See this beautiful ride, it's a Porsche RS Carrera Lightweight replica based on a 1972 911e – we got it absolutely FREE!
At Amelia Island (2015) a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS Lightweight was sold for a record setting $1,402,500.
So what do you do, if you desperately want a 1973 RS, but you’re not the boss of an international drug cartel?
Well, you can always build your own Porsche 911 RS 2.7 replica. In theory it is simple.
Buy a Porsche 911 coupe produced between 1969 and 1973. That will give you a long wheelbase car without the impact bumpers of later models.
Install RS flares in the back along with wider wheels. 7×15” or 8×15” if you are going for originality or 16” if you want more tires choices. Put RS spoilers in the front and a duck tail in the rear. If you are serious about building a lightweight car you should consider fibreglass or carbon fibre hood and doors.
Strip the interior. Remove the clock and glove box. Remove all sound deadening under the carpets and replace them with lightweight felt carpets. Replace the door panels with RS panels. Remove the rear seats and install early Recaro seats in the front.
The correct engine would be a 2.7 with mechanical fuel injection and full RS specs. But any high-revving 911 engine with aggressive camshafts would do. Most importantly: Paint the shroud red. As for the transmission you could lighten the flywheel and install a shorter ring and pinion and/or close gear ratios.
Put in sport shock absorbers, stiffer torsion bars and anti-roll bars. Bilstein offer a specific RS damper set which they claim has been tuned for the Nordschleife.
The real deal used thinner gauge glass for the windscreen and windows. They can still be bought today but are hugely expensive. So consider Lexan or polycarbonate substitute as an alternative.
Voila. You have a Porsche 911 RS 2.7 replica. You’re done. Except of course you are not. You have just started on the slippery slope of less weight and more horsepower. So beware. Suddenly your very own Porsche 911 RS might become your very own coffin!
Currently, we are only aware of this loophole in the UK but if it's exploitable in other countries we’d love to hear from you.
This incredible loophole was stumbled upon by accident:
If a car is abandoned on private property, (most car parks are private) it can eventually be claimed by any person willing to take it away.
This is the real life story of how I acquired the beautiful Porsche RS Carrera replica pictured above. It is actually a 1972 911e which at some time in its life enjoyed a complete rebuild including a widened back end, aluminum swing arm, lightened bodywork and sills and new duck tail…
I used to work in a boatyard on the South coast of England commissioning boats for the wealthy, dreaming about how one day I’d be the one ordering a new 50 footer. I’d constantly be on the look out for deals and managed to buy several abandoned cheap boats from boat yards. These were perfectly good machines and mostly be only a few years old.
People leave them for all sorts of reasons, the main being that they run into financial difficulties and can no longer afford the boatyard fees. Eventually, the fees can build up to such an extent that owners owe more than the value of the boat!
You can always spot them, they go green with moss and sit in the same place for several seasons. There is generally a clause in the boatyard’s agreement that if the customer can’t pay his fees the boat becomes the property of the yard. Now, the yard is only really interested in recouping the debt (which, incidentally is only rental for a patch of dirt!), so are quite approachable when you’re willing to take the boat on for a percentage of what is owed.
I bought several bargains this way, did them up and sold them on for a healthy profit.
One of the boats I picked up was eventually swapped for a nice Mercedes E280.
Having just done the deal I decided to visit some friends who worked in a yard I'd recently left to ‘show off’.
I popped in and friends duly gathered round to inspect the flashy new wheels. Whilst explaining how I'd managed to get such a nice car on boat builder’s wages one of the lads replied, “you’d be interested in that then!” Pointing at the old Porsche sitting in the yard car park.
She was looking a little sad, had been sat there for over a year and was covered in 'abandoned vehicle' stickers from the local council.
No one knew why it was left but theories ranged from: maybe the owner had sailed off and been lost at sea to, maybe the wheels were stuffed full of drugs and the smugglers had got the jitters and left it. (Not the type of inconspicuous car of choice for drug smugglers really!)
In the UK. if a car is abandoned on the street without tax there is a statutory period of time the owner has to move it before it’s towed away and either crushed or auctioned off.
When the council give notice, they put a sticker on the car and write to the registered keeper. The keeper is given several opportunities to remove the car. Now if it stays there you can be pretty sure the owner knows the situation and, for whatever reason, does not want the car.
In the case of the Porsche, I came on the scene when the first notice had been placed on the screen. Never one to miss a deal I set to work. My theory was, that if the owner no longer wanted it, what right did the council have to take it away? It would become mine!
First, I went to the local Police station. Helpful as ever, the cops said that there was no law to prevent an ‘abandoned’ car being taken so long as the owner had clearly demonstrated he was not going to, but would advise against it as “there may be outstanding fines!!!” Bloody typical cop advice!
Now, the council had been writing to the owner explaining the situation, therefore giving him ample opportunity to remove the vehicle. But, because our Porsche was on private land I decided to seek the permission of the owner to take it instead of the council in the event that the owner didn’t come to collect.
The conversation will stick with me for the rest of his life:
“Hi, what’s happening with that old abandoned Porsche over there.”
The reply was totally unexpected and music to Paul’s ears:
“Oh Gosh! Don’t talk to me about that thing, I wish somebody would just take it away!!!”
“Well I know just the man,” said Paul.
Remembering what the police had said ‘that there was no law to prevent an ‘abandoned’ car being taken so long as the owner had clearly demonstrated he was not going to‘, I decided to let the council do their ‘due diligence’ and clearly establish that the owner was not going to respond to demands to remove the car.
The process takes around a month. I collected all the notices from the screen as proof that the car had gone through the process and finally, between Christmas and New Year organised a car trailer to tow away the car.
Coincidently, as I arrived at the car park and was hitching up the motor to the trailer winch, the tow man from the council arrived.
I explained that I had established that the owner was not going to remove it and I had permission from the boatyard so it was going home with me.
The Council’s man was an education to talk to.
Now you may think that this whole story is one of sheer luck and you never find nice cars ‘just lying around’. Well, I have to admit that I'd be surprised to hear about any more Porsches being abandoned but the Council’s man said, “you wouldn’t believe what I get to tow away!”
Apparently, there are hundreds of reasons for cars being abandoned. Bizarre ones like the owner is in prison, or done a runner from debts, or in the case of the South Coast many people come to the UK to visit on their yachts. The Council’s man had recently towed away a really nice BMW that morning.
A wealthy Italian couple had visited England for several months, bought a nice car to tour and when the time came to sail off couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of selling it, so abandoned it!
Apparently, there are lots of opportunities to pick up abandoned cars, if only you’re on the look out for them.
I have spotted several since but nothing to compare with the Porsche. But, there are millions of cars out there and I can GUARANTEE that a significant percentage get abandoned each year.
My theory as to why the Porsche was abandoned was that the engine was probably blown and the owner could no longer afford the bills, rather like the boats. One person’s misfortune is another man’s gain and all that! But that didn’t bother me as the car owed me precisely nothing, zip, nada, didly squat!
I got it home and got a key cut.
To my astonishment the engine roared into life at the first turn. I wrote to DVLA for the document which arrived four weeks later and now this magnificent lady can be seen regularly on the South Coast and at motoring events.
Now just in case you’re thinking “this would never happen to me!”
As I drove the Porsche out of the yard everyone stared in disbelief. “Lucky bleeder….!”
Now over 100 people worked in that yard, most had passed it every day for a year, not one had the foresight to procure it.
These opportunities ARE OUT THERE. Just be on your toes.
The car had suffered some rust issues being left next to the ocean so after a few years of ownership I decided to restore it.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE RESTORATION
What about TAX?
Some states and countries will require you to pay the required taxes if the fuel is used on the roads. EG. in Britain you will need to contact Customs and Excise who will require you to fill in a couple of forms and pay a fuel tax.
Compare that to what you’d pay at the pumps and Autoinfo have brought you another amazing moneysaver!
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a substitute fuel for users of traditional diesel fuel, commonly called ULSD or Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel.
Biodiesel is produced primarily from waste or used vegetable cooking oils utilising a special process that changes the characteristics of the oil to finish with a product that will power a diesel engine without any modification.
Is Biodiesel as good as normal Diesel?
Rest assured. Biodiesel is far better than ULSD if you take all the environmental advantages into account. You will notice little, if any, difference in performance.
You can completely substitute your normal diesel fuel with biodiesel or mix it in any proportion.
Good website, but I have a couple of questions:
1) The reason for using methanol and NaOH was to remove chemicals that gum up the motor. What are the longer term effects of just adding white spirit?
2) What about the supplies of waste oil? Seems to me they are finite and limited and will rapidly rise in price so that biodiesel will be only just cheaper than taxed DERV. What do you reckon?
There was a feature on vegoil on BBC’s Top Gear so I investigated it further.
I read a lot of scientific studies and tests on the subject and it most definitely works – there’s even a company in Birmingham (UK) that recycles used oil and turns out Biodiesel.
