VolksVegan - Biodiesel Powered Vehicles

Last week the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium held National AFV (Alternative Fuel Vehicle) Day Odyssey 2004, a coast-to-coast showcase of available technology.

One fuel of particular interest is vegetable oil - just like you buy it in the store. Kits are available for converting diesel cars to run vegan; Scott Westerman writes a blog about his VolksVegan biodiesel alternative fuel car.

(From Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems)

So how did Scott create his VolksVegan? Starting with the book From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel. Convinced that the VW Turbo Diesel Passat was the perfect car, he purchased one and started making the modifications. A biodiesel conversion kit with an additional fuel gauge, auxiliary tank for the oil, fuel lines and more were installed; the work was finished in a single day. Upon switching over to vegetable oil for fuel, no perceptible difference in engine performance could be detected.

Biodiesel alternative fuel technology has been around for a while; it's actually the fuel of choice for Rudolph Diesel himself, who demonstrated the diesel engine at the 1900 World's Fair using peanut oil. It's biodegradable, nontoxic and free of sulfur, a renewable resource and delivers similar torque, horsepower and miles per gallon. Some biodiesel owners make a deal with local restaurant owners for free fuel, since normally they must pay to have the cooking oil removed and disposed of.

Read more about Scott Westerman's VolksVegan Adventure.

There is a brief mention of canola oil powered vehicles in William Gibson's 1993 novel Virtual Light. A busy street will certainly smell differently when we all decide to give up our middle eastern oil habit.

See also the National Biodiesel Board.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/12/2004)

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