"Spread The Word"
No, surprisingly, we do not.
Whilst this website is dedicated primarily to spreading awareness about the urgent need for production of biofuels, a secondary aim of this awareness campaign is to educate the masses that the production of Bio-Diesel as a fuel is absolutely and totally unnecessary. What we should be doing instead is concentrating more on the engine technology .... and possibly taking a few steps backwards!
What exactly is Bio-Diesel?
Bio-Diesel is a direct replacement for petroleum-based diesel. It is produced from vegetable oil by a process called transesterification, which involves the use of a large quantity of toxic and expensive chemicals. The only way an ultra-modern diesel engine can run on fuel derived from vegetable oil is if that fuel first undergoes this complicated and wasteful process. But, if we use the correct (generally older) engine, the process of transesterification becomes totally redundant, as vegetable oil can be used in its natural form, without any chemical treatment whatsoever. Now, doesn't that sound like a much better solution?
So, we can use vegetable oil as a fuel, without treating it with harmful chemicals?
Yes, this has always been the case .... since day one! When Rudolph Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, it ran on peanut oil, much to the astonishment of scientists and engineers. Transesterification wasn't even thought of until the 1940s!
The good news is that many types of more recent diesel engines will run perfectly well on Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) and even Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) provided that it had been adequately filtered to remove any solid particles. The following video is a good illustration:-
My own video, although much less entertaining, shows the only thing required to make any vegetable oil into a suitable fuel for compatible engines .... an effective and efficient filtration system:-
(Please note that my own Peugeot 306 Diesel referred to in the video was fitted with a Bosch fuel injection system, but BE WARNED! - some Peugeot 306 models have the Lucas system fitted, which makes SVO and WVO fuels unsuitable! - see below.)
Exactly which diesel engines can run on "neat" vegetable oil?
The short answer is that any diesel engine fitted with a Bosch fuel-injection system will generally be fine, whereas vehicles fitted with a Lucas system or the newer electronic types will not. In India, the Bosch system is made under licence by Mico and is fitted to many cars, especially older Mahindra models (including earlier Scorpios).
As a good rule-of-thumb, most German-based diesel injection technology uses the Bosch system. Examples include most VW models (such as pre-2004 Skoda Octavia) and older type Mercedes (typically pre-2000 models). So, for example, a 1997 Mercedes E250D (also produced in India) will be fine using SVO or WVO as a fuel, but a 2002 Mercedes 220CDi will certainly not. Unfortunately, the proportion of diesel cars which cannot run on SVO or WVO is significant. In India, finding a suitable vehicle is now particularly difficult, as all of the modern small diesels which use the latest Fiat 1.3TD MultiJet engine (Suzuki Swift and Ritz, Fiat Punto, Palio and Linea, etc) are not compatible. Even my own 2004 Fiat Palio 1.9D is not suitable, because it has a Lucas fuel-injection system. However, I've still put some advertising on the back, regardless!:-
For further information on determining whether or not a particular diesel engine is suitable for use with vegetable oil as a fuel (either SVO or WVO), please consult the following website:-