My car

Cycling, trains, walking. This is the place to talk about how good or bad cycle routes are, mention great train journeys, talk about car sharing schemes or husky travel. Anything in fact that is about transport that is a little alternative.
LynneBee
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Post: #14994 LynneBee
Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:17 pm

I have had my car for 3 years now and I love it, why cos it runs on flex-fuel (petrol or ethanol) I use the ethonol, it is cheaper and cleaner, do you have ethanol available in your home countries???

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Goodlife1970
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Post: #14998 Goodlife1970
Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:24 pm

Not sure about ethanol but we do have LPG and theres a lot of interest in Vegetable Oil for diesel engines.Why does it seem that other European countries have a major head start on the UK with assisted conversions,cheaper alternative fuels and a much better public transport system? :cry:
Now, what did I come in here for??????

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Post: #15000 ina
Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:29 pm

Goodlife1970 wrote:Why does it seem that other European countries have a major head start on the UK with assisted conversions,cheaper alternative fuels and a much better public transport system? :cry:


Because to develop these things costs a lot of money, and the UK always want to wait until everybody else has made all the mistakes that can happen in the initial phases, so they can go in big style for less money... Only then to start years later and make different mistakes of their own.

My theory, anyway.
Ina
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Post: #15012 Muddypause
Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:53 pm

In the UK we have just (last week) had the very first ethanol pumps installed on fuel station forecourts. There are probably less than half a dozen in the country. But there are probably less than half a dozen cars that can use it, too. IIRC, only Saab and Volvo will import them into the UK at the moment.

Ethanol, for those that don't know is bio-petrol, made from bio-mass (usually sugar cane), and is potentially carbon neutral (the carbon emissions from the car are balanced by the carbon absorbed in growing the plants - in practice the processing factories are probably less than carbon neutral themselves, so the end product will carry some carbon debt).

I have to say that I have the same reservations about ethanol that I have for bio-diesel. It is certainly better for our carbon emissions than fossil fuel, but if we are to use it in the same way that we use petrol, we will be in as much trouble - the amount of land required to grow enough bio-mass will be huge, and lead to monoculture, GMO, cash-crop nations, tyrants and warlords. We have to figure out a way to use less fuel - I can't see another answer.

Sorry; ranting again - you lot should be used to it by now!

If anyone wants to know more about LPG, I can wax lyrical about that, too. It's a fossil fuel, so not an answer for the future, but its better than petrol, and I converted my car to run on it a few years ago.
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Goodlife1970
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Post: #15014 Goodlife1970
Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:08 pm

In tommorows budget it seems that the chancellor will be announcing a higher rate of tax for "gas guzzling,high CO2 emitting 4x4s" Hmm ok,lets look at the facts here then,our 4x4 actually uses LESS fuel than our old Volvo,so not much truth in that statement then. Ok,so I dont know if our Landrover has higher emissions than the Volvo but I have read that there will be tax breaks for "Greener fuels" so if we convert to SVO or WVO thus making our vehicle emissions much lower do we then get the tax breaks? Somehow methinks not! The current system for SVO/WVO conversion is not only extremely complicated and seriously flawed (naturally in favour of the Taxman) its so damned expensive,the conversion costing around £1,000 (anyone know anything different please feel free to tell) that you can hardly call it encouragment to be greener! If the Powers That Be were serious in their commitment to lower CO2 levels they would A) Ditch their luxury Jags,BMWs ect and B) provide free/assisted funding for conversion to greener fuels,whatever they are,cant see that happening either though eh?
Now, what did I come in here for??????

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Post: #15031 Muddypause
Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:37 am

I wouldn't like to pre-empt the budget - there has been a lot of speculation; let's wait until the anouncement tomorrow for the facts.

You are right that the current situation regarding the duty on bio-diesel is in a mess. This is my understanding of it:

There is, in fact, a tax break on the fuel already of 22p per litre (IIRC). However, the taxman is interpreting the law in such a way that pure vegetable oil (straight - SVO, or waste - WVO) is not considered to be bio-diesel - it has to have been processed first (transesterification). There is, I believe, a test case before the courts about it now. The problem with processing the oil into bio-diesel is that, commercially, it is a costly procedure, and even with the tax break there is usually no difference in price. You could set up your own processing plant in your garden shed - people do; I know someone who collects waste vegetable oil from local restaurants, and does his own processing (his webpage here). As a chemical process I believe it is pretty much the same as soap making, but on a larger scale - the waste product of soapmaking is bio-diesel; the waste product of bio-diesel is soap (chemists and soapmakers will correct me on this).

Using processed bio-diesel is, as far as the engine is concerned, exactly equivalent to using pump diesel. It is possible to use unprocessed vegetable oil as it is (straight off the supermarket shelves), but there are issues mainly with viscosity, and the engine has to be adapted to enable it to use oil like this.

There is also a problem with the way the duty is collected. Normally, you pay for fuel duty in the overall cost at the forecourt. But if you make your own, or use pure veg-oil, you are required, by law, to keep records, and pay the duty accordingly. This is a whole can of beans. Many people see it as an easy way of tax evasion, which can't be right, and will inevitably attract bad publicity, close scrutiny and restrictive rules from the taxman. But on the other hand, this only complicates things for honest veg-oil users to the point where it is difficult to properly comply with the law. Getting caught out can be costly.

