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Old 12-18-2004, 01:12 PM   #15
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There's an abundance of information on the Internet about biodiesel, but what they often don't tell you is that the process of making the stuff involves some pretty nasty chemicals that you can't just buy at the grocery store. The people I know who make their own have elaborate setups and wear full throw-away environment suits to protect them from the stuff they have to deal with. You also have to figure out what to do with the byproducts, which are considerable in volume (gallons of glycerine).

Instead of trying to make the stuff, check around for a commercial source. Biodiesel suppliers are popping up everywhere. It's certainly worth buying it rather than trying to make your own. And it really does smell like french fries at the exhaust pipe.

Keep in mind that in the winter (up north) biodiesel is actually typically 50-80% regular diesel fuel, because biodiesel alone will not flow at low temperatures. Only in summer can you use 100% biodiesel fuel, and even then it is usually 20% regular diesel (often called B-80).
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Old 12-18-2004, 01:41 PM   #16
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Oh WOW, this is all very interesting and scary? knowledge. I'm going to the biodiesel because I can't use propane. But if it's mixed with regular diesel- then so much for that idea. Diesel fumes for me are the first 3 letters. I have got to go to one of those Real Goods workshops on biodiesel. Yeah, I thought about the McD guys finally realising the goldmine they are giving away! And YUCK, having to EAT french fries? I need that engine on "Back To The Future III" Any other ideas not involving petrochemicals and the like? Think of "boy in plastic bubble" except the plastic wouldn't be so great, unless outgassed. Thanks, suz
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Old 12-18-2004, 03:08 PM   #17
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Solar Living Center

If you have not been to the Solar Living Center (Real Goods) in Hopland, you owe yourself a visit. It is about 2 hours north of San Francisco in Mendocino County. They have about 8 or 10 acres that was once barren field and is now an oasis with green (trees and ground cover) everywhere, all irrigated with well water pumped by solar 12v dc pumps. And beautiful buildings, all heated, cooled, and powered by solar. A solar parking structure, etc, etc. It really shows what can be done with the free energy from the sun.

If you go, do yourself another favor and reserve a room at the Hopland Inn, just down the street, an old, beautifully restored Victorian hotel with reasonable rates, outstanding cuisine and local wine selection. I believe there is a campground nearby but I always drive the car and stay in the Hopland Inn.

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Old 12-18-2004, 04:36 PM   #18
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Displacement on demand seems to be a happy medium, but like some other posts.... that has nothing to do with the question on this thread......

On a generator that small, I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be more concerned with fuel mileage on the tow vehicle and other worries before trying to find a way to worry about a small Honda gen that is pretty fuel eff as it is...
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Old 12-18-2004, 07:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by markdoane
You also need to think about what it will cost once the local MacDonalds manager figures out that he can sell his used fry fat, rather than just give it away.
you guys are really out of the loop...it is already collected and recycled...into nefarious products like LIPSTICK...so the next you kiss your honey...you could be kissing a french fry....Mon J'taime....
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Old 12-19-2004, 02:37 AM   #20
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The Real Deal

Folks, IMHO the real deal is the FuelCell. Just do a search on Fuel Cell and see.
These puppy's can run on almost anything depending on how they are configured/designed/manufactured. Natural gas, hydrogen, propane, water, gasoline, air whatever. The fact of the matter is that they will convert any of the above fuels, and others, into electricity. It's a product solution that has been on the shelf since about 1890. Technology today just can't do the work necessary to bring this solution to market. But the desire, and need, to realize it has been going on since the 70's. The fossil fuel people can't give up their stake in the game (billions) to forego the spirkle that they've gleaned from their rise to power and dominance in the market. But also note that these major players are also invested and providing capital to be first in this new arena. The RV market is one of the perfect places to introduce this technology. Embrace this as RV utilization of this energy resorce will help revolutionize the planet's quest for distributed power.

Promote the idea.
Ed
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Old 12-19-2004, 07:13 AM   #21
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Silver Suz, take rlur's advice and stay away from biodiesel. If you are that sensitive to chemicals, biodiesel making is not for you. Lye and methenol are used in the chemical process to extract the glycerine from the vegetable oil. This is a very dangerous process. You can use SVO or straight vegetable oil in some diesel engines, but it has to be heated to 160+ degrees to flow through the pump and injectors properly. This is almost impossible to do on an air cooled engine, without an external heater.

Solar power or propane powered generators seem to be your best bet. Solar systems are expensive at around $9 a watt. A home solar system has an ROI of about 40 years at that cost!!
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Old 12-19-2004, 07:21 AM   #22
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Suz, anyone who tells you that you can make 40 gallons of biodiesel in an hour is full of it. I would not buy anything from shysters like that. The process takes several DAYS, to make good clean, dry, reliable fuel. I think propane is your best bet, but you say you cannot use it, why, if I may ask?