It is my understanding that the white spirit is added to lower the viscosity not to remove chemicals. The only biproduct of the refinement process is glycerin which is burnt of during combution. It is vegoil’s higher viscosity that causes the problems.
Pure vegoil will gum up the injectors – eventually – you could replace them many times over with the money saved but the addition of a solvent eliminates the need. I would run a tank of derv and injector cleaner (available from car accessory shops) periodically just to service the injectors. I have always done this anyway.
Top Gear tested our Biodiesel recipie and it worked – I’d imagine they did their homework also before broadcasting it to the nation?
In the third world and inaccessible areas they use all sorts of oils – rape seed, sunflower, palm oil….for generators and cars because of the price and scarcity of derv.
Supplies of waste oil are massive and it is a waste disposal problem but even if they do dry up it’ll still be cheaper to buy a chip fryer and heat the oil up – plus you could sell the chips as a sideline!!!
Glad you like the site – check out the parking and speeding fines book – these are real loopholes police, friends I have used successfully!
Will Biodiesel affect my engine warranty?
Biodiesel should meet what is considered to be the highest biodiesel standard DIN51606, and as such, will meet the EC standard currently under discussion EN14214. Almost all major manufacturers now accept these standards as evidence of compliance to be used in diesel engines, without modification.
Besides who’s going to know!
Why is Biodiesel environmentally friendly?
The biggest reason is the positive effect on the environment. Biodiesel does not contribute to net CO2 in the atmosphere, creates 30% less particulate emissions, 93% less hydrocarbons, 50% lower carbon monoxide emissions, and 50-85% less PAH’s (health risk hydrocarbons associated with diesel fuel).
It produces less offensive fumes, and, has a very high flash point, making it one of the safest of alternative fuels.
On top of all these benefits Biodiesel is produced from a sustainable, renewable raw material. Use biodiesel and you will be helping to protect the world.
(UK) Additionally, by the end of 2002, it is quite likely that waste cooking oils will be banned from use in producing animal feeds to safeguard human and animal health. This change in government policy could lead to wholesale illegal disposal of waste cooking oil in drains and landfill sites.
Biodiesel is therefore probably the most effective way of disposing of waste vegetable cooking oils in an eco friendly manner.
Will my car pass emission tests?
Yes it will- provided the engine is in good technical condition. Mostly, vehicles run on vegoil have lower rates of particles as vegoil contains more oxygen than diesel and so has a cleaner combustion.
- Biodiesel runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. No engine modifications are necessary to use biodiesel and there is no “engine conversion.” In other words, “you just pour it into the fuel tank.”
- Biodiesel can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. All diesel fueling infrastructure including pumps, tanks and transport trucks can use biodiesel without modifications.
- Biodiesel reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions, the primary cause of the Greenhouse Effect, by up to 100%. Since biodiesel comes from plants and plants breathe carbon dioxide, there is no net gain in carbon dioxide from using biodiesel.
- Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any amount with petroleum diesel fuel. A 20% blend of biodiesel with diesel fuel is called “B20,” a 5% blend is called “B5” and so on.
- Biodiesel is more lubricating than diesel fuel, it increases the engine life and it can be used to replace sulfur, a lubricating agent that, when burned, produces sulfur dioxide – the primary component in acid rain. Instead of sulfur, all diesel fuel sold in France contains 5% biodiesel.
- Biodiesel is safe to handle because it is biodegradable and non-toxic. According to the National Biodiesel Board, “neat biodiesel is as biodegradable as sugar and less toxic than salt.”
- Biodiesel is safe to transport. Biodiesel has a high flash point, or ignition temperature, of about 300 deg. F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 deg. F.
- Engines running on biodiesel run normally and have similar fuel mileage to engines running on diesel fuel. Auto ignition, fuel consumption, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
- Biodiesel has a pleasant aroma similar to popcorn popping in comparison to the all-too-familiar stench of petroleum diesel fuel.
Overall biodiesel emissions are lower than gasoline or diesel fuel emissions (with the exception of NOx, which we discuss on the next page). Compared to diesel, biodiesel produces no sulfur, no net carbon dioxide, up to 20 times less carbon monoxide and more free oxygen. Biodiesel has the following emissions characteristics when compared with petroleum diesel fuel:
- Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) by 100%
- Reduction of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 100%
- Reduction of soot emissions by 40-60%
- Reduction of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 10-50%
- Reduction of hydrocarbon (HC) emissions by 10-50%
- Reduction of all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and specifically the reduction of the following carcinogenic PAHs:
- Reduction of phenanthren by 97%
- Reduction of benzofloroanthen by 56%
- Reduction of benzapyren by 71%
- Reduction of aldehydes and aromatic compounds by 13%5.
- Reduction or increase in nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions by 5-10% depending on the age and type of engine.
Biodiesel and Cold Weather Cold Filter Plugging and Gelling
When diesel fuel or biodiesel cools, wax crystals can form in the fuel.
The crystals can plug fuel filters and stop the flow of fuel to the engine.
Diesel fuel #2 can be used down to about -10 deg. F (-23 deg. C) and diesel fuel #1 (kerosene) can be used down to about -20 deg. F (-29 deg. C).
In contrast, biodiesel made from rapeseed can be used down to (-9 deg. C), biodiesel from soy can be used down to (-1 deg. C) and biodiesel from used cooking oil or animal fat can be used down to roughly between (9-12 deg. C).
Cold Weather Solutions
There are many ways to keep a diesel vehicle’s fuel system warm in winter. In fact, some diesel vehicles come stock with cold weather equipment. There are six different ways to keep a diesel vehicle’s fuel system from gelling in winter. The use of a block heater at night and a tank heater during the day has allowed biodiesel to be used in Yellowstone national park down to -40 deg. F.
The six methods for keeping a diesel fuel system operational in winter are:
- An engine block heater to keep the engine warm at night. This helps with starting on cold mornings.
- A fuel tank heater, which circulates coolant through a pipe in the fuel tank.
- An electric element fuel line heater, which heats the fuel at one point.
- A coolant-operated fuel heater, which uses hot coolant and a heat exchanger to heat a section of the fuel line.
- An electric fuel line heater. This is like an electric blanket for the fuel line, which extends from the fuel tank to the fuel filter.
- Winterizing agents and additives.
How to Make Your Own Biodiesel
The following recipe has been reproduced courtesy of Keith Addison https://journeytoforever.org
Anybody can make biodiesel.
It’s easy, you can make it in your kitchen — and it’s BETTER than the petro-diesel fuel the big oil companies sell you. Your diesel motor will run better and last longer on your home-made fuel, and it’s much cleaner — better for the environment and better for health. If you make it from used cooking oil it’s not only cheap but you’ll be recycling a troublesome waste product. Best of all is the GREAT feeling of freedom, independence and empowerment it will give you. Here’s how to do it — everything you need to know.
There are at least three ways to run a diesel engine on bio-power, using vegetable oils, animal fats or both. All three work with both fresh and used oils.
- Use the oil just as it is — usually called SVO fuel (straight vegetable oil);
- Mix it with kerosene (paraffin) or diesel fuel, or with biodiesel;
- Convert it to biodiesel.
The first two methods sound easiest, but, as so often in life, it’s not quite that simple.
1. Mixing it
If you’re mixing SVO with kerosene or petroleum diesel (“dinodiesel”) you’re still using fossil-fuel — cleaner than most, but still not clean enough, many would say. Still, for every gallon of vegetable oil you use, that’s one gallon of fossil-fuel saved, and that much less carbon in the atmosphere.
Most people use a mix of up to 30% kerosene and 70% vegetable oil, some use 50/50 mixes. Some people just use it that way, others say it needs at least pre-heating and probably a two-tank system too, like SVO (see below), and we agree with that. The same goes for mixes with vegetable oil and biodiesel — usually 50/50. In both cases, you might get away with just using it with an older Mercedes 5-cylinder IDI diesel, which is a very tough and tolerant motor. Otherwise, not wise.
So, to be safe, you’re going to need what amounts to an SVO two-tank system with heating anyway, so you don’t need the kerosene. If you’re mixing SVO with biodiesel, you’ll use very much less of it by using it in the second tank for start-ups and stops rather than mixing it 50/50. (See next.) Or just use 100% biodiesel and don’t bother with two tanks and heating. (See after next.)
Mixes are a poor compromise. But they do have advantages in cold weather. Some kerosene or #1 diesel mixed with biodiesel lowers the temperature at which it starts to gel, and a 50/50 mix with biodiesel will do the same for an SVO system.
