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Old 07-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Diesel VS Propane

Propane 91600btu per gallon @ $2.86 = 32000btu per $1

Diesel 136600btu per gallon @ $3.80 = 36000btu per 1$

Ok so there is a little more btu per $ with Diesel..
it wont explode..
smells rank..
more expensive furnace , range , water heater..
easier to find in the field..
generator is a little louder..

I am at the point that I am trying to decide on a fuel to run

furnace
range
water heater
generator

Fridge is solar

I know the boating world like diesel because they have it and they dont like exploding at sea.

Any thoughts here....
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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Here is a good thread to read: Diesel Powered Trailer.
Seems to be zackly what your looking for.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:06 PM   #3
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Diesel fuel is great for your tow Vehicle. For your furnace, generator, etc, the smell, exhaust fumes and general mess involved with diesel fuel makes it undesirable for those applications, IMHO
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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I have a small diesel generator, and the exhaust is stinky. I don't mind the smell of larger diesel engines, but smaller ones seem to burn the fuel in a way that the smell is "enhanced" and not in a good way.

Propane equipment produces very clean exhaust. Maybe diesel gains some advantage if you put very high hours on your gear.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmotini
Here is a good thread to read: Diesel Powered Trailer.
Seems to be zackly what your looking for.
Thanks - just got finished reading the whole thread
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:53 AM   #6
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Did you take into consideration your price on diesel seems to be road use? Farm diesel or off road diesel is probably about .70 less per gallon. It has a red dye and will show up on a exhaust pipe if used in a truck.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:47 AM   #7
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Diesel is a mess and stinks.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:17 AM   #8
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If smell is the primary issue, you can burn biodiesel and I can affirm from lots of experience that it does not stink. The odor of the fuel is not at all like diesel and when burning is like cooking french fries in a deep fryer. I used it in a sailboat with great success.
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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Thanks kosm1o, everything run as well on the bio? Any failures? Clogs?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:41 AM   #10
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Maybe I am scared of being cold - last winter was 90-inches (double avg) and 4-1/2 months of snow, a true six months of winter.

I chose diesel since the tanks are built-in, fuel is easily transportable & available 24/7 - and being wholly separate from propane means both can be used simultaneously or as back-ups for each other - no law against having a nice range top in propane and a cat heater, etc.. If one chooses they can have instant propane hot water and hydronic heat with a diesel burner back up, that is in turn backed up by electric resistance heating.

Your figures for diesel is low - 142,800 BTU, then subtract 1% for ultra-low sulfur fuels so 141,370 BTU per gallon - so 37,200 BTU per dollar - or 42,800 BTU for non-road-use diesel.

But the thing you're omitting is the efficiency of devices - a new LP furnace or RV water heater maybe can reach the high 70%'s in perfect tune but any older one is 55-70%, then there is the electrical draw & wiring limitations.

Diesel mostly will be more exacting in its metering and control of heat since the systems have to be more elegant unless you're using a drip into a hot pan vaporizing burner.

And there is no law that the exhaust stack can't toss the diesel above roof height - there are enough motor coaches with diesel heat and power that fog the surrounds at waist height already.
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:50 AM   #11
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Wabbiteer what diesel systems do you use? Any guess on efficiency?

I really like the idea of ejecting the propane from the AS
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:09 AM   #12
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Thanks kosm1o, everything run as well on the bio? Any failures? Clogs?
No problems with anything. Bio diesel is used quite a bit here in Michigan. Ann Arbor buses use it because of the improved odor. Ferry service by some on the great lakes use it as well. The only issue I hear of is in cold weather. Bio diesel gels up at a higher temp than regular diesel. If you know that, you just need to be sure the bio diesel you are using is treated for cold weather. Here in Michigan BP is the best source and they sell the blend of 20% bio diesel 80% diesel and pure bio diesel. Surprisingly both have no odor.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:35 AM   #13
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So the only good range I can find is a Wallas 87d @ $4500 eeek
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:42 AM   #14
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No lie, these things are complex and can be expensive to repair.

I don't have a installed system, I have shelves worth of parts so far - things I've sniped at auction or collected at surplus or business liquidators. I'm committed to diesel to the tune of about $2200 so far but that covers zoned heat and hot water with the option of solar hot water heat add-on.

Espar Sizing 2

You just had to ask about efficiency... Book values on heat output transfer into coolant at lowest setting is 73% without any secondary exhaust heat scavenging - which I have equipped into the system. I've got a Hydronic10, though the 12 model has a lower idle output that might be nice...

http://www.itrheat.com/hydronic.html

ITR makes a nice package for a diesel HW heating system, that $2200 rolled into one of those would simplify things considerably!
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