Looking Out From the Garage: March 2008

Rudolf's Peanut Oil Miracle

I was reading a couple of posts earlier this evening, here and elsewhere, and there was a common thread of efficiency and environmental friendliness... ok, one of them was tongue in cheek about how long it would take to pay back the purchase of a hybrid. 

Well, I would like to toss in my nickel.  And offer up an option that seems to be completely lost on many people... diesel. Unimog

Of course, looking at the price, the first thought is that that would not be such a great idea.  As I write, I see $3.89 for a gallon of diesel, and $3.19 for gasoline.  But... (there is always a but...)

Look at some of the later model diesel powered cars.  Proven technologies (rudolf came up with this in the late 1800s) and some seriously green options.  

Instead, I wandered to a couple of higher-end comparable cars.  The Lexus GS450h (hybrid) and the MB E320 Bluetec diesel.  The Lexus is slightly cheaper when optioned out ($55.6k v. $57.3k).  the Lexus also has a pretty good advantage in the 0-60 time (5.2 v. 6.6).  But mileage?

The Lexus is rated at 22/25, City/Highway.  The Mercedes is rated for 23/32.  It is bigger, wider, longer and has WAY more cargo room.  And we know that MB diesels will run forever...

But, there is another option.  I don't know that I would try it with a brand new MB, but bio-diesel is a pretty cool concept, as is syn-diesel.  Here are a couple of clips from Wikipedia:Boring, but luxurious

Wood, hemp, straw, corn, garbage, food scraps, and sewage-sludge may be dried and gasified to synthesis gas. After purification the Fischer-Tropsch process is used to produce synthetic diesel.[9]Biomass-To-Liquids or BTL. This means that synthetic diesel oil may be one route to biomass based diesel oil. Such processes are often called

Synthetic diesel may also be produced out of natural gas in the Gas-to-liquid (GTL) process or out of coal in the Coal-to-liquid (CTL) process. Such synthetic diesel has 30% less particulate emissions than conventional diesel (US- California).[10]

Biodiesel can be obtained from vegetable oil (vegidiesel / vegifuel), or animal fats (bio-lipids), using transesterification. Biodiesel is a non-fossil fuel alternative to petrodiesel. It can also be mixed with petrodiesel in any amount in modern engines, though when first using it, the solvent properties of the fuel tend to dissolve accumulated deposits and can clog fuel filters.[citation needed] Biodiesel has a higher gel point than petrodiesel, but is comparable to diesel. This can be overcome by using a biodiesel/petrodiesel blend, or by installing a fuel heater, but this is only necessary during the colder months. A diesel-biodiesel mix results in lower emissions than either can achieve alone,[11] except for NOx emissions. A smallE320 percentage of biodiesel can be used as an additive in low-sulfur formulations of diesel to increase the lubricity lost when the sulfur is removed. In the event of fuel spills, biodiesel is easily washed away with ordinary water and is nontoxic compared to other fuels. 

Try to burn garbage in a hybrid...

I trash on ethanol pretty regularly, but there is a huge difference with bio-diesel.  That difference is that it can be brewed with left-overs and materials that are being discarded.  It also can be mixed with petro-diesel without a lot of regard for the ratio in most vehicles. 

So, grab something cool... pictured above, and run bio-diesel.  You will have a carbon footprint that will make Al Gore envious (I have a carbon footprint that will make Al Gore envious, but that is another post).   

 

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4 commentsLane Bailey • March 29 2008 12:01AM
Rudolf's Peanut Oil Miracle
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