Message to the Biofuel mailing list:
” I stuck 3 litres of pure rapeseed oil from my local supermarket straight into the tank of my 1998 VW Caddy van. There were about 3-4 litres of dino-diesel in the tank. Once the dino had cleared the fuel lines, I was running on about 50% dino to 50% oil. The only differences I noticed were: A) the engine ran about 10 deg C cooler; B) the exhaust smelt like a roadside burger bar. Apart from that, no problems! As the weather is finally starting to warm up here, I may increase the oil/diesel ratio and see that happens. — Nick”
” One thing that will happen is that your cold starts will begin to deteriorate. Then your filter will probably start plugging. Then your injectors will likely, in time, get coked up. Then the spray pattern will be wonky. Then you’ll set the stage for ring sticking, glazing of the cylinder walls, increased lube oil consumption and eventual engine failure — if you can continue to get the thing started in the morning. More than 20% or so in the diesel is not a good plan for more than short term ‘experiments’. Unfortunately, you’re not doing anything new here, Nick, and if it was as easy as running high percentages of SVO in diesel, and being able to maintain reliability, we’d all have gone that way long ago. Regards, Edward Beggs, Neoteric Biofuels Inc
A variation on this theme is adding a solvent to the veg oil to lower the viscosity — usually 3% white spirit (a.k.a. mineral turpentine, Stoddard solvent, turpentine substitute). This raised a lot of interest after it was publicized on a British TV program — “just add a spoonful”. It also raised a lot of scepticism: “‘experimental’ at best” was the view of experienced SVO’ers, and “steer well clear” unless you have a 5-cyl IDI Mercedes (in which case you don’t even need the white spirit). We agree. Work on blends of SVO with other solvents, such as butanol and ethanol, is still experimental.
2. Straight vegetable oil
With SVO you have to start the engine on ordinary petrodiesel or biodiesel to warm it up, then switch to the straight vegetable oil, and switch back to petro- or biodiesel before you stop the engine. If you don’t do that you’ll coke up the engine and the injectors. This means having two fuel tanks — no simple matter with diesels, which have airtight fuel systems. Using SVO also means pre-heating the oil or it’ll be too viscous (thick).
But there’s a lot to be said for straight vegetable oil systems — running on straight vegetable oil while starting up and shutting down on biodiesel can be a clean, effective and economical option.
Biodiesel has some clear advantages over SVO: it works in any diesel, without any conversion or modifications to the engine or the fuel system — just put it in and go. It also has better cold-weather properties than SVO (but not as good as petro-diesel). And, unlike SVO, it’s backed by many long-term tests in many countries, including millions of miles on the road.
Biodiesel is a clean, safe, ready-to-use, alternative fuel, whereas it’s fair to say that SVO systems are still experimental and need further development.
On the other hand, biodiesel can be more expensive, depending what you make it from and whether you’re comparing it with new or used oil (and where you live). And, unlike SVO, it has to be processed — you have to make it. But the large and rapidly growing worldwide band of homebrewers don’t seem to mind — they make a supply every week or once a month and soon get used to it. Many have been doing it for years.
And anyway, you have to process SVO too, especially WVO (waste vegetable oil, used, cooked), which many people with SVO systems use because it’s cheap or free for the taking. WVO has to be filtered and dewatered, and probably should be deacidified, and SVO should probably also be deacidified.
Biodieselers say, “Well, if I’m going to have to do all that I might just as well make biodiesel instead.” But SVO types scoff at that — it’s much less processing than making biodiesel, they say. To each his own
|Needs processing||Guaranteed trouble-free||Engine conversion||Cheaper (depending on country)|
Costs and prices: Biodieselers using waste oil feedstock say they can make biodiesel for 60 cents US per gallon or less. Most people use about 600 gallons of fuel a year (about 10 gallons a week) — say US$360 a year. An SVO system costs from $300 to $1,200 or more. So with an SVO system you’ll be ahead in a year or two, which is not a long time in the life of a diesel motor. But will it last as long with SVO? Too soon to tell. Probably, if you use a good system. Recommendations, and much more, here.
Converting the oil to biodiesel is probably the best of the three options (or we think so anyway).
You could simply buy your biodiesel instead. Most major European vehicle manufacturers now provide vehicle warranties covering the use of pure biodiesel — though that might not be just any biodiesel. Some insist on “RME”, rapeseed methyl esters, and won’t cover soy biodiesel in the US, but this seems to be more a trade-related issue than a quality-control one. Germany has more than 1,500 filling stations supplying biodiesel, and it’s cheaper than ordinary diesel fuel. It’s widely used in France, the world’s largest producer. Virtually all fossil diesel fuel sold in France contains between 2% and 5% biodiesel. New EU laws will soon require this Europe-wide. Some states in the US are legislating similar requirements. There’s a growing number of US suppliers. Biodiesel is more expensive than ordinary diesel in the US but sales are rising very fast and prices will drop in time. In the UK biodiesel is to be taxed less than petrodiesel and it’s already available commercially.
But there’s a lot to be said for the GREAT feeling of independence you’ll get from making your own fuel (and it’s more than just a feeling — it’s real!).
If you want to make it yourself, there are several good recipes available for making high-quality biodiesel, and they all say what we also say: some of these chemicals are dangerous, take full safety precautions, and if you burn/maim/blind/kill yourself or anyone else, that will make us very sad, but not liable — we don’t recommend anything, it’s nobody’s responsibility but your own.
On the other hand, a lot of people are doing it — it’s safe enough if you’re careful and sensible. Learn as much as you can first — lots of information is available. Make small test batches before you try large batches. Make it with fresh oil before you try waste oil.
Wear proper protective gloves, apron, and eye protection and do not inhale any vapors. Methanol can cause blindness and death, and you don’t even have to drink it, it’s absorbed through the skin. Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns and death. Together these two chemicals form sodium methoxide. This is an extremely caustic chemical. These are dangerous chemicals — treat them as such! Always have a hose running when working with them. The workspace must be thoroughly ventilated. No children or pets allowed. See Safety for further information.
Where do I start?
Start here: make a test batch of biodiesel using 1 litre of fresh new oil in a blender. If you don’t have a spare blender, either get one (you can pick them up quite cheap second-hand), or try this.
Go on, do it! Get some methanol, some lye and some new oil at the supermarket and go ahead — it’s a real thrill!
Here’s the recipe, just use 1 litre of oil instead of 10 litres, and 200 ml of methanol instead of 2 litres, with 3.5 grams of lye. Here’s how to use a blender, and here’s how to mix the sodium methoxide — “Methoxide the easy way”.
Learn. You have some decisions to make. It’s all quite simple really, thousands of people are doing it, very few of them are chemists or technicians, and there’s nothing a layman can’t understand, and do, and do it well. But there is quite a lot to learn. You should find everything you need to know right here. We’ve tried to make it easy for you.
First, here’s how we started.
The process is called transesterification, which substitutes alcohol for the glycerine in a chemical reaction, using lye as a catalyst.Vegetable oils and animal fats are triglycerides, containing 7-13% glycerine. The biodiesel process turns the oils into esters, separating out the glycerine. The glycerine sinks to the bottom and the biodiesel floats on top and can be syphoned off.
We use methanol to make methyl esters. We’d rather use ethanol because most methanol comes from fossil fuels (though it can also be made from biomass, such as wood), while ethanol is plant-based and you can distill it yourself, but the biodiesel process is more complicated with ethanol. (See Ethyl esters.)
Ethanol also goes by various other names, such as whisky, vodka, gin, and so on, but methanol is a deadly poison: first it blinds you, then it kills you, and it doesn’t take much of it. It takes a couple of hours, and if you can get treatment fast enough you might survive.Methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) doesn’t work; isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) also doesn’t work.
The catalyst can be either sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH), which can provide a potash fertilizer as a by-product, but sodium hydroxide is easier to get and it’s cheaper. If you use potassium hydroxide, the process is the same, but you need to use 1.4 times as much. (See More about lye.)
Lye is dangerous — don’t get it on your skin or in your eyes, don’t breathe any fumes, keep the whole process away from food, and right away from children. Lye reacts with aluminum, tin and zinc. Use glass, enamel, stainless steel or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) containers for methoxide.
Our first biodiesel
We got about 60 litres of used oil from Lantau Island’s local McDonald’s. There were four 16-litre cans of it, a mix of used cooking oil and residual beef and chicken fats. Two of the tins were solidified, the other two held a gloppy semi-liquid. We warmed it up a bit on the stove (to about 50 deg C) and filtered it through a fine mesh filter, and then again through coffee filter papers, but it was quite clean — very little food residue was left in the filters.
Biodiesel from new oil
It worked, but we’ve learnt a lot since then. Now it’s easy to make high-quality biodiesel every time without fail. And we don’t use open containers for processing now, and neither should you — and mix the methanol in closed containers too.
We had difficulty finding pure methanol in Hong Kong, and eventually paid the very high price of US$10 per litre for 5 litres from a wholesale chemical supply company. It has to be 99% pure (198 proof) or better.
We used 2 litres of methanol to 10 litres of vegetable oil, and 3.5 grams of pure, granular lye (sodium hydroxide) per litre of oil.
