More On Alternative Fuel Alternatives, by Horsedooty

In my last few posts I have been writing about the alternatives to fossil fuels mainly gasoline and diesel. We spend around $70 billion a year on buying fossil fuels from other countries. It is easy to say we need to find a way to stop that money drain. Even if we find a way to end our dependence on oil, it will take years to get everything in place and up and running. It is likely that I will not live long enough to see this happen.

I have talked about wind power and CNG (compressed natural gas); today we can talk about bio-diesel. There are several uses for bio fuels.

1.Vehicles for people


3.Railroads uses

4.Aircraft use

Bio-diesel use and production are increasing rapidly. Fueling stations make bio-diesel readily available to consumers across Europe, and increasingly in the USA and Canada. A growing number of transport fleets use it as an additive in their fuel. Bio-diesel is often more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel. I think the price will even out as traditional diesel prices rise.

Europe has been expanding its infrastructure and the US and Canada are behind in this regard but the US is starting to make up ground. I first heard about bio-diesel fuel when some guy was on a news program and talked about using the fryer grease from McDonalds in his diesel VW. He said the environmental impact was better than standard diesel and his car exhaust smelled like French Fries. I can’t verify the smell part but nearly every article I read mentions the better environmental impact.

Blends of bio-diesel and conventional hydrocarbon-based diesel are products most commonly distributed for use in the retail diesel fuel marketplace. Much of the world uses a system known as the “B” factor to state the amount of bio-diesel in any fuel mix: fuel containing 20% bio-diesel is labeled B20, while pure bio-diesel is referred to as B100. It is common to see B99, since 1% petrol-diesel is sufficiently toxic to retard mold. Blends of 20 percent bio-diesel with 80 percent petroleum diesel (B20) can generally be used in unmodified diesel engines. Bio-diesel can also be used in its pure form (B100), but may require certain engine modifications to avoid maintenance and performance problems. Blending B100 with petrol-diesel may be accomplished by:

  • Mixing in tanks at manufacturing point prior to delivery to tanker truck
  • Splash mixing in the tanker truck (adding specific percentages of Bio-diesel and Petrol Diesel)
  • In-line mixing, two components arrive at tanker truck simultaneously.

According to Wikipedia, bio-diesel is pretty old technology. Wiki says, “On 8/31/1937, G. Chavanne of the University of Brussels (Belgium) was granted a patent for a ‘Procedure for the transformation of vegetable oils for their uses as fuels’ (fr. ‘Procédé de Transformation d’Huiles Végétales en Vue de Leur Utilisation comme Carburants’) Belgian Patent 422,877. This patent described the alcoholysis (often referred to as transesterification) of vegetable oils using ethanol (and mentions methanol) in order to separate the fatty acids from the glycerol by replacing the glycerol with short linear alcohols. This appears to be the first account of the production of what is known as ‘bio-diesel today.”

One of the major problems with using bio-diesel made with vegetable oil is that during cold weather the oil tends to gel. (Bio-diesel produced from tallow tends to gel at around +16 °C (61 °F) ) Heaters need to be installed to keep the oils up higher than the gel point. That changes with what the ratio of oil to diesel is. In my part of the world, it is easier to configure your vehicle when it is generally warm all the time. In Wisconsin it may be altogether a different set of issues. On the plus side, the engine is lubed better with bio-diesel than traditional diesel.

Bio-diesel for aircraft has been sketchy at best. Virgin Airlines did run a jet aircraft from London to Amsterdam in Feb of this year. So far as I know it, no American airline has run any experiments with bio fuel.

A railroad train in Eastern Washington will be running on a 25% bio-diesel 75% petrol-diesel blend during summer of 2008, purchasing fuel from a bio-diesel producer seated along the railroad tracks. The train will be powered by bio-diesel made in part from Washington-grown canola. I think this makes the most sense since the load per mile is the greater than over the road long haul truckers.

“Bio-diesel can also be used as a heating fuel in domestic and commercial boilers, sometimes known as bio-heat. Older furnaces may contain rubber parts that would be affected by bio-diesel’s solvent properties, but can otherwise burn bio-diesel without any conversion required. Care must be taken at first, however, given that varnishes left behind by petrol-diesel will be released and can clog pipes- fuel filtering and prompt filter replacement is required. Another approach is to start using bio-diesel as blend, and decreasing the petroleum proportion over time can allow the varnishes to come off more gradually and be less likely to clog. Thanks to its strong solvent properties, however, the furnace is cleaned out and generally becomes more efficient.”