I'm not sure how things stand with regard to grants to assist with conversion costs with veg-oil. For LPG, up until a year ago, there were Powershift grants in England and Wales, and Autogas+ grants in Scotland. There were some administrative difficulties with these grants, but if you fulfilled the criterior you could get 75% of the conversion cost paid for by the government. This undoubtedly assisted in establishing an LPG infrastructure of converters and suppliers. Since then, the government has allocated several million pounds for further grant aid, but it has been stalled by the European parliament because it doesn't conform with some EU directive. To be fair to the UK government, they have been trying, but can't make any progress at the moment. Any grants for veg-oil conversions would probably fall in the same way. This is a great pity, because a bio infrastructure will probably always be stunted without grant aid like this.
Stew



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Post: #15040 Wombat
Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:37 am

Nope!

Been stomped on by the oil companies.....

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Post: #15198 gug
Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:12 pm

Muddypause wrote:Many people see it as an easy way of tax evasion, which can't be right


I'm not sure about right (and wrong). Its certainly illegal (like more and more things lately - depending upon what our dear leader feels like this week).

I have no objection with paying tax (christ knows, as a single man with no children - I pay more than most - just see how i benefitted from GB's budget yesterday (not) ) - but Its important to resist unfair taxation.

Just as the Poll tax was resisted, so must the council tax be resisted ( nowhere else is a "tax" NOT based on a persons "usage" or ability to pay - Council tax is simply a licence payable to the Government to keep you out of prison - but thats for another time !) - and so must ridiculous energy taxes and laws. The government should be encouraging the use of alternative fuels, often they do the opposite.

(dragging myself back on topic after my rant) As for converting your Planet Killer to run on SVO - Just find out what type of Injector you have. It'll either be inline (bosch type) or Rotary ( Lucas type).
If you've got an inline injector, just mix SVO directly with your diesel ( at most up to 50%) - It'll be fine (NOT WVO though - that needs to be filtered).
If its cold, lower your mixture.
If you have a rotory injector, dont bother, I'tll tear itself apart after a few miles. (if you're dropping of Little Jocasta and Aubrey off at school in an a range rover every day then I thoroughly encourage you to tear your injector to pieces :wink: )


If you buy SVO - pay cash.

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Post: #15208 gug
Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:05 pm

Incidentally...

http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_svo.html

... advises against what I've said above. As usual, with any advice, your mileage may vary (maybe literally).

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Post: #15211 ina
Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:23 pm

Hi gug, and welcome to the forum!

Btw, re Goodlife's earlier post, from what I picked up on the radio yesterday, the new higher tax on gas guzzlers does not just go for 4x4s, but (quite rightly) for all gas guzzlers alike.
Ina

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Goodlife1970
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Post: #15225 Goodlife1970
Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:29 pm

Nice to know,everything being equal and all. We have book,DVD and a weekend to spare,thinking of doing the conversion ourselves.
Now, what did I come in here for??????

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Post: #16445 ecoandrew
Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:29 am

Biodiesel and ethanol are both being researched pretty heavily in the United States. Currently in the US most of the biodiesel is made from Soy beans, while ethanol is made from corn. Neither of these sources yeild the most amount of finished fuel that could be made.
Algae can yeild something like 900-20000 gallons of oil/acre/year that can be comverted into biodiesel. I realize that is a huge range but those are the numbers I have seen, they can from a book called Biodiesel by Greg Pahl.
Soy is only around 45 gal/acre/year. For ethanol research is being done on waste products such as potato starch and sugar beet waste which can be made into ethanol. There are other sources too such as cellulose, which I have heard and read that is yeild much higher amounts of ethanol than corn. I think there is still some hope that we can get alternative fuels more efficiently than we currently are. But like Muddypause said if we don't increase fuel efficency and driving habits we are going to be in the same boat we are in now only with different fuels.

You guys might be interested in something like this.
1 cylinder VW that gets up to 0.89 litres per 100 km (317 mpg)
Wild eh? I would love to have one. I could still run biodiesel.
Andrew

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Post: #89751 dh ver1.0
Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:27 am

Muddypause wrote:
If anyone wants to know more about LPG, I can wax lyrical about that, too. It's a fossil fuel, so not an answer for the future, but its better than petrol, and I converted my car to run on it a few years ago.


Hello, Muddypause - I could do with a bit of lyrical wax (hmm...I wonder if you could burn that in a car engine - or at least use it to buff up the bodywork) on LPG. My commuter mileage is horrendous at the moment, and I have wondered about LPG as the next step. Moving nearer to work isn't an option at the moment, and nor is buying a flash new honda hybrid. I suppose I need to know that if I pick up a second-hand LPG vehicle on ebay, what am I looking for? are there good and bad systems? Am I right in thinking some switch between fuels themselves, and others need you to do it manually? Is factory-fitted better than retrofit (I think I know what your answer will be to that one!). I've currently got a 6-year-old joe average family car that could be converted, as long as it started to pay for itself eventually! I don't deny that finance is a part of my thinking, but more than anything, I just think my 350 petrol-miles a week don't relfect what we're trying to do elsewhere in our lives. Help! Please!

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Post: #89767 Martin
Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:26 am

http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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Post: #89789 mrsflibble
Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:54 pm

we don't have ethanol available here; but my volvo book assures me that our S80 would run on Rape Methyl Ester if we were able to get hold of it.

mind you; because it's run by fuel from the tank, we wouldn't be able to use the heater if we were running on RME 'cos the fumes would knock us out.
oh how I love my tea, tea in the afternoon. I can't do without it, and I think I'll have another cup very
ve-he-he-he-heryyyyyyy soooooooooooon!!!!


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