You can get lye at most hardware stores. Shake the container to check it hasn’t absorbed moisture and coagulated into a useless mass, and make sure to keep it airtight.
We had to be quick measuring out the 35 grams of lye required — summer humidity in Hong Kong is usually about 80% at 30 deg C or more, and the lye rapidly got wet, making it less effective.
We mixed the lye with the 2 litres of methanol in a strong, heatproof glass bottle with a narrow neck to prevent splashing. It fumed and got hot, and took about 15 minutes to mix. (Use closed containers for mixing methoxide.)
This mixture is sodium methoxide, an extremely powerful base which enjoys eating stuff like human flesh — take full safety precautions when working with sodium methoxide, have a source of running water handy.
Meanwhile we’d warmed the 10 litres of new oil in a steel bucket on the stove to about 40 deg C (104 deg F) to thin it so it mixed better. In fact, 55 deg C (131 deg F) is a better processing temperature. Don’t let it get too hot or the methanol will evaporate. (Methanol boils at 64.7 deg C, 148.5 deg F.)
We’d made a wooden jig with a portable vice clamped to it holding a power drill fitted with a paint mixer to stir the contents of the bucket. This did a good job without splashing.
Stirring well, we carefully added the sodium methoxide to the oil. The reaction started immediately, the mixture rapidly separating into a clear, golden liquid on top with the light brown glycerine settling out at the bottom. We kept stirring for an hour, keeping the temperature constant. Then we let it settle overnight.
The next day we syphoned off 10 litres of biodiesel, leaving two litres of glycerine in the bottom of the bucket.
Biodiesel from waste oil
This is more appealing than using new oil, but it’s also more difficult.
First, get rid of the water content. Used oil usually has some water in it, and water in the oil will interfere with the lye, especially if you use too much lye, and you’ll end up with a bucket of jelly.
Here’s another way, from Aleks Kac — it uses less energy and doesn’t risk forming more Free Fatty Acids (see below) by overheating. Heat the oil to 60 deg C (140 deg F), maintain the temperature for 15 minutes and then pour the oil into a settling tank. Let it settle for at least 24 hours. Make sure you never empty the settling vessel more than 90%.
Waste oil needs more catalyst than new oil to neutralize the Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) formed in cooking the oil, which interfere with the transesterification process.
You have to titrate the oil to determine the FFA content and how much lye will be required to neutralize it. This means determining the pH — the acid-alkaline level (pH7 is neutral, lower values are increasingly acidic, higher than 7 is alkaline). An electronic pH meter is best, but you can also use pH test strips (or litmus paper), or phenolphthalein solution (from a chemicals supplier).
We also thought of using red cabbage juice, which changes from red in a strong acid, to pink, purple, blue, and finally green in a strong alkali. We didn’t have a pH meter then so we used phenolphthalein solution. Phenolphthalein is colorless up to pH 8.3, then it turns pink (or rather magenta), and red at pH 10.4.
Dissolve 1 gm of lye in 1 litre of distilled water (0.1% lye solution). In a smaller beaker, dissolve 1 ml of the cooled oil in 10 ml of pure isopropyl alcohol. Warm the beaker gently by standing it in some hot water, stir until all the oil dissolves in the alcohol and turns clear. Add 2 drops of phenolphthalein solution.
Using a graduated syringe, add 0.1% lye solution drop by drop to the oil-alcohol-phenolphthalein solution, stirring all the time, until the solution stays pink for 10 seconds. Take the number of millilitres of 0.1% lye solution you used and add 3.5. This is the number of grams of lye you’ll need per litre of oil.
Our first titration took 6 ml (not very good oil), so we used 6 + 3.5 = 9.5 grams of lye per litre of oil: 95 grams for 10 litres.
Then proceed as with new oil: measure out the lye and mix it with the methanol to make sodium methoxide — it will get even hotter and take longer to mix, as there’s more lye this time. Make sure the lye is completely dissolved in the methanol.
Carefully add the sodium methoxide to the warmed oil while stirring, and mix for an hour. Settle overnight, then syphon off the biodiesel.
The first five times we did this, using 10 litres of waste oil each time, we got biodiesel (a bit darker than the new oil product) and glycerine three times, and twice we got jelly. The answer is to be more careful with the titration: do it twice, just to be sure. Read on, and you’ll learn how to make high-quality biodiesel every time, without fail.
The production rate was less than with new oil, ending with 8-9 litres of biodiesel instead of 10. The acid-base Foolproof method, developed since, will get much higher production rates with heavily-used oil.
Biodiesel should be washed to remove soap, catalyst and other impurities. Some people insist on it, others don’t and argue that the small amounts of impurities cause no engine damage.
We recommend washing it. In fact we insist on it — good-quality biodiesel must be washed.
You don’t have to convert the engine to run it on biodiesel, but you do need to make some adjustments and check a few things.
Retard the injection timing by 2-3 degrees — this overcomes the effect of biodiesel’s higher cetane number. It also causes the fuel to burn cooler, thus reducing NOx emissions.
Petro-diesel leaves a lot of dirt in the tank and the fuel system. Biodiesel is a good solvent — it tends to free the dirt and clean it out. Be sure to check the fuel filters regularly at first. Start off with a new fuel filter.
Check there are no natural rubber parts in the fuel system. If there are, replace them. Viton is best. See “Durability of Various Plastics”.
Wear proper protective gloves, apron, and eye protection and do not inhale any vapors. Methanol can cause blindness and death, and you don’t even have to drink it, it’s absorbed through the skin. Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns and death. Together these two chemicals form sodium methoxide. This is an extremely caustic chemical. These are dangerous chemicals — treat them as such! Gloves should be chemical-proof with cuffs that can be pulled up over long sleeves — no shorts or sandals. Always have a hose running when working with them. The workspace must be thoroughly ventilated. No children or pets allowed.
Organic vapor cartridge respirators are more or less useless against methanol vapors. Professional advice is not to use organic vapor cartridges for longer than a few hours maximum, or not to use them at all. Only a supplied-air system will do.
The best advice is not to expose yourself to the fumes in the first place. The main danger is when the methanol is hot — when it’s cold or at “room temperature” it fumes very little, and this is easily avoided. All methanol containers should be kept tightly closed anyway to prevent water absorption from the air.
We transfer methanol from its container to the methoxide mixing container by pumping it, with no exposure at all. This is easily arranged, and an ordinary aquarium air-pump will do (the same one you use for washing the biodiesel). The methoxide is mixed like this — Methoxide the easy way, which also happens to be the safe way. The mixture gets hot at first, but the container is kept closed and no fumes escape. When mixed, the methoxide is again pumped into the (closed) biodiesel processor with the aquarium air-pump — there’s no exposure to fumes, and it’s added slowly, which is optimal for the process and also for safety.
In 2002 Britain was brought to a standstill by the fuel blockades – they didn’t work!
Now, there is a real answer to exorbitant fuel taxation available anywhere in the world; a soloution that can be ‘knocked up’ in your garden workshop…
RUNNING DIESEL ENGINES ON VEGETABLE OIL (BIODIESIEL)
It is perfectly possible to run your diesel engine on vegetable oil!
In some areas Supermarkets have rationed their supply of vegoil because so many people have cottoned onto this motoring loophole!
Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands. BUT it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!
Does The Cost of Fuel Make Your Blood Boil?
It should do!
The graphics below explain the costs that make up the price of a litre of unleaded at £132.9p and a litre of diesel at £137.9p so you can see who’s getting the biggest slice of the petrol pie:
In the UK we apply a fuel duty which is essentially an additional tax that is added to the price of petrol before it is sold. This duty extends to all Hydrocarbon fuels such as petrol, diesel, biodiesel and LPG’s that are sold for use in cars and makes up a significant proportion of the price we pay for fuel.
As this duty is applied to the price of fuel before VAT, any change to the level of duty will also have an affect on the amount of VAT you pay. When the government announced it’s budget this year (March 2011) the rate of fuel duty was reduced by 1p to try and stabilise the price of fuel which is 5p less than it would have been with inflation plus the planned 1p rise. To compensate for the reduced duty rate the government has increased the tax for oil companies by up to as much as 32%.
The second largest portion of the cost of fuel goes to the companies who supply the crude oil and those who refine it into fuel products like petrol and diesel. Incidentally the cost of refining diesel is substantially higher than that of petrol which, along with VAT makes the price you pay for diesel higher.
The petrol you buy at the pumps is subject to VAT which is another addition to the cost of all consumer fuels. The introduction of a new VAT rate of 20% at the start of 2011 saw the price of petrol rise further still.
If you always thought the high prices you pay at the pumps were down to the high markup added on by the greedy petrol stations you might be surprised to learn that in fact the retailers’ slice of the price of petrol is the smallest of all.
The reason for their low percentage because there is little room for margins as the price of fuel is already so expensive before it reaches the retailer. The competitive nature of the petrol stations to have the lowest price is also an important factor in the money they make from the price of a litre.