Making biodiesel involves using lye and methenol, to extract the glycerine from the vegetable oil. Can you risk exposure to these chemicals?
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:14 AM   #23
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I know there are some people who have run their trucks on straight vege oil, filtered of course, and pre-heated. I just don't know enough. I do have solar panels, waiting to be put on the trailer and extra solar panels that are flexible to be unrolled and placed where they would be most advantagous. (And stolen???!) as well as the gel batteries, and more to be gotten. But as many have told me, it's not enough for the heavy users like refer and a/c. I just have to have faith and keep working on it.
Actually house solar systems have a return on investment of 7 years or less now and quite a bit less in more enlightened states such as Ca, Co and michigan. the industry has changed and grown immensely in the past 2 years.
It's too bad that Bush is basing the fuel cell on petrochemical bases so that the oil industry will still have lots of money flowing their way.
Japan and Europe, especially Finland and Germany, are the leaders in solar these days.
To Pick, I have explained on other threads, that I'm one of those "People in a Bubble" types. My immune system was severely damaged by chemicals (unknowingly exposed), so now I have life threatening reactions to them. Even though propane is labeled as a "clean" energy source, I'm one of those way out on the end of the bell curve of sensitivity- one of the "canary in the coalmine people". Propane is deadly for me in a closed environment. I survive by living in a carefully constructed home- a great prison. The trailer -hopefully a "clean environment", will provide me a way to test other parts of the country to find the healthiest place for me to live. The outside environment here is becoming increasingly toxic here for me and now I have REGULAR allergies!!!!, very severe, like to pollen and stuff, something I never had before! So think "boy in the bubble airstream". By the way, to the doubters, I have LOTS of medical data and double blind testing (and have been a guinea pig in many studies) to show I'm not just "making this up". I attribute my master's degree in psychology to not committing suicide by now. Which, unfortunately happens a lot with people who have this condition, which is terribly isolating and extremely difficult to physically live with, as well as dealing with the chronic intense pain. But the rejection by others as "all in your head" is really the hardest and is the greatest reason for the high suicide rate, if the secondary cancers, autoimmune diseases, and infections doesn't kill one first. Lots of my friends and doctors who had this "disease" are dead now. Gulf War Syndrome is recognised to be similar. So I keep my optimisim up with my ideas on the airstream, despite my lack of knowledge, in creating a safe bubble for me to travel and live in.! P.S. This has NOTHING to do with AIDS. Thanks for your asking, suz. I apologise to others who have heard this before.
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:18 AM   #24
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RV market is one of the perfect places to introduce this technology.
- regarding fuel cells

Ya know - Onan is doing research on fuel cell generators now. RV's certainly do make a good platform for this energy source given their size, power needs and platform (lot's of batteries and low voltage electrical systems already in place).
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:15 PM   #25
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The Water Heaters of Tomorrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
- regarding fuel cells

Ya know - Onan is doing research on fuel cell generators now. RV's certainly do make a good platform for this energy source given their size, power needs and platform (lot's of batteries and low voltage electrical systems already in place).
Here's a very good link http://www.fuelcells.org/info/charts.html to see what's going on. Most ALL companies that are fosil fuel based are involved/invested with this energy solution. Coleman, Onan, etc, perhaps if us peons screem loud enough we could be one of the first kids on the block to play.
Right now however, I'd like to know if anyone has heard of a propane powered generator?

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Old 01-05-2005, 04:14 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardinbb
Right now however, I'd like to know if anyone has heard of a propane powered generator?
Ed
Ed,
You're joking, of course?
Propane powered generators have been around for decades~!
Once, back in the 70's when I was still very active in Ham Radio, we used a 10kw propane generator for "Field Day"..Ran all weekend off of a 200 lb tank..
I'd love to see the hydrogen fuel cell evolve into a every day common usage fuel source. The research work has been inspiring, unfortunally, most of it is done overseas~ (figures)
ciao
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:19 PM   #27
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Wish I was joking, just didn't know no better!

[QUOTE=53FlyingCloud]Ed,
You're joking, of course?
Propane powered generators have been around for decades~!

Did a web search and bingo, there's all kinds of propane generators. Why don't people use them? And why are they not a standard item on a pull trailer or 5th wheel? Anybody using one in their A/S? Is there some reason why folks are buying the Honda gasoline model over the LP or don't they know about it either?

The fuel cell is gonna be the hottest thing since sliced bread, especially for distributed power. They are gonna change the world but first the old infrastructure has to transform. They will be as common as a waterheater in every home.

Ed
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:19 PM   #28
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I did it

I installed a Onan Marquis LP 7K generator recently on a test radar system for the government. That thing was super cool.

The drawback to LP power is the output / consumption ratio.

LP generators use a lot of fuel at a not so cheaper price.

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