I think the movement/industry can handle the momentary lapse of high oil prices.
I also think it can get past the "biofuels=cause of all evil" bad p.r. - heck, I'm counting on that making things more sustainable, which is a good thing.
But I'm not so sure about how we deal with the fact that nearly all, if not all, of the new diesel technologies come with emissions packages that are incompatible with biodiesel. I've already seen problems with Dodge trucks (oil dilution), heard of problems with 2008 Fords, and after reading about VW issues in the latest issue of biodieselSMARTER, I'm starting to freak out.
Read the article.
Here's the comment that I will post as soon as the webmaster fixes biodieselSMARTER's comment system:
So, your turn. How worried should we be?This message has been edited. Last edited by: kumar,
While the loss of the TDI is disappointing, I'm not concerned about the seeming lack of initiative among diesel engine manufacturers on biodiesel.
Necessity is truly the mother of invention. With new engine management technologies, another easy to produce biofuel will be developed to work with these engines.
As long as there is a collusion between oil companies and auto manufacturers, there will always be difficulty in using biofuels in their products.
It just makes me even more determined to keep my old IDI and bus running, to prove that biodiesel will cause no harm to a diesel engine and to further prove that just because something is old doesn't mean you throw it away.
The auto industries are enormous juggernauts, it can take decades for them to implement a huge design change. Now whether this is procedural or mental inertia is an argument outside this forum reply.
I say we just keep plugging away and make fuel for another 'rainy day' when petroleum prices spike yet again and we're telling people what they should have been doing all along.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
Indeed. We could stand to take a lesson from Cuba, where pre-revolution 1950s American automobiles are still working just great. Of course, there's incentive. Given the choice, would you rather drive the car on the right (a more recent Soviet Lada), or one of the three ancient American "boats" to the left?
Well since I'm very familiar with the "Stovebolt Six" that is undoubtedly in the two Chevies illustrated, I'll take the old US cars.
No computers, can be fixed with 5 open end wrenches and their sockets and still get reasonable mileage, what more could you ask for? The brakes and steering weren't the best but those can be easily updated.
I see what looks like an old DeSoto there, parts are going to be a royal pain to get, but there's no reason why an updated (even diesel) power train couldn't be installed.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
Crazy emissions regs and equipment are the wave of the future, not much we can do there. People think im nuts for investing so much time and money into a mechanical dinosaur but its the last year before they went to electronic engine management, EGR and everything else. With more complexity it becomes more difficult to repair, modify and experiment with.
Post injection events with fuel in the engine is the big culprit in oil contamination. Maybe you can get one that mounts an injector in the exhaust for the DPF.
Im not even sure if a DPF is compatible or not.. IS there is sulphur present in veggie oil?
Seems like the moral of the story is, right now there isnt much choice except to collect old diesels.
I have an '89 Toyota 3.4L TDI, non-computer control, built for the Japanese domestic market.
With a canola/kerosene/naphtha/ULSD blended fuel it achieves 1% opacity and 9ppm HC. These emissions are less than or equal to modern computerized diesel engines. The Japanese had stringent emissions standards 20 years ago and didn't need computerized gimmicks to meet them. Most of these 'modern' emissions standards are more political than real.
There's a lot we can do. Vote with your wallet, refuse to participate. Buy an older simpler vehicle, keep it well maintained and it will last for at least half a million miles before it needs an engine overhaul. Keeping older vehicles running clean and efficient is way cheaper than buying a new POS which won't last much beyond the warranty period before it becomes a money pit. New is not better.This message has been edited. Last edited by: john galt,
For reasons that are far beyond my grasp,
Our country has chosen to alienate one of our nearest neighbors since before I was even born.
Don't you think that after nearly 50 years, it is time to put aside grudges, and start working together to solve our differences. Especially now that the previous ruler is about ready to start pushing up daisies.
Who knows what kind of a drive train those cars have in them. The could have anything from Russian Diesels to being more like the Russian car on the right. In fact, I'd bet that at least some of the parts would match in the Russian cars.
As far as cars...
