veggie oil

Quick review of Cetane Boosters for Veggie Oil (WVO and SVO)

The Land Rover I have, may be old, but she run’s just fine on a combination of veggie oil, biodiesel and diesel. This gives me a good choice on how I fuel the vehicle and how much I pay to fuel the vehicle. With WVO being a premium now, I am finding it ever more difficult to get good consistent sources; and then why I do find something it ends up being 50% bit of crap and 50% WVO. SVO is not my ideal choice, not only for ethical reasons (we cannot produce enough of it), but also the added things like anti-foaming/gelling agents don’t help combustion. I’ve no evidence to suggest that they are removed when used as cooking oil, but the stuff I use as WVO always seems to make a smoother sounding engine. So I’ve been testing Cetane boosters to see how effective they are with SVO and to see if they take some of the knock out of ordinary SVO.

First up is the Diesel Nitrox Cetane Booster. It claims to do the same as the much more expensive branded products. It’s one of those bottles where you have to guess a bit on how much you add, but if your doing a whole tank full it’s quite easy. It worked well and certainly reduced the diesel noise as well as appearing to give a little more performance. Nothing scientific here, it’s all perception. For the money it’s easily the best available.

For a few pounds more, you can get Millers Oils – Diesel Power Eco Max 500ml. It claims similar things, but suggests it boosts the Cetane number by 5. It’s much easier to measure how much you need to add with this bottle layout and it did just as good as job as the cheaper product’s here. It doesn’t claim anything fancy, but suggests your car will be more environmentally friendly by using less diesel and putting out less emissions. There is a tentative link to the claim, but your not saving the environment with these products directly, just helping WVO or SVO do their job better.

The last one is Morris Superclean DD. Nothing on the package to show it’s a cetane booster, but it’s in there. No claims on how high you can boost it by either; just simple honest – “this will make things a bit better” marketing. Give them credit for that. They seem to be a UK company too, but I can’t see where the product is manufactured. Like the others, it did what it said on the tin and was definitely better than nothing and as good as the others. Like the Millers Oils product, it has an easy measure which makes it a lot easier to use.

Search around for the best prices for these products, but they are all around the £7-£12 bracket for their standard size. So which one do I use? I’m sticking with Morris Superclean DD as it’s seems a good working product, with an easy measure and it does what it says on the product blurb.

Found anything better? Let me know and I will try it out.

Landrover Discovery 300TDI running on 100% SVO (straight veggie oil)

I’ve been running the landy on 50/50 veggie to diesel with no problem, but now the colder mornings are creaping in she is starting to get a little grumpy. Once warmed up the landy performs as usual without any clear difference (although people do feel compelled to tell me that it smells like a chip shop). I’ve added a heater element around the fuel filter which just cut’s off by thermistor when it reaches 90 degrees and kicks back in at 70; but this is just not enough for the colder mornings and days.

So, I’ve invested in something to make the veggie oil a little bit warmer (and therefore runnier) – it’s from Vow2. I’ve bought the VOW2DW+ unit which heats the oil from a couple of glow plugs and plumbs into the heating system of the engine. It pre-heats fuel on the way to the filter and warms it nicely on route to the pump and injectors.

Picture of the kit purchased.

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First off was the put the unit roughly in place and measure out the fuel pipes. It’s a bit messy cutting into the fuel pipes and removing the old connectors so don’t forget to put something under the fuel filter to catch the muck. Start with the pre-heater pipes as they are quite easy: take the fuel feed pipe from the fuel filter (i.e. the one that runs from the fuel lift pump to the fuel filter) – don’t forget to remove and keep the connector and the banjo bolt as you’ll need to re-use them on your new pipe. Measure and connect the heat exchanger inline (fuel lift pump->heat exchanger and heat exchanger to fuel filter in).

Next work on the fuel line from the fuel filter to the injector pump. Again the heat exchanger needs to be in-line so work on the fuel filter->heat exchanger and then heat exchanger->fuel pump. Don’t forget to put the small see through fuel filter inline before the pump – this will give you an idea of the level of waxing and will show you if you have any air ingress into the fuel system.

Picture below is the basic unit with fuel pipes cut to size and connectors added.

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As the location I’ve chosen for my heat exchanger is easy to get to for the fuel lines, it figures that the location is also difficult to get to for the heater water. But with a few 15mm household copper pipes, bends and a blow torch I’ve put together something that neatly allows me to cut through the inbound heater matrix water pipe (that has give or take a 15mm internal diameter). So, heater matrix inbound hot water is cut about 10cm short and plumbed directly into my 15mm copper pipe work which runs directly into the heat exchangers water input. I’ve used rubber hose connections between the copper and heat exchanger to reduce vibration. Next a short run from the heat exchanger water out to the original water heater matrix input in the bulk head. I’ve used copper to give me a good neat angle and to avoid pipes rubbing or kinking.

Now in situ with water pipes connected (in-line via the heater matrix feed). It’s a little difficult to see, so I’ll do some better photo’s later.

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At the moment it’s all just water heated, but boy does it get hot! With 80/20 (diesel/veggie oil) and outdoor temperatures of 2-5 degree’s C in the morning it all works just fine*. Next up are the electrics – with those in place I should be able to run higher levels of veggie oil without any of the ‘cold start’ problems.

 

*the definition of fine in this case is a few (well a lot) of glow plug action before starting the engine and perhaps even a few attempts to start. You need a good and working battery!