Category: Waste Veggie Oil

WVO installation day
Sustainable livingWaste Veggie Oil

Veggie oil conversion – the installation

Chris2 comments

Chris continues writing the story of of conversion of our bus from dirty diesel to waste vegetable oil. Enjoy!

I am an achiever. I love getting things done and crossing them off my long lists. We’ve had a daunting bus jobs list these weeks since returning from Nepal and the largest, most complex and most interesting job has been the veggie oil conversion. Read the backstory here.

My mind had been steadily planning the conversion for months and finally the time was right to drill and mount and plumb and wire. The stage was set – our friend’s farm in Pinjarra, Western Australia; a relatively flat open field, perfect fine weather forecast with light winds for 5 days and few other distractions.

Here’s how the installation went

DAY 1: mount the heat exchanger (HX) and position coolant lines to HX

DAY 2: mount the supply and return valves, run and fit all fuel lines, mount veggie pump and pre-pump filter. (Tip – use Loctite aviation No 3 sealant)

WVO valves and HX

DAY 3: run and join all wire cables and relays, prime veggie system with diesel and “test run” the veggie system with diesel

DAY 4: remount HX to be well out of the way the steering arm (and spend the rest of the day feeding chickens and cows)

I probably didn’t have to remount the HX but I woke early on day 4 to the image of a crushed HX and coolant leaking everywhere and the engine overheating. You know exactly what I’m talking about. And it seemed easier to reposition the HX than convince myself it would never be hit.

DAY 5: collect 160L of used veggie oil from Pinjarra Fish and Chips – thanks Warren and Skye!

Collecting WVO in Pinjarra

DAY 6: clean 160L of veggie oil through our WVO Design centrifuge, introduce clean veggie oil and “test run” the veggie system on real veggie oil

Let me tell you more about the centrifuge

Oil cleans better when it spins fast and spinning oil cleans better when its hot. What we’re aiming to remove from the used fish and chip oil are fine suspended solids, fat and carbonaceous products and water. We ran our first oil through at maximum flow (about 70L/hr) and temperature (110oC) and it seemed to clean up well as the “clean oil” was very clear and the centrifuge bowl contained plenty of black soot and particles. We ran the “clean oil” through a second time and found that we removed even more black – so we decided to reduce the flow rate to 45L/hr by simply adjusting our valve in the gravity feed line.

Cleaned veggie oil

Four hours later – we had cleaned 160L, filled our veggie tank and placed 40L spare in the boot. A good morning’s work!

We removed about 2 litres of foul oil from the centrifuge and here are the solids collected in the centrifuge bowl after spinning our first 160L.

Black solids in centrifuge bowl

 

The final trick with the installation was setting the “flush time” – when changing from veggie oil to diesel you want a delay in the return valve to avoid sending veggie oil to the diesel tank. Flushing the injector lines and filter typically takes about 20 to 200 seconds depending on the size of your injectors and filters. During these test we determined the flushing time to be about 40 seconds. We then run the bus on diesel for a further 3 to 5 minutes to ensure no oil left in the fine injectors.

Successful test drive on the highway

On DAY 7 we planned our maiden voyage (test drive) on veggie oil by driving 85km from Pinjarra to Perth. We woke to see our road out of the farm was flooded and we measured 59mm rain had fallen over night – perhaps this wasn’t going to be the best day for our test drive.

The rain subsided and an hour after breakfast we attempted to drive out through water and mud and we made it to the highway! We attached our little Suzuki on the back, set the ATG WVO controller to auto and it worked perfectly; reached temperature, switched from diesel to Veg and there was no interruption to driving or change of performance. I stopped a couple of times to crawl around to see the fuel lines and listen for strange noises (as you do) and everything seemed perfect.

Final step was to check the flushing time again as we detached the Suzuki and we then ran the last 5 minutes on diesel to ensure no veggie oil in the injectors.

We drove our bus on veggie oil!! We officially have a greasebus!! And we have enough veggie oil to get us the 600km to Geraldton and beyond!

Here’s the story in video.

 

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If in doubt - do it yourself
Sustainable livingWaste Veggie Oil

Veggie oil conversion – the planning

Chris1 comment
Hi folks,  today’s story is written by Chris. It will be fascinating and useful if you are considering running your car on dirty oil from fish and chip shops. But that’s not where everybody is at. So there are pretty pictures for everybody else. Enjoy!

