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Wendy explains how to make home made biodiesel with no special equipment in less than five minutes. She makes use of the “cubbies” that vegetable oil is sold in and make batches that are 3-4 gallons in size.

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John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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  1. netmaster says:

    The injector pump head seal on Bosch pumps, like the one in the VW Beetle TDI behind the narrator, are made of Buna-N. Nitrile is NOT biodiesel resistant and will eventually break down causing fuel leaks. How long this takes will be a function of the concentration of bio you run and how much switching between bio and petro diesel you do. When it does break down replace it with a Viton o-ring.

    1. Mikey Sklar says:

      Interesting point about the injection pump seals. I have read that the new ultra low sulfur diesel fuel is more likely to cause leaks at the IP seal by shrinking them. Biodiesel has been considered a remedy as it helps the seals expand the seal. I was under the impression that the 1994 and older seals were buna-n and the 1998 and later were already viton. You might find this discussion interesting.

      http://greendepotsf.org/biodiesel.html#ulsd

      1. netmaster says:

        Regarding the IP seals and ULSD. I had an ’03 TDI and had to special order a viton head seal, OEM was buna-N. Yes, I think ULSD could cause shrinkage, but the o-ring material is compatible with the fluid. Biodiesel is incompatible and softens the o-ring. My problem showed up when switching between B100 and petro during the Colorado winter.

        I was told “TDIs love bio” when I got into home brewing. I just want others to go in knowing the risks.

  2. steve blair says:

    I’ve heard of people using filtered veg. oil to run diesel engines, but they usually have to heat it in some way to keep it from solidifying – would doing this process keep the oil/bio-diesel in a liquid state at colder temperatures?

    1. Mikey Sklar says:

      We have another vehicle (’84 mercedes 300TD) that runs filtered veg oil directly. It has a second tank with heating elements. We decided not to purchase a conversion kit for this ’98 Beetle in the video and just use the chemical method to lower the veg oil viscosity.

      Biodiesel would need to be heated in the colder months (as temps go near freezing), but we decided to just switch back to diesel during those periods. The VW TDIs normally include a heated fuel filter which can help a bit, but I believe running B100 at temperatures below freezing will ultimately reduce the life of the fuel pump and injectors.

  3. Horst says:

    that this is not as environment-friendly as people believe. The crops are processed by large machines that use fuel and the processing of the seeds/oil needs power too. The only good thing is that produces a bit less CO2…
    It is also NOT much cheaper anymore (in Germany), because veg. oil got more expensive.

    1. Jamon says:

      And petroleum is brought to market using daydreams and laughter? The truth is, every energy source has a cost. Yes, farmers use heavy equipment to grow crops. The petroleum industry uses heavy equipment to drill for oil. The difference is that I’m not really concerned about a farmer dumping a few billion bushels of soybeans in the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Horst says:

    but I wanted to state that Biodiesel is not the ultimate solution for our fuel/transportation needs in general, especially on a large scale. Many people think this will magically solve all our problems, but it doesn’t…

  5. Jamon says:

    then state it as such. Pointing out that biofuels are produced using heavy equipment while ignoring that petroleum is also produced using heavy equipment does biofuel a disservice. Biofuel is a better alternative to petroleum in many instances, and CAN be much cheaper.

    The woman in this video shows how to quickly and easily convert waste vegoil into biofuels, saving her money. I don’t think she’s trying to make a statement that biofuel is the ultimate solution. Only that it’s a solution that’s working for her, and since it’s not difficult to do, it could be a solution for someone else in Maker Land.

    I especially appreciate that she’s showing it running in a newer vehicle. Too many people, even in the midwest where I live, are convinced that you’ll ruin your engine using biodiesel. I’m not sure where this misconception is coming from, but it’s disheartening.

  6. bhtooefr says:

    Titration of the waste oil is a really, really good idea. That way, you can calculate the CORRECT amount of methoxide to put in. Too little, and you get unconverted FFAs – some of the vegetable oil is still, well, vegetable oil. Too much, and you get free methoxide, which is bad on everything.

    The other thing is, her “newer vehicle” sounds like an ALH-engined New Beetle, so 1998 to 2003. The fuel system on an ALH is essentially replacing the analog mechanical computer in 1970′s VW diesels with a digital computer, and increasing the fuel pressure. The 2004 to 2006 cars are much less tolerant of poor fuel quality, and the 2009+ cars are almost completely intolerant of even the best biodiesel, more than 5%.

  7. Anonymous says:

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