Archive for November, 2008

Alaska’s First Diesel-Electric Hybrid School Bus.

November 27, 2008

adn-diesel-electric-busAccording to the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Truck Center (Cascadia International LLC) is lending UAA an IC-Corp diesel-electric hybrid school bus for cold-weather real world testing.  Enova Systems provides the hybrid system for the school bus. (Gas 2.0 has a nice blog entry on these buses.)

According to another ADN article, Denali National Park tested the bus during the summer with mixed results.  Denali had previously run extensive biodiesel trials in the park.  I haven’t heard any biodiesel connection with this new diesel-hybrid, but combining renewable local fuel with hybrid efficiencies is worth making a few phone calls.   We’ll keep you updated.

Veg On!

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Book Review: Greasy Rider – another vegoil roadtrip.

November 20, 2008

Greasy Rider Book Cover“Two dudes, one fry-oil-powered car, and a cross-country search for a greener future.”  Greasy Rider (the book) by Greg Melville has a lot in common with Greasy Rider (the film): two guys, a Greasecar-converted SVO Mercedes, and interviews with locals across the country.  But it’s different guys, a different car, and different interviews, so don’t be confused.  The film is pure SVO stories while the book uses the vegoil roadtrip as a vehicle to cover a number of green energy topics.

It’s not a technical book.  The vegoil stories focus mostly on the driver’s personal difficulties finding and processing vegoil during the trip.  As for the rest of the book, the chapters alternate between general roadtrip tidbits – geographical and personal – and renewable energy focused side-trips.  The first side-trip was to Greasecar, and it paints a good picture of the scene there.  Later side-trips cover green building, wind power, and a “green” Wal*Mart versus a “green” Google.

The author of Greasy Rider (the book) is a magazine travel-writer, and it shows.  The writing is light – great for an airplane read – but a little too light for my tastes.  If you’re a huge fan of travel-writing or a vegetable-oil-fuel freak you’ll probably enjoy it.

Veg On!

B10 at 10 degrees.

November 5, 2008

bio-cold-flow-2008-11It’s been a few years since I cold-flow tested my biodiesel.  According to my last tests, I start blending 50/50 when the frost comes, and turn to pure petrodiesel when temps stay below freezing.  Looking at the new tests, I think I could keep a little biodiesel in the tank for lubricity – but otherwise they confirm what I’ve been doing.  Of course, the heated SVO runs all winter.

This last batch of biodiesel from used fryer oil was a mix of pure soybean oil from Jalapeños Mexican Restaurant in Eagle River and pure Canola oil from McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage.  Jalapeños fries mostly tortilla chips, with a little chicken and other meat in their flautas and chimichangas.  Their jug sludge is mostly fried foods, not fats.  MYC fries more meaty fatty stuff, and although their oil is clear non-hydrogenated Canola, they do have an inch or so of creamy tallow/lard/fat on the bottom of about half of their jugs.

The diesel I used was from the local Chevron, from the ultra-low-sulfur-diesel pump labeled “not a Chevron product.”  I’m assuming it’s a winterized #1/#2 blend since it’s November and nighttime temps have already dipped below 0F.

I filled a series of bottles: B100, B50, B33, B20, B10, B5, and pure petrodiesel.  It went to 7F last night, and this morning at 11F the B100 was solid, while the B50, B33 and B20 were liquid, but had varying amounts of wax crystals settled out.  The B10 and petrodiesel were both crystal clear (the B5 has some contamination and is a little cloudy at room temperature – I’m assuming a few drops of water).

Looks like B10 at 10 degrees is my new mantra.

Veg On!

P.S. www.make-biodiesel.org has some good biodiesel winterization tips.

UPDATE: the B10 and B5 dropped waxes out at 5F.  Looks like it’s petrodiesel below 10F, at least with my used soy/Canola/animal-fat biodiesel.