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  Biodiesel 09:20 AM -- Thu March 2, 2006  

In reply to a comment, I wrote far too much for a comment, so here goes:

I found out about this biodiesel station from the forums at Biodiesel Now when some people happened to be talking about it. There's supposed to be a complete or fairly complete listing of them though, at The National Biodiesel Board, good for all sorts of information on the topic. I know the list isn't totally complete, though, because the one we're going to isn't on there! I think that site may be quite a bit outdated.

If your car runs diesel, it can run biodiesel! But there are 3 possible concerns:

1. Biodiesel cleans out your engine, because it's a solvent. That's a good thing, but if you've been running diesel for years, it will grab all the gunk that's accumulated in your engine and stick it in your fuel filter, clogging it up. This will make your engine die (not permanently!), and you'll need to replace the filter. Might want to carry some filters with you initially just in case! They're cheap. Apparently it is not hard to swap filters, something I better figure out about before using my first batch.

2. Biodiesel gels at a higher temperature than diesel (which itself isn't the greatest cold weather fuel), so if you live where it gets way below freezing, you need to be careful. You need to keep the car garaged, possibly even heating the fuel tank (they sell kits for this) before driving if you live in real super cold. If you do live in a snowy place, I'd read up on this issue first. Some people have had no problems with it, others have real issues.

3. If your car is quite old, usually pre-1995, it may have natural rubber fuel lines, which biodiesel will be happy to dissolve for you (over the course of many months). You'll need to have those replaced with the more modern synthetic type, which is a cheap operation (if you do it yourself, it's under $20, I think! Not that I would try).

On the plus side, you can mix it in any proportion you wish with diesel fuel (one thing people do to mitigate the effects of cold weather on it, as well as save money), any time you want. Some cold weather people mix in some kerosene, which scares me, but apparently works (from the stuff I've heard, it sounds like you can throw just about anything flammable into a diesel engine!). You can learn oceans of bio-data at those forums I mentioned above.
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