We now have a President Elect that at least supported biodiesel while out on the campaign trail.
And a current congress that has a weak majority in the party of the President Elect that claimed to support biodiesel.
And a future congress with a strong majority in his party.
We have 3 HUGE Auto manufacturers who are now headed back to Washington DC to beg for a $25,000,000,000.00 loan.
Talk to your congressmen.
Write to your congressmen.
Tell them what you want for bio fuel support.
I sent this note to my congressmen...
And followed it with a similar note to Obama.
In a world of stubborn, obstinate people those grudges are quite often permanent. Without getting too political, once that type of mental programming is drilling into their respective societies 'leaders' it trickles down and stays there. While it's a noble tenet, people in this world who are unwilling to change their way of thinking to working and caring for their fellow human being are going to taint the rest of society and worse still attain political power. I'm reminded of the bible scripture of Ecclesiastes 8:9b = 'man has dominated man to his injury'.
As for the vehicle question, I'm not too sure if those old US have very many Russian car parts. IIRC, the Cubanos have been extremely resourceful in keeping those cars serviceable and remember too, they don't drive as much as done here up north, furthering the life of those automobiles.
On the opacity issue, I'm with you John, the previous diesels, including my F250 had/have very low smoke when in tune. I just had the emissions done on my truck today and the opacity was .5% and that's with the straight ULSD fuel. It was barely readable when biodiesel was run through there the last time.
As for alternative fuels for NA leaders to consider, I'm not a fan of ethanol. It has makes for lower fuel mileage and the energy return is no where near biodiesel or even biogas/methane. I think everyone gets on the alcohol bandwagon because they know that in another form they can consume it by drinking it's natured form.
I was asked one time why I was so interested and building a methane digester, I told them that everything poops and that poopgas is really free power. I've yet to find anyone who can counter that reasoning point. With all the cities here with waste treatment plants, stock yards and other yard waste terminals/landfills, that biogas alone would put a large dent in liquid petroleum dependance.
Spark engines really like methane. Just look at the longevity of propane powered vehicles. But unlike propane, the calorific content of methane is higher than gasoline and then you don't have to have complex fuel injection systems, attendant computers, catalytic converters since the by-products are CO2 and H20 vapor.
Biodiesel and biogas are going to be the way to go IMHO. I plan on driving my '73 Dodge and '73 Mercedes on biogas as soon as humanly and monetarily possible.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
Stop making body parts from heavy steel that rusts away in much of the country where salt is used on roads in the winter. Body parts can be made from recycled plastic, like the Saturn for example. The damaged body part could be turned in for credit and recycling when a new part is purchased.
Build vehicles to last, not to be thrown away when they're no longer 'fashionable'.
The unrestrained marketing propaganda that drives the throw away society needs to be controlled.
Amen to that John, but they can't get themselves away from profits and 'planned obsolescence'.
I say it's groups like us who are truly thinking ahead.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
...and look where it got them. Will the 'new' economy force them to change? It remains to be seen eh?
There is some merit in writing to the President-elect and members of Congress. However, long mind numbing lists like posted above aren't going to do anything. We're communicating with busy people with short attention spans. Don't complain, but instead offer positive action to be taken. For each letter pick no more than three best points, present them clearly and concisely, and follow up with an e-mail, then a phone call. Keep at them until you get a conversation addressing the points you've raised.
I'm still waiting for Honda to bring their diesel Accord & Civic to this side of the pond....
I haven't heard if they're going to be Bio compatible or not, but if Honda is smart....they'll find a way to make it work.
I'd much rather drive a Honda over a VW anyday.
Every VW I've ever owned has had either electrical, mechanical, or engine related problems.
Granted, the ones I've owned are kind of old (all diesels too), but I've heard of lots of people having electrical problems.
One day on my daily commute I used to drive (in my trusty Honda Accord), I started counting the # of newer VW's with tail lights out or brake lights stuck on. The number was staggering. It was almost 1/3rd of them!
Granted, I like Toyota & all as well, but now owning 2 of them, I'm amazed at how thin the dang sheet-metal is on them! Bump em with your elbow the wrong way & you can put a dent in one of them! C'mon! What ever happened to thicker sheet metal?