Well, this is just a brief outline of some of the uses for yet another one of the Alternatives to our dependence on foreign oil.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the info I stole writing this article.

Adios para ahora, mis amigos

Yo soy un demócrata amarillo del perro.

¡yo soy Horsedooty!



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86 responses to “More On Alternative Fuel Alternatives, by Horsedooty

  1. dnd

    So if you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, the patriotic thing to do is eat more french fries. Sign me up!

  2. Horsedooty

    they’re showing badminton on the Olympics now. Who woulda thunk that would be an Olympic sport?


  3. Yeah I saw that too doots and changed the channel!

    BTW what’s the FTUK mean?

  4. Horsedooty

    FTUK don’t mean horsedooty bad typing fingers this am

    supposed to be FUTK

    F___ U Toby Keith was seen on a T-shirt Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks wore on TV during their argument with Toby Keith. I decided to use it for awhile to show my disgust with the Keithster.


  5. Maybe I should use FUTM, I’m sure you can figure out what the TM stands for!


  6. Horsedooty

    TM= Turd Mix?


  7. dnd

    Now Doots, I heard Keith and Maines kissed and made up. Or at least wasn’t feuding anymore.

    I kinda like Keith’s songs, but when you hear him speak in interviews, it’s apparent that what smarts he possesses all goes to songwriting and leaves nothing for anything else.

    ps. Brian, Maines originally said that FUTK was “friends united for truth and kindness” but later recanted and said it was aimed at Keith.

  8. dog's eye view

    LA Times on Bernie Mac.

    Confession: I don’t watch much TV or many movies, so I have never seen him in anything. But was aware of him, and that he was very popular. Sounds like a good guy. Too young, as Chef Sheila says.,0,4995788.story

  9. Horsedooty


    I heard that they had kissed and made up but I still don’t care for him. None the less, I think he is a jerk of the highest order.


  10. I find it surprising that a man of his age would die from pneumonia without some underlying illness.

  11. Speaking of going green I had one of those wallet versus the planet moments this morning. Con Ed sent me an email saying I’m paying on average 5 cents a kilowatt more because I use a green supplier and wanting to know if I wanted to switch. I decided not to switch, yeah me!

  12. CNN just reported that Bernie Mac had a long running lung disease but didn’t say what it was.

  13. dog's eye view

    per Chicago Trib story:

    Mac, 50, had been hospitalized for about a week at Northwestern Hospital, according to his spokeswoman. A few years ago, Mac disclosed that he suffered from sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in the lungs.

  14. PRINCETON, NJ — The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update finds Barack Obama with a 47% to 42% lead over John McCain, when registered voters are asked for whom they would vote if the presidential election were held today.

  15. Chef Sheila


    I’m learning so much from you! All the information you put out is really a great read. Thanks.

    At this point, I couldn’t afford an alternative hybrid of otherwise, but we will be forced soon and when that happens, all of us here will have a great understanding of it because of you.

  16. Horsedooty

    Sheila said this, “At this point, I couldn’t afford an alternative hybrid”.

    Guess what Sheila, neither can I. but thanks.


  17. colleen

    great info Doots. A few weeks ago I read about the possibility of using Cuba’s sugar cane for alternative fuel, when we start trading with them right after Obama is elected!

  18. Sugar cane is a great for ethanol, a much better choice than corn, and it’s what they use in Brazil. Think of what we could do not only for our country but also to help the cuban people if we started importing thier cane for ethanol.

  19. dog's eye view

    Obama ad for Olympics. The hands that built this country….

  20. colleen

    the sky’s the limit, Brian!

  21. Great ad, and such a contrast to McCain’s olympics ad!

  22. Karolenna

    Hey Gang. Haven’t been able to get online today. My son stopped by and is sleeping in a bedroom so I thought I’d come down to catch up. He’s working concerts at the Ohio State fair tonight. He was there this morning and going back this evening to work the Ted Nugent (ough Repug) show. He seems to feel the same about Ted as I do, but it is business you know. Guess Nugent has previously threatened to kill Obama while on stage. I’ll have to ask my son if he’s ever worked with FUTK (ha) and tell him the story. He gets to meet a lot of stars backstage and talk with them. He worked with Tim McGraw in Atlanta recently.

