Biodiesel Update

December 5th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

- Natural Ventilation-

It’s been an interesting fall for my biodiesel experiment.

The hailstorm that struck Northfield this year gave my Passat TDI a hammered patina, including the front and rear windows, unfortunately. So the car was out of commission while we had a new rear window shipped in from Germany. Then, about when I was ready to drive it again, we had a problem with our fuel.

One batch of biodiesel we received had an unusually high gelling temperature which coincided with a cold snap (low 30’s F). Many of the members of the biodiesel buyer’s club couldn’t start their cars or got stranded on the roadside. Some modifications were made to fuel sending units to correct undersized apertures that would have limited the problem somewhat, and we all started fueling up with healthy (un) quantities of dino-diesel to dilute the fuel. I was lucky (ha) to have been hit by hail, so I didn’t have a chance to fuel up with the bad batch.

We’ve still got about 300 gallons of the stuff left and we’d like the coop to buy it back and mix it for a lower biodiesel blend and sell it to someone else. I’m not sure where those negotiations stand, but it’ll be tough to pump the tank out with single-digit temperatures in the air.

So, we remain committed to biodiesel, but need to address some way of knowing the quality of fuel we’re receiving. More as it unfolds!

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