Using Vegetable oil as a diesel fuel

Current research

  Much of the research that goat industries is involved in is in the form of databases on the internet. The vehicle database now contains details of over 150 vehicles running on straight vegetable oil from visitors to this web site, illustrating how the internet can be a useful research tool. In addition to this, we have a discussion forum which itself has highlighted some interesting points. One of our most important values is to try and be un-biased in our outlook, which means being able to look at the problems in using vegetable oil in an honest fashion. We are not involved with 'hard sell' environmental politics or trying to float on the stock exchange or such like and so are able to offer open debate and free access to our resources. This research relies on contributions from people visiting the forum and database, both of which are true melting pots of ideas, and goat industries is commited to keeping this going.

  Other research that goat industries is involved in is concerned with the production of biodiesel. At present we are working on a PLC based automatic machine which works in the same way as a washing machine - it goes through a program based on timers, triggering valves and pumps so that the plant can be run un-manned, which is safer and cheaper.

Further research

  Biodiesel itself, when compared to ULSD is still relatively unrefined, which may be good from an environmental point of view, but in practice it causes problems in diesel engines. Part of the problem is that engines themselves are becoming more and more sophisticated, in an attempt to improve efficiency and reduce emmissions. One of the main problems with biodiesel is that it freezes at much higher temperatures than ULSD and so is not as useful in colder climates and has to be blended as low as 5%. Biodiesel fuel can be 'winterised' and winterisation is one of the main areas that needs to be developed. At low temperatures the long chain molecules of methyl ester align alongside each other and 'set' into a crystaline structure which may continue to atract other molecules until the crystal reaches a massive size and can be seen in the fluid as a haze and then, after a certain time, wax. Fossil derived diesel used to do the same thing but the petro-chemical industry developed high temperatue catalytic proceses which 'isomerised' the long chain molecules, putting branches onto the structure which prevents the molecules ligning up next to each other so easily. The great challenge for biodiesel is to achieve the same thing, to put branches onto the methyl ester molecules wihout destroying the sensitive ester bond.