Heck, the sheet metal on my old Isuzu Diesel pickup was thicker than this stuff!
I'd love it if Isuzu could bring their diesel pickups back to US shores as well. I'd be one of those lined up to get one.
I'm really bummed that anything post 2007 EPA diesels are struggling so bad with Bio. I've said it before, I think that the EPA went overboard on the Tier II Bin 5 Diesel Standards.
It never made sense to me why now we have "supposedly" more environmentally friendly vehicles that get worse fuel mileage and have less power because of that DPF sticking in the tail pipe.
I've already seen performance shops selling DPF blanks (a diesel particulate filter that LOOKS like one, but if you cut it open...there's nothing inside!) Hah! I love it!
I've talked to a few people that have done it & the results are great! Now they can actually tap into that extra power the Big 3 had to put into all their new diesel engines to keep them on par with pre-2007 enines.
Anyway, that's my $0.02 cents...
Still waiting for the Honda Accord Diesel to hit US Shores....
I believe that DPFs are the same type of useless emissions equipment that was thrown onto cars in the 1970's. Most of those bits didn't really help the engine, about the only person who made any real money on them were the vacuum hose manufacturers.
Graydon, on the German car electrical issues, I"m not sure if they still do this but most German electrical wiring was something like 99% pure copper. It's great for conductivity but it's very very ductile and with repeat movement like in doors and vibrations it will work itself in two, breaking continuity. My '73 Mercedes 450SLC had some of those problems. I would hope that VW, BMW, Mercedes and the like have chosen something a little more rational but who knows?
I backed into a 2001 Jetta and just by moving 1/2mph I did 1700 bucks of damage to that coworker's car. The insurance covered it and everything, but sheesh, 1700 bucks!?
If you think Tier II Bin 5 diesel standards are tough try Tier IVi standards. These are for off road diesels but man their tough to meet. It's rapidly becoming apparent that the EPA is out of control in an attempt to either please everyone or strangle them, I'm not sure which yet.
If everyone drives sensibly and not like a maniac (like that will ever happen), air quality will greatly improve and they'll be able to get where they need to go.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
Well, at some point it would be nice to have a car in which everything actually works!!!!!!
But, I also have a lot of troubles justifying $30K for a shiny new car.
Not counting taxes and etc... I could spend 6 months full time rebuilding one of my current vehicles, and probably still save money over buying a new car.
Some of the issues are:
The car manufacturers could easily make a "million mile alternator"
And also make a "million mile starter"
Or... at least make it trivial to replace the brushes without even removing the starter/alternator. Build the exhaust system from thick stainless steel.
I have no doubt that one could design 20+ year hoses.
And, for those items that might wear out, design the car so that they are accessible and easy to fix. There is no reason that a transmission problem should be $1,000 + to repair, or a simple clutch replacement should cost over $500.
I managed to sludge up the oil pick-up on my Ford Ranger. I believe that the oil pickup tube was intentionally designed to be a "sludge-trap". So, once it got in there, there was absolutely no way to get it to drain or flush back out. And, of course, that one simple part is a pain in the keister to get out!!!!!! Thank god the motel I was stuck at let me do "a little work on my car".
Don't confuse your gasses.
Methane = Natural Gas (NG) = CH4
Ethane = CH3-CH3 = C2H6
Propane = Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) = CH3-CH2-CH3 = C3H8
Butane = CH3-CH2-CH2-CH3 = C4H10
The problem with Methane is that it is difficult to store in quantity. You can liquefy it, but it must be kept cold and under extreme pressure. And you should take care to purify it before compressing/liquefying.
Propane liquefies under relatively low pressure, and thus is easy to store, transport, and refill. Unfortunately, I think methane is much easier to produce from scratch.
I don't know if short chain hydrocarbons (methane/ethane/propane/butane) are any better than gasoline, with the exception that they can be stored indefinitely without significant degradation. Thus, they are good for backup generators. They also burn very cleanly and essentially can not smoke unless you are burning oil.