This is what made ordinary motorists livid and caused an unprecidented protest. The blockades were organised through BanThePumps.com – we have now taken over that role and intend to make a real difference this time!!!
BanThePumps.com has now been incorporated into Autoinfozone and will be the focal point of a renewed effort to help the crippled motorists, farmers, hauliers…
We will be posting regular updates and news about our Amazing Loopholes in the hope YOU can take advantage of them.
Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his actions in 2002 by refusing to cut fuel taxes during the week of petrol price blockades that brought the country to a standstill.
‘We cannot; we will not be forced into a change of policy,’ he told a news conference in London.
He said giving in to the protesters, ‘would not just have been irresponsible but the impact on the country’s economic credibility would have been immediate and catastrophic.’
Well we have an answer to Mr Tony Blair and leaders of all countries that over tax the soft target… an answer super-expensive fuel prices.
Although Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!
Basics about Diesel Injection and Vegoil
In contrast to diesel fuel, vegetable oil comes with a higher viscosity than mineral diesel fuel. This results in problems with the injectors and sometimes even with the injector pump itself. The spray pattern of an injector becomes no more than just a dripping of fuel or a single stream when the vegoil is at room temperature (20C).
The injector pump needs more power to get the fuel pressed through the injector pipes which causes a higher torque on the drive belt or the drive chain. A broken timing belt or chain will cause a severe engine damage.
In order to use vegoil as a diesel substitute, one must try to lower it’s viscosity down to diesel fuel level.
AUTOINFO’S BIODIESEL RECIPE…
has been widley tested and has proven to work – the viscosity of the vegoil is reduced to ensure a clean burn and the glycerin appears to be burnt off as a waste product.
Read all about it in ‘How to Run a Diesel Engine on Vegoil:
Download BioDiesel Factsheets Here
Biofuels, such as ethanol made from corn and biodiesel made from soybeans, help support American agriculture.
First Retail Biodiesel Pump in Denver Area Opens: Trucking fleets, school districts and diesel vehicle owners in the metro Denver area now have a convenient local source of biodiesel. Blue Sun Biodiesel and Shoco Oil, Inc., held the grand opening of Denver’s first retail biodiesel fueling station on Friday, November 14 at Shoco Oil, 5135 E. 74th Avenue in Commerce City.
How Does It Compare?
With all of these rules and regulations in place, it’s understandable that any viable petroleum alternative would cause a clamor. With that in mind, the most obvious question still remains: Does biodiesel work? In this section, we’ll weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel.
Biodiesel has several key advantages:
- Biodiesel is environmentally friendly.
- It can help reduce dependency on foreign oil.
- It helps to lubricate the engine itself, decreasing engine wear.
- It can be used in almost any diesel with little or no engine modification.It is safer than conventional diesel.
- One of the major selling points of biodiesel is that is environmentally friendly. Biodiesel has fewer emissions than standard diesel, is biodegradable, and is a renewable source of energy.
- Emissions control is central to the biodiesel argument, especially in legislation matters. There are a few components of emissions that are especially harmful and cause concern among scientists, lawmakers, and consumers. Sulfur and its related compounds contribute to the formation of acid rain; carbon monoxide is a widely recognized toxin; and carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect. There are also some lesser known compounds that cause concern, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), ring-shaped compounds that have been linked to the formation of certain types of cancer. Particulate matter (PM) has negative health effects, and unburned hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of smog and ozone.
Biodiesel does reduce hazardous emissions. Of the current biofuels, biodiesel is the only one to have successfully completed emissions testing in accordance with the Clean Air Act.
|Total Unburned Hydrocarbons||-67%||-20%|
In addition, B100 can reduce CO2 emissions by 78% and lower the carcinogenic properties of diesel fuel by 94% (National Biodiesel Board, U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technologies).
Another feature of biodiesel is that it is biodegradable, meaning that it can decompose as the result of natural agents such as bacteria. According to the EPA, biodiesel degrades at a rate four times faster than conventional diesel fuel. This way, in the event of a spill, the cleanup would be easier and the aftermath would not be as frightening. This would also hold true for biodiesel blends.
Biodiesel could also lower U.S. dependence on imported oil and increase our energy security. Most biodiesel in the U.S. is made from soybean oil, which is a major domestic crop. With U.S. petroleum demands increasing and world supply decreasing, a renewable fuel such as biodiesel, if properly implemented, could alleviate some of the U.S. energy demands. For more information on U.S. energy security, check out Biofuels and U.S. Energy Security.
Biodiesel also contributes to an engine’s lubricity, or its ease of movement. Biodiesel acts as a solvent, which helps to loosen deposits and other gunk from the insides of an engine that could potentially cause clogs. Since pure biodiesel leaves no deposits of its own, this results in increased engine life. It is estimated that a biodiesel blend of just 1% could increase fuel lubricity by as much as 65% (U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technology).
Biodiesel is also safer. It is non-toxic (about 10 times less toxic than table salt) and has a higher flashpoint than conventional diesel. Because it burns at a higher temperature, it is less likely to accidentally combust. This makes movement and storage regulations easier to accommodate.
Of course, nothing is without penalty, and biodiesel does have its drawbacks. Some have to do with the fuel itself, and many have to do with the bigger picture.
One of the problems with the fuel itself is the increase in NOx in biodiesel emissions. Often, in diesel fuel manufacturing, when you decrease the amount of particulate matter in the emissions, there is a corresponding increase in nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog formation. Though some of this can be addressed by adjusting the engine itself, that’s not always feasible. There are technologies being researched to reduce NOx amounts in biodiesel emissions.
Another problem is biodiesel’s behavior as a solvent. Though this property is helpful, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. Some older diesel vehicles (such as cars made before 1992) may experience clogging with higher concentrations of biodiesel. Because of its ability to loosen deposits built up in the engine (which may be there from old diesel fuel), biodiesel can cause the fuel filter to become jammed with the newly freed deposits. Biodiesel manufacturers suggest changing the fuel pump shortly after switching to high-concentration biodiesel blends. Components within these older fuel systems may also become degraded. In addition to deposits within the fuel system, biodiesel also breaks down rubber components. Some parts in the older systems, such as fuel lines and fuel pump seals, may become broken down due to their rubber or rubber-like composition. This is usually remedied by replacing such components. Though many manufacturers have included biodiesel in their warranties, potential for problems could still exist. For more information on biodiesel and vehicle warranties, check out The Biodiesel Standard.
Also, in some engines, there can be slight decrease in fuel economy and power. On average, there is about a 10% reduction in power. In other words, it takes about 1.1 gallons of biodiesel to equal 1 gallon of standard diesel.
The major drawbacks to biodiesel are connected to the bigger picture, namely the market and associated logistics. Of these, the most important is cost. According to the EPA, pure biodiesel (B100) can cost anywhere from $1.95 to $3.00 per gallon, while B20 blends average about 30 to 40 cents more per gallon than standard diesel. This all depends on variables such as the feedstock used and market conditions.
The other, perhaps more important issue is that of amount and availability. Though biodiesel isn’t necessarily produced in all 50 states, it can be made available in all of them. There are three major ways to get biodiesel, with each particular method better suited for certain types of customers. Biodiesel can be purchased directly from the supplier, from a petroleum distributor, or from public pumps. There are currently 19 NBB-members producing and marketing biodiesel in the United States. To find out how to get biodiesel, contact the National Biodiesel Board. Also, the Alternative Fuels Data Center has a search feature that allows you to locate refueling stations by city or state.
For information on locating biodiesel stations outside of the U.S., contact your local biofuels agency.
So how much do we make?
Given the number of different producers (i.e., federal, private, industrial) and crop sources, it’s hard to attach a neat figure. Right now, the U.S. produces approximately 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of biodiesel per year (U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technology). This production is flexible, and can be increased or decreased as needed. This amount could increase to an estimated 50 to 80 million gallons (190 to 300 million liters) per year, depending on resources and encouragement. With certain incentive programs activated, the Department of Energy estimates that there are only enough feedstock crops now to produce 1.9 billion gallons (7.2 billion liters) of biodiesel. In the future, potential demand could hit 2 billion gallons per year. There are programs in place to address some of this projected demand. For example, one Department of Energy program is researching a biodiesel made from spicy mustard seed. According to the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, this could potentially add another 5 to 10 billion gallons (19 to 38 billion liters) of biodiesel to the supply.
Make Your Own!
Biodiesel is safe and can be used in diesel engines with little or no modification needed. Although biodiesel can be used in its pure form, it usually blended with standard diesel fuel. Blends are indicated by the abbreviation Bxx, where xx is the percentage of biodiesel in the mixture. For example, the most common blend is B20, or 20% biodiesel to 80% standard. So, B100 refers to pure biodiesel.
Biodiesel isn’t just a catch-all term, however. There is also a formal, technical definition that is recognized by ASTM International (known formerly as the American Society for Testing and Materials), the organization responsible for providing industry standards. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the technical definition of biodiesel is as follows:
a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751
Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oil that runs in any unmodified diesel engine.
