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04-02-2019, 14:05   #1
frost
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Veg oil car conversion

We need a 4wd pickup truck or similar vehicle for our organic farm, but we would like to mitigate its environmental impact as much as possible.

One possibility is converting an older diesel pickup truck to run on pure veg oil. I've seen some articles that say some biofuels pollute as much as diesel and also there is an issue with displacement of food crops. Haven't seen anything definitive, and some of it is related to biodiesel and not pure veg oil, so if anyone has heard other views/scientific results, I'd appreciate it.

Looking into the pure veg oil thing, I can't find anyone in Ireland currently still trading that does the engine conversions, and more importantly, don't see any veg oil suppliers still in business here. Anyone have a link that has eluded my google searches?
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04-02-2019, 14:12   #2
Tacitus Kilgore
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Depending on the vehicle there could be no requirement to convert anything, most older IDI diesels will run on pure veg oil with no changes (except for keeping a few fuel filters handy for the first few thousand KMs as the veg oil can drag a lot of crap up from the tank.

I use it, however I only run on it during summer as winter can be a pain with additional pre-heating of fuel sometimes needed.

You can buy veg oil anywhere that's cheap, when it's on offer in tesco/lidl etc can be a good time but going with trolley loads of it is a bit of a PITA.

Revenue & the legality is another question, AFAIK it's about as legal to run a vehicle on veg oil as if on green diesel - i.e. not legal at all.
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04-02-2019, 14:19   #3
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Thanks, glad to hear it is at least possible.

That said, it sounds like it might not suit us, at least not without a conversion because we do need the vehicle in the winter too.
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04-02-2019, 14:20   #4
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Originally Posted by Tacitus Kilgore View Post
Revenue & the legality is another question, AFAIK it's about as legal to run a vehicle on veg oil as if on green diesel - i.e. not legal at all.
Yes I've heard that in theory you are supposed to notify Revenue and pay them for every litre of veg oil you pour into your tank!
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04-02-2019, 14:27   #5
TheBoyConor
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More hassle than it is worth tbh. Veg oil is thicker and thus will not atomise and burn as well as regular diesel so it'll be a smokier fuel.

Add in the comlications with cold starting, switchable fuel supply for startup and shutdown in cold weather or preheating of fuel, and the unkowns with regard to how fuel system components, rubbers and plastics especially, will react to the new fuel will all affect the reliability of it.

Unless you are doing serious milage, then it's not worth the effort.
And as said, if it is on road use, it'll be illegal anyway.

WVO/RVO might make some kind of sense for the likes of large generators, pumps, static machinery that runs for many many hours on end day after day, week after week. For small road vehicles it is pretty much a whole load of hassle and messing and time wasting for negligible savings. It's the realm of home mechanics and experimentalists.

The biodiesel and VO market basically shut down when it was realised that instead of converting a % of the fleet into biodiesel motors, you could just blend the same target volume of biodiesel into mineral diesel and work away with normal engines. Same large scale result, less complications.

Last edited by TheBoyConor; 04-02-2019 at 14:31.
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04-02-2019, 14:28   #6
Tacitus Kilgore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frost View Post
Thanks, glad to hear it is at least possible.

That said, it sounds like it might not suit us, at least not without a conversion because we do need the vehicle in the winter too.
Sorry I should have been clearer - it still wouldn't need a conversion, you would just run a 50/50 or 60(D)/40(VO) mix in winter - all you would really need is to be sure that all heater plugs are working to their best.

If you look at early to mid 90's diesel vehicles you'll be safe enough, if it was for example: an old 2.4 hilux or a 2.5 pajero - they'll run on nearly anything that burns "them yokes would run on turf mauld" is an expression used around my parts for instance.

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Yes I've heard that in theory you are supposed to notify Revenue and pay them for every litre of veg oil you pour into your tank!
Self assessed, can't go wrong I guess.
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04-02-2019, 14:47   #7
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Possibly would work OK by blending. But do you really want to have the hassle of blending diesel and VO and having to deal with all the measuring, mixing and general messing and fluting around that all that will entail? By the time you've the taxes declared and paid and the time wasted on all the messing you'll have nothing saved.

Mixing and storing the fuels will also require you to have proper and safe facilities for doing so and dealing with any spills if you are doing it as part of a commercial enterprise such as a farm.

If you are buying it in bottles or drums, you are going to wind up with a lot of empties that will have to be handled, stored and disposed of somehow. At a cost.
If you are getting waste veg oil it'll be manky and you'll have to have a pretty good filtering set up to extract all the filth and water. Then too, you have to buy set up and maintain all that kit and again, handle, store, transport and dispose of all the crud and waste filters. At a cost. You'd probably also have to have a waste licence/permit.

If you are doing substantial milage, then you will generate a significant amount of waste. If you are doing small milage, then it's hardly worth the effort in equipment and time.

You see where I'm going with this?
It's an awful lot of work for little if any saving.

And for just running a farm jeep, an awful draw on your time. You'd be a busy fool.

You'd probably make better savings/gains by investing the time and effort into improving other aspects of your farming enterprise.
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04-02-2019, 14:56   #8
frost
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It's an awful lot of work for little if any saving.
Yes it does sound like more work than we need! Note that "saving" isn't our chief priority with this, it is reduction of the environmental impact of running a big diesel vehicle. That said, I still hear you that it is a lot of time and effort.
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04-02-2019, 15:09   #9
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You could instead try to achieve the same overall emissions mitigation by trying to source a fuel supplier who can offer diesel with a higher than normal blend of biodiesel in their fuel. If you could use that across all your machinery and the jeep then you could achieve the same overall outcome with none of the work. For example, if you were running a medium sized tractor on a 10% biodiesel blend you might have a bigger emissions reduction that using VO in an old jeep.

Regular diesel, whether "road" or "green" can have up to 7% biodiesel blended into it. So depending on your current supplier, you might already be using a substantial quantity of biodiesel without even realising it.
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20-02-2019, 19:32   #10
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Maybe engine modification isn't required if you produce better quality fuel.
There's a lot of info online about the treatment of veg oil for use as fuel. "Transesterification" (I had to look it up.)
There were companies selling small volume kits for private use.
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20-02-2019, 19:37   #11
gctest50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frost View Post

We need a 4wd pickup truck or similar vehicle for our organic farm, ...........
*you need to check this*

If you decide to just run it on green diesel :


If it has been registered for road use you can be done for filling it with green diesel even if it's just parked in the farmyard
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07-03-2019, 11:03   #12
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I think you'd be better off sourcing a reliable petrol engine 4x4 and converting to LPG. Hopefully in the near future we might start producing more gas from biomass, which would probably be even less environmentally negative than running veg oil.
It'll be hard to find a pickup type in petrol though, but you'll get a good condition petrol Forrester for little money and just use a trailer.
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