During a studio critique, Seth told a visiting artist about our trip with Transit Antenna and all the renovations to the bus we would have to do, including the engine conversion, and the visiting artist replied, “Your plan is a bit idealistic. Really, you‘re going to be stuck on the side of the road, cleaning out your engine.“
The artist, despite his obvious penchant for imposing his pessimism on others, refers to the potential problems of running vegetable oil through an engine made to run on the less viscous diesel fuel. To minimize the time we‘ll be standing on the side of the road (though, I must say, we won‘t be doom and gloom if we do have to pull over and get our hands greasy), we‘ve done some research on the conversion process and the available systems. Yes, the technology is still being developed, but the prospects of completing a successful conversion and maintaining a green engine improve with good information.
If you are interested in researching the conversion process, following are some places you can begin:
Frybrid Vegetable Oil Fuel Systems at www.frybrid.com provides the most comprehensive explanation of how a diesel engine works and what changes are necessary to make the engine run off of vegetable oil. Not knowing much about engines myself, I appreciate the time the site dedicates to educating its audience. The site includes a detailed description ofthe Frybrid System as well as a Bibliography of Research Papers for those who would like further reading on the subject. Also posted is a chart comparing the Frybrid system with those of competitors.
Several kit distributors and installers are available online for those interested in converting the diesel engine in a car or truck. One site to check out is Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems at www.greasecar.com. If you are looking to convert a bus or RV, you should definitely look elsewhere. But if what you want is a veggie-guzzling Volkswagon, then you should check out Greasecar‘s long list of installers that just might be located in your neck of the woods. Also on the site are introductory articles on the environmental benefits of having a Greasecar and a classifieds page for those looking to buy or sell a converted/convertible vehicle.
Plantdrive, another site offering a list of installers around the country, can be found at www.plantdrive.com. They provide kits and conversion services primarily for straight vegetable oil systems (SVO), but they also offer some for biodiesel systems, too.
Other sites you might check out:
Good Grease WVO: www.goodgrease.com. Primarily an informational, not commercial, website, Good Grease hosts discussion forums and provides resource articles and classifieds listings.
Grease Works!: www.greaseworks.org: among other features, Grease Works has a great links page, providing access to research sources, advocacy group websites, discussion forums, and suppliers and distributors.
Golden Fuel Systems at www.goldenfuelsystems.com sell conversion kits for cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Check out Willie Nelson‘s biodiesel company at www.biowillie.com.
At journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_svo.html, Journey to Forever provides an overview of SVO systems, fuel choices, and more information, including a recipe for making your own biodiesel.
Much more information than what I compiled here is out there for your perusal. If you find something worth posting here, let us know and we‘ll check it out!