It can be made from any vegetable oil including oils pressed straight from the seed (virgin oils) such as soy, sunflower, canola, coconut and hemp.
Biodiesel can also be made from recycled cooking oils from fast food restaurants. Even animal fats like beef tallow and fish oil can be used to make biodiesel fuel. While biodiesel may sound like something from the movie “Back to the Future,” its use dates back over 100 years to the invention of the diesel engine.
Dr. Diesel’s Invention
Dr. Rudolf Diesel actually invented the diesel engine to run on a myriad of fuels including coal dust suspended in water, heavy mineral oil, and, you guessed it, vegetable oil. Dr. Diesel’s first engine experiments were catastrophic failures.
But by the time he showed his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, his engine was running on 100% peanut oil. Dr. Diesel was visionary.
In 1911 he stated “The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it.” In 1912, Diesel said, “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.”
Since Dr. Diesel’s untimely death in 1913, his engine has been modified to run on the polluting petroleum fuel we now know as “diesel.” Nevertheless, his ideas on agriculture and his invention provide the foundation for a society fueled with clean, renewable, locally grown fuel.
Biodiesel runs in any unmodified diesel engine. There is no “engine conversion” typical of other alternative fuels.
The diesel engine can run on biodiesel because it operates on the principle of compression ignition whereby air is compressed and then fuel is sprayed into the ultra-hot, ultra-pressured combustion chamber. Unlike gasoline engines, which use a spark to ignite the fuel/air mixture, diesel engines actually use fuel to ignite hot air.
This simple process allows the diesel engine to run on thick fuels. Since biodiesel is chemically similar to petroleum diesel fuel, you can pour biodiesel right into the fuel tank of any diesel vehicle. Biodiesel has many advantages as a transport fuel. Biodiesel has lower emissions, it is made domestically (which increases national security), it does not affect engine performance and biodiesel is produced from plants. Since plants are a product of solar energy, biodiesel is “liquid
The process of converting vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel is called transesterification and is luckily less complex than it sounds.
Chemically, transesterification means taking a triglyceride molecule, or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin, and creating an alcohol ester.
This is accomplished by mixing methanol (wood alcohol) with lye (sodium hydroxide) to make sodium methoxide. This dangerous liquid is then mixed into vegetable oil. The entire mixture then settles.
Glycerin is left on the bottom and methyl esters, or biodiesel, is left on top. The glycerin can be used to make soap (or any one of 1,600 other products) and the methyl esters is washed and filtered. The resulting biodiesel fuel when used directly in a Diesel engine will burn up to 75% cleaner than petroleum diesel fuel.
Transesterification was conducted as early as 1853. One of the first uses of biodiesel (transesterified vegetable oil) was powering heavy vehicles in South Africa before World War II.
Why make biodiesel?
Vegetable is a much more dense substance than diesel but biodiesel is very similar to diesel fuel.
Biodiesel benefits from a viscosity that is twice that of diesel fuel and a molecular weight is roughly 1/3 of vegetable oil. Most Diesel engines were designed to use highly lubricating, high sulfur content fuel. Recent environmental legislature has forced diesel fuel to contain only a minimum amount of sulfur for lubricating purposes.
Thus, the high viscosity of biodiesel makes it a perfect fuel of choice for diesel engines.
Basics about using pure Vegoil
Although Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!
Basics about Diesel Injection and Vegoil
In contrast to diesel fuel, vegetable oil comes with a higher viscosity than mineral diesel fuel. This results in problems with the injectors and sometimes even with the injector pump itself. The spray pattern of an injector becomes no more than just a dripping of fuel or a single stream when the vegoil is at room temperature (20C).
The injector pump needs more power to get the fuel pressed through the injector pipes which causes a higher torque on the drivebelt or the drivechain. A broken timingbelt or chain will cause a severe engine damage.
In order to use vegoil as a diesel substitute, one must try to lower it’s viscosity down to diesel fuel level.
How to lower oil viscosity
Vegetable oil can simply be made more fluent by heating it up to about 70-90ÁC. This has turned out to be the best temperature.
There are ways to do this in a car but they are complicated and require some alterations.
In tests it has been found that ‘used’ vegetable oil has a slightly changed chemistry similar to that of manufactured Biodiesel that has been through a refinery process called transesterification. This process is a reaction of the oil with an alcohol to remove the glycerin.
A group of chemistry students in America looked into this developed their version of biodiesel which was widely reported.
Each week the students picked up 25 gallons of spent cooking oil from a local restaurant, The Chippery.
By giving its oil to the students, the restaurant saved the $35/pickup fee charged by a rendering company.
The team used their reactor to convert the oil to Biodiesel by adding lye and methanol, generating only one byproduct glycerin, commonly used as soap.
Oregon State University Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department fuelled a VW with a clean-burning, “green” fuel substitute the students manufactured from used cooking oil. With guidance from IME faculty members, the team designed a manufacturing process that converts spent deep fryer oil from a local restaurant into Biodiesel.
With time they fine tuned the process to produce a form of Biodiesel pure enough to pour into a fuel tank. All their hard work paid off; the group’s Biodiesel powered the VW to the Oregon coast and back.
The cost of fuel for the 150-mile trip? Not a nickel.
Side benefit? The dark plumes of sooty diesel exhaust were replaced with the invisible and faint aroma of French fries!
But the students didn’t stop there. They have fine-tuned the process so that their Biodiesel can be certified to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
Many automobile and farm equipment manufacturers, including Volkswagen, John Deere, Audi, Caterpillar, BMW, Volvo, and others, now warrant their vehicles for use with biodiesel. The fuel has been tested widely by government and private industry with no negative side effects. Biodiesel has a higher lubricity than petroleum diesel, which can reduce engine wear.
AUTOINFOZONE’S BIODIESEL RECIPES
It must be stressed that the following recipe has been widley tested and has proven to work. It was first shown on BBCs Top Gear. The viscosity of the vegoil is reduced to ensure a clean burn and the glycerin appears to be burnt off as a waste product. But for the record Autoinfozone, it’s employees or associates accept no responsibility whatsoever for it’s use (we have to put that in just incase some fool tries to sue us because their 20 year old banger breaks down – not because of the Biodiesiel but because its an nail!)
As we’ve explained you need used vegetable oil. Now you can get it from local restaurants or heat it up to cooking temperatures and let it cool.
If using used oil it will need to be strained through a fine filter to remove any crispy fried fish bits!
Next step is to add a solvent to bring down the viscosity.
White spirit is the best, easily available product and preferably non-Kerosene based (for tax purposes).
To make 1 litre of Biodiesel add 3mls of spirit to 97mls of used vegoil and leave to stand for up to a week…that’s it!
And it’s far better for the environment than the expensive and soon to be redundant counterpart – diesel!
More refined Biodiesel can be bought from manufacturers. A good source of information can be found at https://www.biodiesel.org or type in biodiesel into Google.
If you receive a parking ticket, whether from the police, council, or a private parking company, is there anything you can do?
Hopefully, this article will inform you of rights that you never knew you had. The guide assumes that your car has not been clamped or towed. We have chosen to not deal with the clamping side as there is some fantastic news. Wheel clamping is now a criminal offence.
The Home Office estimates 500,000 drivers every year are clamped on private land.
An army of 1,800 clampers have been demanding an average of £112 each in release fees, with the racket often relying on drivers not spotting tiny or obscure warning signs about arbitrary parking restrictions.
In many cases, drivers have been marched to the cashpoint to pay on the spot, while others have experienced intimidation.
Wheel-clamping on private land was made a criminal offence, in a stunning victory for the Daily Mail
Now, after a year of campaigning by the Mail, clamping on private land – typically land owned by individuals but also including, for example, train station and supermarket car parks will be banned outright.
Towing away will also be outlawed, with private landowners who often share in clamping firms’ profits restricted to erecting barriers to keep drivers out or charging regulated parking fees.
Under previous Home Office plans, clamping would have continued but with drivers getting an independent right of appeal. There would also have been a maximum limit on release charges. All clampers would have been forced to be registered and stick to a code of conduct.
But now, under an outright ban far tougher than even campaigners had hoped for, clampers will risk not only an unlimited fine but also a criminal record for life which they would have to declare when they apply for new jobs.
The criminal offence will be punishable by an unlimited fine before the Crown Court for more serious cases, or up to £5,000 in magistrates court.’
Parking fines however are still a amjor source of revinue for private firms, councils and the police.
Here are a few pointers that will hopefully help you consider and evaluate your options when faced with a parking fine/ticket:
1. Know your rights. If you simply have a paper ticket and you’re sure it isn’t from the police or council but from a private company, you should know that private tickets do not come under criminal law but under contract law with the private landowner and the driver of the vehicle. Any info you give to them to confirm that you’re the driver can be used against you in court, but unless your car was clamped or towed, it is unlikely that they will go to the trouble and expense of going to court.
