[ rfc791.ORG : Alternative Fuel ]

Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel compression combustion engine. His prototype ran on peanut oil. Truck manufacturers in the mid 1920's converted his design to run on petrochemicals. Responsible earth citizens are looking to revive Rudy's original idea.
Sick of today's fuel prices? Looking for a way to get around more cheaply? Looking for a project? Then you might be interested in doing a Straight Vegetable Oil conversion.

A diesel engine is designed to run off of diesel petrochemical fuel, but diesel engines can burn a suprising array of different fuels. Diesel engines can burn filtered waste transmission fluid with no modifications. Most can also burn a 75% mixture of filtered waste motor oil (75% motor oil, 25% diesel or transmission fluid) also with no modifications.

But waste motor oil and transmission fluid can be hard to get ahold of and can be rather harmful to the environment to run. A simpler and cleaner alternative is waste vegetable oil - the waste oil restaurants have used to cook french fries and the like in. This stuff is easy to get ahold of if you look around, as restaurants normally have to pay to have this stuff removed.

To be able to burn Straight Vegetable Oil, the first thing you'll need is a vehicle with a diesel engine. If you don't already have one, you might look into diesel Mercedes from the early 80's. They can be gotten very cheaply (less than $5000), and have bulletproof engines (people have clocked a million miles on these engines).

The second thing you'll need is an SVO conversion. You can do this yourself, it's quite simple, but requires several steps.
  1. You'll need a second heated tank. If straight vegetable oil isn't heated prior to injection, the viscosity will be too high, and it won't properly fill the chamber (imagine trying to spray butter out of a windex bottle). This also solves the same problem with motor oil, so a 75% mix is no longer needed and 100% motor oil can be run from the heated tank.
  2. You'll need a solenoid for the fuel intake. This will switch fuel input from the diesel tank to the SVO tank and vice-versa.
  3. You'll need a solenoid for the injector backwash. The injectors send any spillover fuel back to the tank and you'll want to be able to control which tank gets that spillover.
  4. You'll need a filtration system for filtering the fuel prior to putting it in the tank. At the rfc791.ORG HQ, we do our prefiltration with bag filters.
  5. You'll probably want an inline fuel filtration system in the vehicle, especially if you have to bypass your existing fuel filter in the modification process. Heating this is a good idea also.
  6. You'll probably want to heat all of your SVO fuel lines if possible.
The reason, by the way, to have seperate solenoids for fuel intake and injector spillover, and not to gang them, is because at the end of an SVO run, you'll want to take your fuel intake from the diesel tank, and have your spillover go back to the SVO tank so as to clean any leftover SVO out of the fuel lines. SVO that has thickened from cooling lurking in your fuel lines can disable your SVO system.

There are several places on the internet you can buy SVO conversion parts and kits (and learn more about SVO systems).