No other manufacturer has more than 2 spots.
Volkswagen New Beetle and Golf (diesel, manual) -- 37/44
Volkswagen Jetta (diesel) -- 36/41
Volkswagen New Beetle and Jetta(diesel, automatic) -- 35/42
Volkswagen Golf (diesel, automatic) -- 33/44
Here is the full 2006 Fuel Economy Guide.
The diesel section of the guide notes:
"Diesel-powered vehicles typically get 30-35% more miles per gallon than comparable vehicles powered by gasoline. Diesel engines are inherently more energy efficient, and diesel fuel contains 10% more energy per gallon than gasoline. In addition, new advances in diesel engine technology have improved performance, reduced engine noise and fuel odor, and decreased emissions of harmful air pollutants. New low-sulfur diesel fuels available beginning in 2006 will help reduce emissions from these vehicles even more."
Woody Harrelson was on CBS Late Night with David Letterman last night and they talked about biodiesel a bit. Here is my attempt at a transcript of that part of the interview:
W: The main thing we gotta do is get off fossil fuels. *Applause* Fossil fuels are really destructive.
D: That would then start a reduction in the rising temperature?
Is that the way that would work?
W: Well it would take a while before it will effect it. It seems like this darn oligarchy that calls itself our executive branch and all the people associated with them are making a lot of money. *Applause* So I think it's going to take a while to turn around. But I do know a lot of people who...You know you can buy a Mercedes that is diesel engine, or any kind of diesel car and you can run biodiesel.
D: What is biodiesel?
W: Biodiesel is vegetable oil along with ethanol or methanol and some kind of pH balancer. Rudolf Diesel, when he designed that engine, he meant for it to run off of vegetable oil from the farmers. I don't think he imagined the petrochemical industry taking over the world.
D: Do you drive one of these cars you can run the biodiesel on?
W: Yeah, I have a Volkswagen. I didn't have to adapt the engine at all and it runs off of biodiesel.
D: And where does one get biodiesel?
W: Well, you know, we have a website called voiceyourself.com, my wife and I,and we can help direct you to biodiesel in your neighborhood - hopefully.
D: Is it expensive?
W: Well now that the price of gas has skyrocketed. It's a lot more reasonable and it's actually less than regular gas or regular diesel.
D: You know, it's nice to see somebody living their commitment, it's
W: Thank you Dave!
D: You're quite welcome.
I picked up a copy of MAKE Magazine Vol. 3 at the bookstore. Inside, there is an 8+ page how-to guide for small batch (1 litre) biodiesel production. This guide is the best all-in-one version I have seen, with coverage of inputs, procedures including titration and washing, and outputs. Nice job! I paid the $14.99 sticker price, but you can get it thru Amazon for around $10. (This issue also has sections on Cold Fusion, adding a Mac Mini into a Volkswagen GTI, turning a vehicle into a mobile WiFi Hotspot, VCR powered cat feeder, spud-gun, and a lot more).
Back to biodiesel - the article was put together by Rob Elam of Propel Fuels in Seattle and based on articles by Girl Mark in the Energy Self-Sufficiency Newsletter.
(Propel fuels looks like an interesting business for helping commercial biodiesel startups.)
Followup: Audio interview with article available here. (When he says "more viscous" he meant "less viscous").
10kw at .3 gallons diesel/biodiesel per hour.
Note the magnets used in the sump to collect small metal bits and his use of an auto muffler.
One of these days Jim of BrevardBiodiesel will have his Lister cranked up and running on biodiesel!
The "Sunshine State" came through with no rain today at the well attended Volkstoberfest VII. We manned a booth to provide information about biodiesel to attendees. .
I'd estimate we handed out 50 flyers which was a great show of interest.
We also used a new magnetic/vinyl mat on the car hood to display information about the vehicle. I think this made a great presentation and conveyed the basic information at a glance to passersby.
Many of the visitors were already aware of biodiesel, some had never heard of it. There were also very cool VW's to see!
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