Vegetable Oil can be used directly on cars even without been converted to biodiesel or running via a hardware kit. However, there is some skepticism by experts about the use of Straight Vegetable Oil, SVO as they claim that SVOs are very much viscous compared to the conventional diesel fuels from petroleum and its burning efficiency in the combustion chamber of car engines is very low.
But with a professional veggie-oil mechanic or engineer, an engine conversion for your car is very possible. There are several approaches in the design of a car to run on vegetable oil. Thus:
You can just pour in the SVO into the fuel tank of the car and off you go!
You can equally mix the SVO with kerosene or some quantity of diesel fuel and pour it into your car fuel tank and off you go!
You can also mix the SVO with an organic solvent, or petrol or some other engine performance enhancing lubricant and pour it into your car’s fuel tank and off you go!
However, the most appropriate way would be the installation of a two tank fuel chamber where the vegetable oil is pre-heated. Here you would start up and shut down your car with conventional diesel fuel.
Single-Tank SVO System: This system has the advantage of convenience. You do not need to switch from one tank fuel to the other. You just start your engine and shut it down on just one tank of fuel as in any other car. It is suitable for both direct and indirect diesel engines. This system is made possible by the pre-heating, specially designed injector nozzles, stronger glow plugs and increased injection pressure.
A highly recommended single-tank SVO kit is ‘Journey to forever’. This kit is made by Three German companies: Elsbett Technologie, VWP and WOLF.
The Elsbett Single tank kit comprises of:-
Oil temperature sensor
Dual fuel filters
Electric fuel filters
Two-Tank Straight Vegetable oil, (SVO) System: The Two-Tank SVO system is designed such that the car starts on the conventional diesel fuel and shuts then switches over to the vegetable oil when it gets heated to a temperature of about 70 to 80 degrees centigrade. The car is then switched back to run on the diesel fuel as the driver brings the car to a halt in order to purge the system of any vegetable oil to avoid cold vegetable oil coking up the injectors when next you try to restart the engine. In practical terms, the Two-Tank SVO system works best on long distance driving rather than on short intra-city trips. This system is most suited for Indirect Injection Engines.
Two-Tank SVO Kit Components:-
Stainless steel heat exchangers
Vegetable Oils Used As Biofuels in Diesel Car Engines
Below is a list of oils from plants commonly used as SVO in diesel car engines:-
- Oil palm – yields more than 500 gallons of SVO per acre
- Coconut Oil – yields more than 200 gallons of SVO per acre
- Rapeseed Oil (Brassica napus)– yields more than 100 gallons of SVO per acre
- Soybean Oil – yields more than 60 gallons of SVO per acre.
It is estimated that a 100kg of these Oil seeds would give the following oil yields:-
Sesame seed – 50kg
Groundnut – 43kg
Castor seed – 37kg
Mustard – 35kg
Palm kernel – 37kg
Rapeseed – 37kg
Sunflower – 32kg
Palm fruit – 19kg
Copra – 62kg
Cotton seed – 13kg