I have a Skoda Octavia 1.9 turbo diesel. I notice that a local filling station is selling Biodiesel at about 15P a litre cheaper than normal diesel. I must find out if it is 100% Bio or a mix. What are your opinions regarding this as a fuel. Can it cause problems. TIA
What are they meaning by "biodiesel" ? If it's the genuine product (i.e. esterified), then it should be OK in almost any modern diesel car. Skodas (really VWs in general) are noted as particularly tolerant of them, even if you're using the non-esterified chipfat blends or rendered duck fat.
Hunt the links from T4 Sustainability's website, and the tales of the guy who runs Mercs and VW Passats on fat blends so viscous he has to pre-heat them to pump them.
They might be "noted as particularly tolerant" but my 1.4 Fabia has big notices on the filler and in the hand book saying No bio-diesel. When I took this up with VAG technical they waffled and did not seem to have heard of the gradually increasing amounts of bio in Derv, preferring to quote the Derv BS/EN standard AND I was asking about bio quoting the relevant EN standard for transesterfied bio.
If its out of warrantee I expect it will be fine however it is likely to emulsify any water that is in the tank (which may be no bad thing in small quantities) and it also seems that it has a cleaning effect on the gums and deposits in the tank & pipes so be prepared to do a few short interval filter changes.
Also note that it can attack certain "rubber" fuel system components. For instance one of the larger UK players in a niche engine market investigated the use of bio & did tests (Japanese FIE equipment with inline pumps). They said that all that needed to be done was to use an electric lift pump instead of the mechanical one fitted to the engine. I suspect my 1.4 already has an electric pump - to dammed hard to see around the engine.
In a similar vein and I do not know if its been reported here. The oldest and possibly the lowest volume UK owned maker of industrial engines is successfully running their engines on used sump oil having filtered it via three filters ending up with a 1 (I think) micron final filter. They are pitching it as a combined heat and power generator to places like local authorities who at present have to pay for oil disposal from their fleets of vehicles.
I did a study at work to run our fleet of Vauxhall and VW vans on it was told by both makers put it in the vehicles and any warranty goes out the window, I also found that older diesels 10 yrs + no problem but modern units a no no. We now run an active method of MPG on original diesels amongst the drivers.
Yes, I've heard of that particular need before (particularly true where I am, where Winter temps* will get down to -30). I still think it'd be an interesting project to try, though - problem is, diesels are pretty darn impossible to find this side of the Pond :-(
but engine block heaters are very common here, too, for that reason. Most houses, hotels etc. have power outlets on the outside walls so you can plug your block heater in so the vehicle will start in the morning, and it wouldn't be impossible to pre-heat fuel via electric heat in order to start the vehicle (and then via 'leccy or engine heat once running)
I read somewhere that homebrew fuels can clog injectors - but also many a tale where folk have put many thousand miles on vehicles with such alternative fuels without incident. If I had a suitable diesel vehicle already, I'd be trying it...
Look at central Europe. Diesels are favoured because of their easier behaviour in the Winter, so long as you're prepared for it. In the UK, the most you'll see is a winter blend fuel and maybe an electric heater wrapped around the fuel filter. On big Tatras there's a small fuel tank behind the cab with a pre-heater in it. These pre-heaters are sometimes electric, sometimes (for things likely to be overnighted away from base) run from a separate fuel-burning water-circuit cab heater system, like an Eberspacher.