Modern Diesel engines are designed to run on Diesel fuel which is generated from fossil fuel. It has certain chemical and physical properties. If you use another fuel you have to either adapt the fuel or the fuel supply in the vehicle.
In its natural state plant oil is thicker than Diesel fuel. As proper combustion depends on a fine mist of fuel injected into the combustion chambers, the fuel has to have the same viscosity in order to get the same results. (Imagine putting a thicker liquid through your shower head which is designed for water, you would have larger drops and slower discharge.)
Plant oil can be converted to Biodiesel through a chemical process called transesterification which uses methanol and lye as catalysts which separates thicker glycerin (about 20%) from the rest of the liquid (about 80%). The thinner fluid is called Biodiesel and has very similar physical properties to Diesel. It can be poured directly into the tank of a Diesel vehicle as an additive or as straight fuel. Biodiesel is a strong solvent which can affect some rubber parts (hoses, gaskets) it comes into contact with.
We convert the car instead and enable you to use all of the oil (minus the chewy bits) without chemical processing. If you heat oil in a frying pan you will see that it becomes thinner. We use engine heat and some electrical heat to lower the viscosity of plant oil so that it can be combusted properly. The most versatile option is a two-tank system where you can start a cold engine on Diesel or Biodiesel and then switch over to straight plant oil once operating temperature has been achieved.
The good news is we can get you everything you need to run your Diesel engine on plant oil. However, every car or truck is slightly different and may have different fuel supply requirements.
We want to make it convenient for you by offering complete conversions or assist you by supplying parts, consultation and service. We consistently develop and adapt products as well.
For a two-tank system you will need a second tank. Polyethylene plastic tanks are usually the most economical option and fit in the trunks of many vehicles. If you want to hide your tank away—which is definitely more elegant—you will probably look at a customized aluminium tank.
Depending on your climate you may also consider an in-tank coolant heater. We design and produce many custom tank solutions with integrated heaters.
Heat and Filtration
To ensure the right fuel temperature we also have electric inline heaters (Vegtherm).
To switch between the different fuels, we supply electric solenoid three- or six-port valves. Most vehicles will operate well with a single six-port valve, however, for complete separation of fuels two three-port valves can be used with a timed delay. (Note: Diesel engines have a fuel supply and a return line, which means that you need two lines per fuel and two connecting with the engine injection system.)
There are a number of options depending on your vehicle, your climate and your convenience. They range from extra heaters to fuel gauges to fully computerized operation of the system.
Unfortunately, there are very few convenient fuel stations that supply vegetable oil for your car or truck. Oil is used in great quantities in the food industry and we recommend you establish a mutually-beneficial relationship with a local restaurant. We have all sorts of accessories for oil collection and pre-filtering.
You will find lots of information on the following websites:
in Canada http://www.plantdrive.ca
in the USA http://www.plantdrive.com