Yes methane is difficult to liquify, but even under 300psi, it can be stored in propane tanks. Product from a methane digester should be bubbled through lime water to remove hydrogen sulfides (which is the smelly part).
Methane is ideal for use in spark ignition engines, you get a nice firm push rather than a huge bang gasoline and methane has a very high octane rating like propane. IIRC, propane has an octane rating of 105 or there about. With a higher compression ratio in the engine, greater thermal efficiency is achieved.
I am well aware of the chemical composition of petroleum and other gases.
Short chain hydrocarbon gases will combust more readily than longer chains.
Harold Bate in the UK had his old Hillman Manx running on what he called 'chicken power'. Using a home made digester and a methane regulator of his own design, he was able to get rather good mileage and really extend the life of his automobiles. He would often just fill inner tubes with the gas and use them as low pressure fuel tanks.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
Methane Powered engines are sluggish....
My dad, and both brothers own Ford CNG converted pickup trucks.
When they have the CNG going and you romp on it, it's like an old 4 barrel carburetor when you dump the gas...Kind of a stutter and then it takes off.
Switch em over to Gas though & romp on it & you can chirp the rear wheels.
So, yeah, Methane (which basically is what CNG is--compressed natural gas; which is a methane gas), is nice & all, but it drives quite a bit differently.
However, using it will prolong the life of the engine....if you can get a Ford to hold together that long.
All three of their trucks have had mechanical & electrical problems though (unrelated to the CNG). I'm flat out convinced Ford just plain can't build a truck right anymore or they're just plain building them for planned obsolescence.
Bearings, front axle shafts, wheel bearings, U-joints, spark-plugs that pop out of the cylinder (there's a class action lawsuit over that particular issue), dash lights that work intermittently, and a whole host of other problems on their trucks (AND THEY AREN'T THAT OLD!!! 2001, 2002, and a 2000).
Here's a pic of the trucks:
Like my brother puts it, "I don't get why people put up with this crap!"
Whenever he talks to fellow Ford truck owners it's always, "Yep! I just changed out my front tie-rods today." or "Yep. Just swapped out my injectors" or "Yep! The tranny is going on mine...I'm due for a rebuild".
It's foreign to him because he's had Toyota's for the past few years & just "doesn't get" all this crappy stuff falling apart on his Ford.
I personally gave up owning any of "The Big 3" years ago. My last few cars were all foreign and I loved them! (Honda Accord, Isuzu Diesel Pickup, Toyota Minivan, Toyota Pickup).
Well, except for the VW's....the Vanagon had electrical problems and the Jetta was just an electrical nightmare. The Rabbit I had about 5 years back was nutso too in the electrical department.
I personally hope that they don't bail their sorry butts out.....my thought is let the free market economy work. Heck, maybe they'll learn that it's finally time to start COMPETING with the rest of the world when it comes to building decent cars.
The reason they're failing is partly due to the Union Workers issue, but the biggest reason is BECAUSE TOO MANY PEOPLE QUIT BUYING THEIR POS CARS!!!!
Toyota overcame GM I believe last year as the largest automaker in the world.
I still don't think we should've done the big 700 billion bail out on the banks either. Did you hear how as soon as that went through one of the CEO's pulled his $27 Million Golden Parachute? (you know, at OUR tax expense?)
Sheesh! Let em fail! It'll give em all a chance to restructure & start over....maybe one of them will get off their high horse & figure out how to build a diesel engine that'll run on Bio too while they're at it.
I'm still rooting for Mahindra to get their small diesel pickup into the states.
I believe that LPG and CNG are commonly used in Europe, and there are automotive filling stations for them in Italy.
If I remember right, it took about the same time to fill a tank with LPG as with gasoline. But, it was supposed to take a half an hour or so to fill it with CNG. I suppose it depends on quantity and pressure.
Certainly home-made NG would be good for stoves and etc around the house.
You could probably build your methane digester into your septic tank. In theory, rather than venting traps to the air, you could vent them back to the septic tank/digester. I'd probably put in valves in case someone wanted to undo the work in the future.
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