    Doots, you are always so scientific with you posts. Great! I’m sure you know Willie Nelson runs his bus on biofuel. He likes the smell of French fries. I like what Willie says: “I saw where the farmers could actually benefit from growing their own fuel and we could benefit by not having to go around the world starting wars over energy”

  23. Karolenna

    Those Yellow Dog Democrats sure are smart ones!!!

  24. Horsedooty

    Willie recently resigned from the board of Earth Fuels. At least, I think that is the name of it. They were the ones that sell the bio-diesel called Bio-Willie. I left him out of the post because there is not much info yet on why he left other than the company’s financial’s were not too good.


  25. Well for your son’s sake K i hope Nuggent pays well, and comes unarmed.

  26. dog's eye view

    LOL re Brian on Ted Nugent.

  27. dnd

    If I recall correctly Rudolf Diesel first designed his engine with bio-diesel.

    As for colder climes, those I know with petro-diesel engines use a block heater in the winter if they want to get their truck started.

    Interesting idea about aircraft fuel. Jets use kerosene, which has about the same heat of combustion as diesel, but differs elsewhere. You’d have to eat a lot of french fries to fuel a 747 😉

  28. Am I a bad American because I’m rooting for the Latvian volleyball team because I think they are better looking or just incredibly shallow?

  29. colleen

    are “bad American” and “incredibly shallow” the only 2 choices we have, Brian?

  30. colleen

    poo on me! I was going to pick “a discriminating gentleman with excellent taste” but never mind!

  31. Nice work, HD! In our area, there are lots of thefts of old vegetable oils behind restaurants these days. My sister-in-law, who owns a restaurant, said to me a couple of weeks ago that she used to have to pay someone to come and pick up the used oils. Now, they pay her, if there’s any left and not stolen. Good post!

  32. colleen

    I got curious about Willie’s role with Earth Biofuels, and it seems that he just left the administrative board of directors and moved to the advisory board. They seem to be quite huge, here’s their site:

  33. colleen

    I was curious about Willie’s role with Earth Biofuel, so I checked it out and he’s still involved, just on an advisory board now rather than an administrative board. I tried to link Earth Biofuel’s site but I think WordPress spammed my post. But you can get to it just by typing “Earth Biofuels”. They seem to be doing well, are much larger than I had assumed.

  34. colleen

    oh, and hi eprof! *waving*

  35. consider yourself de-spammed!

  36. dnd

    Doesn’t Willie have a truck stop in Texas that supplies bio-diesel? Think of all the potential from that greasy truck stop food!

    I hear he’s also getting oil from hemp seeds. They find enough seeds between the cushions on the tour bus to power it 😉

  37. Now I know what to do with all those seeds!

  38. colleen

    thanks, Bri! kinda like being de-loused

    hey d nd, snort

  39. I was wondering why you scratch your head so frequently.

  40. FYI folks just to let you know I do plan on opening up the chat room for the convention. I’m really hoping Teddy can make it!

  41. dnd

    I hope Teddy can make it too.

    But mostly I hope Elizabeth Edwards speaks. As the vice-presidential pick.

  42. dog's eye view

    She would make a good VP. A good anything.

  43. colleen

    Barack has said she will play a key role in his health care plan. Hope he keeps his word and she’s willing.

  44. Oh I think he will, I don’t think that will please Hillary, but who cares.

  45. Hi everyone…just got home from my first, of two, 6 hour class learning to ride a motorcycle…….yipppeee!!!! It was a bit stressful at first and I am not that good yet, but more tomorrow…. There was lots of talk about gas prices the other night in the classroom…but today was just trying to do the right thing on your bike ( which they provide) … I am tired….I didn’t crash or lay it down.

    Anyway…I’ll read the post in a bit….Just stopped in to say hi !

  46. hey UB, I figured your important husband was keeping you busy all day.

  47. ~~Hillary?…… Hillary who? ~~

  48. dnd

    Sra Burrito in a week:

  49. colleen

    UB vroom, vroom

  50. That’s about where I will be able to ride where there are no cars…or people…and soft ground….

    I love that song…… 😀

  51. dnd

    Since Willie’s into alternative fuels and Barack’s into alternative fuels, how cool would it be for him to perform at the inaugural ball?

    Imagining what the set list would be…

  52. dog's eye view

    Burrito: do you have a motorcycle? If not, what are you looking at?

    Loved that Easy Rider clip. Think Sheila and I saw some of that countryside.

