Vegetable oil fuels are an alternative for diesel fuel as well as for the use of heating oil burners. More recently they are becoming the fuel of choice for green-minded vehicle drivers.
Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, did initially experiment with engines running on vegetable oil fuel. He thought that it will be a more seductive idea to farmers, but because conventional fuel was cheaper, it was used instead.
As shortages of conventional fuels across the world were encountered, somewhat due to World War I and other world disputes, further interest was shown in these kinds of fuels. This was in the 1930s and 1940s, and again during the 1970s and 1980s.
This kind of fuel does however have a higher kinematic viscosity. In order to be able to use vegetable oil fuel in compression-ignition engines, the oil’s kinematic viscosity must be reduced. This is done by blending or cutting the fuel.
This process involves the dilution of the fuel by adding a low-molecular weight solvent.
One of the advantages of vegetable oil fuel is that is it widely available. Vegetable oil is widely used and can be bought just about anywhere. Many restaurants even give away their used veggie oil to people looking to fuel up their cars.
Another great thing about vegetable oil fuel is that you car will be able to go further on less. There is no burning of fossil fuels and thus cuts pollution derived from conventional fuels.
Furthermore, it is a renewable source of energy and can be used without any harsh environmental effects.
But, as with all good things, there are disadvantages. First of all, the use of vegetable oil can damage you engine built for conventional fuels. It is said to damage piston rings, increase the wear and tear of the vehicle as well as causing fuel pumps to fail.
Fuel lines get blocked and you will have to find your own provider of vegetable oil and have a place to store it as well. You will want to have your diesel vehicle properly converted to avoid complications.
Also, the conversion off your car will cost you. You will still need to use regular diesel, the vegetable oil being placed in a separate tank (probably in your boot [trunk]). If you are handy, get a kits that help you do this, if done wrong, can damage your vehicle. Many more people are offering biofuel converter services now. -ANNABEL SCHOEMAN