Unidentified frying object?


In 1912, Dr Rudolf Diesel prophesied "The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may ... become ... as important as petroleum products of the present time." Didn't he get that right!


FAST FOOD FUEL: Making your fast food go the extra mile, SsangYong Musso uses recycled vegetable oil as fuel to cut costs and reduce emissions.


NZ Autocar recently drove a new type of alternative fuel vehicle, and one that should be cheap to run and green at that.

The vehicle, a SsangYong Musso turbodiesel, has been converted to a dual fuel vehicle, at a cost of $5000 (includes second tank and conversion kit), running on diesel or vegetable oil. Locally, the alternative energy source is essentially filtered waste vegetable oil, with no additives. Dubbed "Envirofuel", it should not be confused with biodiesel, which can be derived from vegetable oils.


The real advantage, apart from price - a litre of used chip oil costs 49c "at the pump" - is that the diesel engine is much more environmentally friendly when burning vegetable oil because it is essentially carbon neutral. While waiting for the introduction of practical electric cars, running a diesel vehicle on vegetable oil is currently the best environmental alternative.


The concept is not new but is catching on as fuel prices rise and global warming is an increasing concern. Studies suggest diesels get better mileage on veggie oil than they do on diesel. Performance is said to be similar, though in our evaluation vehicle the VBOX suggested a doubling of 0-100 and 80-120 figures. So it's not exactly a fryer. However, the engine ran quieter and felt smoother when running on vegetable oil.

Diesels require slight modification to run on vegetable oils. The oil has to be heated to about 80?C so it has the same viscosity as diesel. The conversion kit does this, and also permits the use of most types of vegetable oil, or a blend of them, or even a blend of vegetable oils and diesel. If the vege oil runs out, the system automatically switches back to diesel operation. Moreover, the system rids the injectors automatically of oil, ensuring a clean start on a cold engine.


In terms of emissions, a diesel motor running on vegetable oil produces no net CO2 output and no sulphur dioxide. Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are reduced by 10-50%, hydrocarbons diminish by 10-50% and carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons are down by 60-100%. Particulate matter is halved, so the unpleasant diesel smell and black smoke disappear. Environmentally, vegetable oil is preferable to bio-diesel for its greater carbon neutrality.


- Source from autocar (Sep 20, 2005) -