A recent high profile lawyer who appeared on BBCs Watchdog stated that ‘he knew of not one single case where a private company had sucessfully taken a driver to court’. Furthermore, he stated that ‘in his opinion, the parking company would have to mount such a large case in order to have a chance of winning that it would be impractical to do so’. He even stated that ‘if his mother received anything threatening from a private parking firm he would advise her to fold it into a paper plan and see how far it would fly!’
With regard to the threats made regarding obtaining a court order that would affect a person’s credit rating ie a CCJ (county court jusgement) this can only be obtained by winning a court case which as we’ve explaind, has never, knowingly been won.
2. Don’t pay. Paying up is pretty much the same as admitting guilt, and your chances of getting the money back become very slight. Most private parking firms make their money from the people who pay up because they think it is a real parking ticket, or those they harass or scare into paying it. If you ignore them, you may get a couple of template follow up letters threatening legal action. Worst case scenario you’ll get a couple of heavies sent your way (pretending to be baliffs when they are not), but you are under no legal obligation to follow up nor respond to these dirty scare tactics.
3. Forget appeals. According to Which?, the general consensus among legal experts and people is that you should not engage the private company at any time. The grounds for appeals, as summarized on This Is Money, are often vague and non-applicable for many individuals. How likely is it that your car was stolen, or the Traffic Regulation Order was invalid? Of course, appealing is often one of the only routes if you had already paid, whether if your car was clamped or not. But the key is to avoid all that in the first place but not handing your wallet over.
4. Be willing to call their bluff. There are very few, if any cases of the companies taking court action when there has been no contact made with the private parking company. If you don’t engage them at all, they are faced with the added task of hunting you down so they can pursue the matter. Once they’ve got you on the hook, they’ll ratchet up the pressure to settle. If they threaten to take you to court, know that they are usually not successful, so calling their bluff (or just ignoring them) may be a worthwhile option.
5. Don’t get scared. If you don’t know whether a ticket you got is from the police or council or from a private parking company, know that police or council tickets will say so. Some sneaky private companies will design the sign to appear in the likeness of authority, but it doesn’t matter how many police shields the parking company prints on the ticket, it’s still not a police ticket unless it says so.
6. Driver vs owner. Know that if you receive a parking ticket on private land, the driver, not the owner, is liable. If you are the owner of a car in which someone else has received a private parking ticket, you are not liable, and you have absolutely zero obligation to tell the parking company who was driving. many council letters are worded thus: They allege the offence was committed by YOU the owner eg ‘You parked’ … if you were not driving then there simply could be no offence as alleged!
7. ALWAYS read your ticket. That means both front and back, whether you plan to protest it or not and make note of any mistakes, such as make or colour of your car, and what the exact infraction is that you are accused of. If you don’t check, your dodgy parking neighbour might have even decided to ditch their ticket on your windscreen, with high hopes that you would pay for them instead! So always check your ticket.
8. Gather more facts and info If you receive a parking ticket from the police or the council, check out the websites here and here. This tells you which signs should have been removed and no longer have authority. It’s worth a look, just in case. Also, note that in Scotland, all clamping on private land is illegal.
In summary, if you’ve been the recipient of a private parking ticket:
- Do not pay them … end of story, no way, no how!
- Do not contact them in any way
- Ignore letters from the parking company and debt collectors, even if they are threatening
- After sending four or five unanswered letters, the vast majority will give up.
By Vince Wong
Internet auctions are becoming an ever more popular route to buy and sell new & used cars online.
Car buyers, particularly those in the market for used vehicles, have flocked to online auctions in ever increasing numbers. With thousands of people every day searching for that elusive bargain or “must have” car it has quickly increased the visibility of this sector making it one of e-commerce’s brightest success stories.
While the vast majority of online car deals go through without a hitch, the sheer volume of transactions performed on online auctions mean that it is inevitable that some auction users will be far from happy with their purchases.
Obviously buying a vehicle through an online auction site can present the buyer with problems not associated with buying from traditional auctions. However it can also provide the buyer with a wider range of vehicles, lower prices and much more accessibility.
You can negate some of the problems that may be encountered by following the simple 10 Step Safety Guide to purchasing vehicles supplied by Auction Auto Trader
Check The Vehicles Details
Thoroughly review the description, pictures, model and price of the vehicle – it may be an idea to print this out. Ensure you know what you are buying prior to placing a bid. The old adage “if the price is too good to be true, it usually is” applies especially on high value/desirable vehicles.
Check The Seller’s Feedback
Feedback is a way for previous customers to rate the seller and this is worth checking prior to bidding on an item. Most on line auction sites have a feedback system and it’s a great way to see if your seller has a good trading history.
Ask The Seller Questions
If you are unsure about any aspect of the vehicle you are considering purchasing then contact the seller. Good sellers will always be happy to answer reasonable questions. Can I have a test drive? Can I collect or will you deliver? Better to ask now than to leave it until it is too late.
Consider the vehicles total running costs such as: Insurance, Servicing, Fuel Consumption, Replacement Parts etc How old is the vehicle? How many owners? Has it been regularly serviced?
If you are buying a car in the UK does it have its V5 Vehicle Registration document usually known as the “log book”?
Nobody wants to pay over the odds for a car so to prevent yourself from bidding too high you may want to check what the cars usual sale price is. Prior to bidding you can seek out comparable used car pricing on sites such as Parkers or your local auto trader site – set a price you are prepared to bid to and stick to it.
When purchasing a car or any other vehicle you may wish to consider obtaining a report on it prior to bidding. As an example eBay UK motors offers potential bidders the opportunity to purchase a Vehicle Status Report. Specially designed for eBay Motor users and powered by HPI® the UK’s most trusted independent information source for the motors industry this report offers the buyer peace of mind.
Check The Small Print
How will the vehicle be delivered and is there a cost? A ploy by some unscrupulous sellers is to inflate the transport costs. Will the vehicle be insured in transit? How long will delivery take?
Check How To Pay
You need to check what form of payment the seller will accept and whether there will be any associated costs. Never Pay With Cash!! The best methods of payment from the viewpoint of the customer are via Credit Card direct or through companies such as WorldPay. Alternatively an on line payment service such as Paypal or NOCHEX is another secure way of making payment. Using the companies above will also ensure that the seller will not see your credit card number and details. By paying via Credit Card you may be entitled to additional protection subject to your card issuers Terms & Conditions. Finally as an additional option you may wish to consider using a reputable Escrow service to make payment.
Check Your Bid
How much are you willing to pay? Consider any additional costs such as delivery etc and then if you are still happy with it place your bid. Remembering that if the bid is accepted then you will be expected to complete your side of the deal and pay.
Despite recent changes in Europe and the UK there are still big savings to be made by importing your new car from Europe or Ireland.
If you use a reputable import agency the process should be as easy as buying a car from a franchised main dealer or any other garage.
Car Import Agencies can remove the hassle associated with importing your car, give helpful advice on new models etc. and complete or help you with all of the necessary paperwork with the DVLA and Customs & Excise.
Apart from the usual savings available agencies can often obtain fleet discounts to reduce prices even further.
Here’s More Info From DOT
This service will be of interest to individuals wishing to permanently import a car, motorcycle, or goods vehicle into the UK. Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) exist for this subject and can be viewed by following this link: FAQ’s – Importing A Vehicle
In order to successfully register a vehicle in the UK, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) needs to be sure that the vehicle in question is suitable for use on UK roads. Evidence of compliance can usually be provided in one of the following ways:
- Vehicles that are less than 10 years old, designed and built for the European Union and being imported from another European member State can have a certificate issued by VCA under the Mutual Recognition Scheme (see below).
Vehicles that are less than 10 years old and are being imported from another market outside of the European Union – Japan, USA etc., will usually need to have passed a Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) Inspection. This scheme is managed by our sister Agency VOSA, and more details can be found by following this link: Link to www.gov.uk (registering an Imported vehicle) (page opens in a new browser window)
- Low Volume / Small Series Type Approval is a third option open to manufacturers and some vehicle importers. For more information on this subject please follow this link to our main Car Type Approval page: Type Approval for Cars
The Mutual Recognition Process
The Mutual Recognition process (which is also sometimes known as the Commission Notice Procedure) requires that the person seeking to register the vehicle makes a number of declarations about the suitability of the vehicle for use on UK roads, and provides evidence of any alterations made to the vehicle. Alterations may be necessary to ensure compliance with the UK Construction and Use legislation, and the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations.
Following receipt of all necessary paperwork and the appropriate administration fee, VCA will issue a certificate that can be presented to the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority in support of the request for UK registration.
A list of the requirements, procedures involved and necessary forms can be found on thewww.gov.uk website – section entitled: A guide to the Mutual Recognition scheme (page opens in a new browser window).