 

We were inspired by Charlie McGee, Harry Jakamarra and Blue Print Adventures to consider converting our diesel bus to run on Waste Veggie Oil (WVO) and we started our research. What type of engines can run on WVO? what modifications need to be made to our Isuzu engine? What parts do we need? Do we design our own solution or do we buy an off-the-shelf kit? Who can make these mods or shall we do it ourselves? Where and how do we source WVO? How do we clean the WVO? And who can we talk to about all this?

 

I had a mentor

As a mineral processing engineer come school teacher, installing an alternative fuel system was not going to be easy. However my inner handy-man has been growing these past 4 years. Living in a 48 year old bus demands that either you buy plenty of useful tools and learn lots of handy-skills or you pay others lots of money to maintain this crazy and funky house bus. I’m really glad that I chose the former and I’m loving the tools and the how-to YouTubes. OK, back to the veggie oil conversion, I had lots of questions and needed lots of answers and I love learning from people who have been there and done that and I love learning face-to-face.

 

So I attended a few club meetings at the Western Australia Renewable Fuels Association (WARFA) and was fascinated by the stories and advice offered by this eclectic group of tinkerers and problem solvers. I was taken under the wing of an experienced WVOer – and Tim has been a huge support and source of great advice throughout.

Can our Isuzu engine run on WVO?

Yes, but we’ll need a fuel system to start-up and shutdown on diesel and only switch to WVO when the engine and WVO is at temperature. Our Isuzu 6BG1 engine from 1988 is a direct injection engine which means we need to ensure the injectors are clear of WVO at engine shut down so they don’t gum up and cause engine trouble.

 

Our Isuzu 6BG1 engine

 

OK, it would be simpler and safer if we had an indirect injection diesel engine but at least our engine is in good condition, has few kms it has a Zexel make In-line Bosch A type injector. The other great thing is that our bus already had two 160L fuel tanks on board to work with, one for WVO and one for diesel.

 

If you want to know if your engine can run on WVO, feel free to ask me in comments or read this simple article from the experts at Elsbett.

 

Better still, talk to an expert like Alexander Noak from Elsbett in Germany or Dirk Groening from 4x4Outdoor in New South Wales.

Design your own system or buy a kit?

I admire the thoughtful WVO system design by Sam and Clara at Blue Print Adventure; Sam has extraordinary mechanical talent and has been a successful tinkerer for years. I on the other hand needed to pay for the confidence of system designed by an expert and delivered in a kit that was going to work correctly and protect my engine. I chose this kit from 4x4outdoor; I had a good conversation with the manager at 4x4outdoortuning Dirk Groening and wanted the support of a guy in a shop in Australia. Here’s the link showing the ATG WVO kit. And here’s the plan.

 

Our WVO system design

 

The ATG WVO kit and system contains two 3-way valves, a heat exchanger, an optional pump, two thermostats, fuel lines and electrics to control it.

Expert installer or DIY?

Like most bus projects, I chose to DIY.
When we replaced our Bedford 466 engine with the Isuzu 6BG1, I hired a brilliant diesel mechanic and friend to do most of it. And to my surprise one day he said “Chris, I’ve finished. You can do the rest yourself; the clutch, the accelerator, the air brake lines, the electrics, the dash board. The more you do yourself, the more you’ll know how to fix later.”

 

Yikes! Of course he was right and I took time off work and made use of his workshop and tools for the next two weeks. It was a turning point in my mechanical confidence and aptitude. So I applied the same logic to the veggie fuel system – I’ll do it myself!

How to clean the WVO?

Veggie oil users clean their oil by filtration or centrifuge. Filtering to 1 micron is requires space, filters drums and patience – while centrifuging requires power. While I like the simplicity of filtering, I opted for a this Raw Power centrifuge from WVO Designs because filtering in our bus on the road would likely prove very tricky.

WVO Veggie Oil Centrifuge

In addition to the centrifuge, we picked up the inline heater, a 12Vgear pump for collection and a fuel bladder to store crude veggie oil.

 

I’m comfortable with things that spin fast and I’ve played with many centrifuges to separate minerals in processing plants. Homer says everything tastes better on a pizza. I say everything separates better when you spin it fast.

 

The ATG WVO kit arrived from 4×4 Outdoor Tuning and the centrifuge arrived from WVO Designs. Now all I need to do is build the centrifuge, plan where to mount gear for the veggie oil fuel system and see if our blue bus really can run on waste veggie oil. Stay tuned!!

 

ATG WVO fuel system controller
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