    Up for a road trip, any day.

  53. bbl …. It’s a beautiful day – still some daylight left….


  54. dog's eye view

    dnd’s sprinkler film is up at Andrew Sullivan’s site.

    It’s a keeper. (dnd: how did you find it? You had it up hours ago.)

  55. dnd

    I saw the moose sprinkler clip on the news this morning. I Immediately went to youtube.

  56. horsedooty

    dnd said, “Doesn’t Willie have a truck stop in Texas that supplies bio-diesel? Think of all the potential from that greasy truck stop food!”

    That would be Willie’s Place at Carl’s Corner, TX. Interstate 35 splits right there and one branch goes to Fort Worth and the other is where Willie’s Place is and the road goes thru Dallas. I 35 joins back to one road in Denton, TX home of the University of North Texas.

    Carl Cornelius is the founder of Carl’s Corner, TX and is the mayor. He started the town so his truck stop could sell alcohol in an otherwise dry county. Carl and Willie have been friends for a long time and I can’t say for sure, but I bet Willie put some money up for the Carl to build this latest truck stop. Willie’s Place is a channel on XM Satellite Radio.


  57. dog's eye view

    Howard Fineman in Newsweek re there must be an Obama-Clinton (ie Bill) rapprochement.

    Last paragraph:

    To see Bill now is to see a melancholy political animal: still brilliant, but clouded by his own resentments. At the Aspen Institute Ideas Conference recently, he held forth effortlessly on ethanol and electricity grids, education and rural poverty. A tentful of academics, business leaders, journos and, yes, bundlers, sat in rapt silence. I knew what they were thinking: the guy is flawed (as are we all), but what a once-in-a-generation talent. Obama sure could use him.

    Obama must use Bill Clinton; he’s incredibly gifted. And must use Hillary’s talents too.

    Am not saying on the ticket, but you do not turn such talent and a need to be helpful and relevant away.

  58. The price is too high dog, and neither can be trusted!

  59. dog's eye view

    That would be sad (re the not trustworthy).

    Looking forward to the Atlantic Monthly memo dump. Might be some interesting nuggets in there.

  60. I’m looking forward to seeing Michael Phelps swim tonight!

  61. Am i the only one watching the Olympics?

  62. Trailmush has become quite the Edwards feeding frenzy, i find it very sad.

  63. Chef Sheila

    I’m so sorry Brian.

    But I am more sorry for Train Wreck. They like to hate. It must be such a lonely life to feel so badly all the time.

    I’m glad we have Baby Blog. I much better outlook on life and the attitude is high minded here. Who’d a thunk it!

  64. Chef Sheila

    Oh and I will be watching after I finish working. Around 12am eastern standard time ;0)

  65. In all candor I just don’t understand what they are taking such glee in, he’s not running for anything. Is this all about the fact he endorsed Obama that has brought out such scorn, it’s very odd.

  66. I even got into watching woman’s beach volleyball, and none of them appeal to me!

  67. Chef Sheila

    Birds of a feather stick together! I have to go and finish dinner. Its almost time to Horsey De Ovreas LOL

  68. Chef Sheila

    Fresh of course!

  69. Georgia and Russia Nearing All-Out War

    Lets hope this settles down quickly. A long term international crisis will help McSame

  70. First gold medal of the games goes to Phelps, and a new world record, amazing.

  71. Karolenna

    Sorry I haven’t been around much today. I have a lot of friends and family stop in on weekends. It’s been one after another.

    Hey Doots, “Bio-Willie. I left him out of the post because there is not much info yet on why he left other than the company’s financial’s were not too good.”

    Maybe Willie’s profits all went “up in smoke”. 😀 😀 ❓ You know Willie!!!

  72. I bet Willie doesn’t have to clean his own bong!

  73. quite a difference between the ad being run by both campaigns during the Olympics. Obama’s ad doesn’t even mention Mccain

  74. dog's eye view

    This story is just about unbelievable, from a stalked Mormon on a mission handcuffed with mink-lined cuffs, to the perp posing as a deaf-mute actor and fleeing the country, to a dog named Booger being successfully cloned.

    Maybe this story is true, because all the details are damn near unbelievable.

    However, John Edwards is not involved, in any way, shape or form, so enjoy.,0,5775428,full.story

  75. Chef Sheila

    Phelps Picking up a Gold and the National Anthem always gets me tearing up!

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