Application Form with guidance:
Mutual recognition scheme – car application form (page opens in a new browser window)
Application Form with guidance:
Mutual recognition scheme – motorcycle application form (page opens in a new browser window)
For Goods Vehicles
Application Forms with guidance:
- Mutual recognition scheme – goods vehicle (under 1 year old) application form (page opens in a new browser window)
- Mutual recognition scheme – goods vehicle (over 1 year old) application form (page opens in a new browser window)
- Plating details form (page opens in a new browser window)
For Vans / Light Goods Vehicles
Application Forms with guidance:
- Mutual recognition scheme – Vans / Light Goods vehicles (page opens in a new browser window)
Application Form with guidance:
- Mutual recognition scheme – Motorhomes (page opens in a new browser window)
|Link to our Payment Form:||Payment Form (PDF 625.3KB)|
Please note that VCA is not able to offer an “over-the-counter” service. For security reasons, unannounced visitors will not be admitted into the building.
If you would like to check that your vehicle qualifies for treatment under the Mutual Recognition scheme, please contact a member of our team on +44 (0) 117 9524191. Otherwise contact details can be found within each of the above documents.
Note that VCA also offer service to manufacturers and importers who plan to take vehicles into the United States. Details about this service can be found here.
Choosing a method of car finance can be as confusing as choosing a car itself.
Just as there are many makes, models and specifications to pick between when opting for your vehicle of choice, there are many methods of car finance which each present their own strengths and weaknesses.
Why you should plan ahead and budget.
The most important factor when deciding on a method of car finance is to plan ahead. Make sure you research the topic (as you are doing here!) and think carefully about which car finance option suits your circumstances. Consider what you can comfortably afford each month, and how much you can afford to pay in the long term. Look at all options when choosing car finance – choose the option that is right for you.
Also try and save money wherever you can – shop around for the best deals, consider buying a new car online and familiarise yourself with the value of the vehicle you’re purchasing.
What are the different methods of car financing available?
There are many car finance options available to you – broadly these are buying the car outright; hire purchase; personal (car loan); car leasing and personal contract plans. The following sections examine each method and their pros and cons.
Buying the car outright: pros and cons.
If you have plenty of money to spare, buying outright is the most cost effective option as there are no interest payments – you simply pay for the value of the car.
Advantages of buying a car outright…
- No interest to be paid.
- You own the vehicle immediately.
Disadvantages of buying a car outright…
- Involves a large sum of money leaving your account at one time.
- No long-term security.
Hire purchase: pros and cons.
For most this is the traditional way of financing a car. It’s often arranged through a dealer but you can approach car finance companies directly if you wish. In effect you are hiring a car with a right to buy – you do not own the vehicle until every repayment is made.
Hire purchase advantages…
- The car is yours at the end of the term.
- Rates and minimum deposits are generally low.
- Total interest should be low and may be negotiable.
- You can end the agreement voluntarily and settle any balance remaining on your agreement.
Hire purchase disadvantages…
- If you don’t keep up repayments your car may be repossessed.
- Hire purchase rates can be higher than the leading personal loan rates.
- Monthly payments will be higher than leasing or PCP.
Personal loans: pros and cons.
You approach a bank or a loan provider for a car loan. You then take that cash to the dealer and buy the car outright. Your repayments are made to the loan company. Remember to shop around for a good loan rate.
Personal loan advantages…
- The loan is not secured on the car so you can sell whenever you like.
- Total amount of interest to pay is low compared to other options.
Personal loan disadvantages…
- Don’t assume it is a cheaper option than hire purchase – some dealers make commission by selling loans and so they might offer better deals.
- Monthly payments can be high, especially if you have a less than excellent credit rating.
Car leasing: pros and cons
With this method of car finance you pay a monthly sum over (usually) a two-four year period and at the end of the agreement you simply hand the car back in. You never own the car though some leasing companies will give you the option to buy at the end of the term.
Car leasing advantages…
- Great for those who want a new car every few years.
- Monthly payments are generally low and there is nothing to pay at the end.
- Generally only a small deposit is required.
Car leasing disadvantages…
- The car is never yours – though some leasing companies will give you the option to buy.
- The long-term cost of leasing will exceed that of buying if the owner keeps his vehicle for years after the loan end.
- You will be given a mileage limit and will be charged for exceeding it.
Personal contract plans: pros and cons
Personal contract plans (or PCP), is a similar process to hire purchase but you don’t buy the car at the end of the term. Instead the manufacturer/dealer works out how much the car will be worth at the end of the term and you pay off the difference, plus interest. At the end of the term you can buy the car outright, walk away or use the difference as a deposit on your next car.
Personal contract plans advantages…
- Low monthly payments.
- Maintenance charges are often included.
- If the car is worth more than the predicted value you can sell it on; if it’s worth less you can hand it back to the car finance company.
Personal contract plans disadvantages…
- You will be given a mileage limit and must stick to it if you want to return the vehicle at the end of term.
- At the end of the term you do not own the car unless you are willing to pay the balloon payment or take on another loan.
- Chance of a negative equity is higher than with other loans.
What other factors should you be aware of?
Always remember to ask for the ‘total amount payable’. This is the total cost to acquire the car after all interest payments and additional fees are included.
Also be aware of additional charges – such as administration and documentation fees that can be used to bump up a car finance company’s profits.
Look out for special offers too – such as 0% finance. Though on the surface this appears to be the most cost effective way of buying a car, there are often conditions attached such as paying up to a 50% deposit or paying off the loan within one year.
Finally, be wary of taking on more than you can afford. It is not a good idea to extend your mortgage to finance a car as you will pay far more in the long term. Always think about what you can comfortably manage on your budget.
Where should you go to finance a new car?
gauk Motors is one of the busiest motoring web sites in the UK and enables user to look at offers from brokers, main dealers and car supermarkets. You can look at the car financing options and cars available online at your leisure.
Buying a quality used car can be difficult unless you know what to look for.
Many people only look at the selling price and see a bargain, indeed this can be very tempting but you could in fact be putting you and your family at risk.
You should make sure the car has had a full check and seek professional advice to avoid getting a dud deal.
Below are some tips on finding a good and safe bargain:
- Make sure that when looking at the selling price you also take into account any work that may need done, insurance and tax. Do some price research beforehand
- Do not look at a car at night as it can look completely different and you may miss many faults.
- Check all documentation thoroughly, such as the MOT certification and make sure they are up to date and detail the cars history. Make sure the owner also has valid insurance.
- Make sure you see the V5 vehicle registration as this will ensure that you know who the owner is. Many people sell on behalf of others so you need to meet the real owner.
- Make sure the car comes with the keys that were originally issued as these can often be very expensive to replace.
- Always test drive the car before you purchase to ensure you like the way it feels and that it works properly.
- Look for any traces of a DIY repair job; check for markings of spray paint, replaced door panels or tailgate.
- Keep an eye out for damage to the underneath of the cars seats, seats can be expensive to replace.
- Do not give the seller any money until you have finalised all arrangements such as a scheduled delivery or collection and any work to the car that has been agreed to be fixed.
- Do not be bullied into buying a car and if you feel unsatisfied by what is on offer then remember that you are perfectly within your rights to walk away.
- Be sure to check the warranty before signing anything to ensure you know what is and is not covered and to make sure it will not cost you any extra.
- You can also attend auctions to buy a used car but make sure you do not get too carried away with the excitement of bidding. Set yourself a budget and stick to it.
- Always read the terms and conditions of any sale that you may commit to.
- When possible, take someone that has some experience/knowledge on buying used cars.
- Always fully test the car as soon as possible after buying.
Never, Ever Get Shafted When Buying a Used Car… What the Criminals Don’t Want You to Know!
It’s fifthly, slightly scratched and incredibly messy inside (thanks to your kids) but your family car is actually more appealing to thieves than you think.
A recent survey has shown that car thieves are changing their habits and targeting your average family car instead of the prestige vehicles such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. It’s all down to the recession.
The struggling economy has caused car buyers to tighten their belts and search out a bargain, pushing car thieves to adjust their targets. It now appears that lower value cars are just as valuable to the car thieves as the fancy sports cars, including your battered Vauxhall Meriva.
How can you protect yourself?
Luckily, advances in car security have made new cars harder to steal than ever but crime figures are still on the rise. Theft by the stealing of car keys is up to 80% and more and more car thieves are resulting to burglaries, car-jackings and muggings just to get their hands on your car keys. Scary stuff!
Many owners are now investing in a GPS vehicle tracking system to protect their vehicle. If your car is stolen, GPS technology pinpoints the exact location of your vehicle, allowing the 24 hour operating centre to liaise with Police, Security and Recovery services.
Some car security systems even arrange for a security guard to wait with your vehicle until recovery can be arranged.
It does appear that some things never change however, with the BMW X5 remaining as the most commonly stolen car. London and Greater London also remain as the hot spots for car theft with Essex and Greater Manchester following closely behind.
Make sure you’ve locked the car door!