veggie oil conversion
i've been working on converting our truck, *bonnie blue*, to run on vegetable oil. i ordered a conversion kit from frybrid, which is based out of seattle, wa. they have a very good reputation for the design of their conversion kits and for the quality of the components they use. they also happen to have a pretty rotten reputation for delivering orders in a timely fashion. my kit took 9 weeks to come instead of 4 like the website advertises. but, it finally arrived last week, and i've been working long hours every day to try and get it all finished up so we can proceed with our eastward trajectory.
converting a diesel vehicle to be able to use veggie oil as it's fuel requires a few pieces:
- a second fuel tank for veggie oil
- a means of heating the oil to around 160 degrees prior to injection into the engine
- valves to switch between regular diesel or biodiesel and veggie oil
- a dedicated fuel filter for the veggie oil
in my case, the second fuel tank is a 60 gallon aluminum tank in the truck bed.
the oil is heated using the waste heat in the engine coolant. there are five different places where heat is exchanged from the coolant to the oil: a coiled final fuel exchanger, a dedicated fuel filter, an in-tank heat exchanger, and both the fuel supply and fuel return lines, which are jacketed in coolant hose.
in addition to the two valves controlling the fuel supply and return, this system has a third valve that controls fuel purging when switching from veggie oil back to diesel.
the veggie oil fuel filter is heated to increase the efficiency of the filtration and increase the life of filter elements.
i'm about 85% finished with the installation. i re-plumbed the stock diesel fuel lines, installed the new tank, installed new fuel lines for the veggie oil, tapped into the coolant lines and plumbed coolant to the various heat exchangers. now i'm in the process of making all the electrical connections and installing the system controls inside the truck.
it looks like i should be able to finish up tomorrow, which is exciting not only because then we'll be able to start dumpstering our fuel again and running our truck on a waste product that burns cleaner and smells better, but also because i'm over being a full time auto mechanic. the insides of cars are really filthy and filled with toxic goo. and my hands are all banged up. oh the price we are willing to pay for our mobility... but at least now, bonnie will be a little less toxic and a little more friendly to us and to the earth.