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Biodiesel – what's all the fuss about?

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Biodiesel – harnessing power from the soil below our feet

Why Biodiesel?
Rising levels of air pollution and their consequences have led to much concern about reducing fuel emissions.
Other than improved combustion in vehicles, the possibility of using fuel that leads to less carbon emissions has also been explored.
One of the options that has showed promising results is biodiesel.

biodiesel, alternative to fossil fuel

Biodiesel is renewable

What is Biodiesel?
In simplest terms biodiesel can be described as an environment-friendly fuel that leads to less harmful emissions.
It is made from oils extracted from plants and animals like rapeseed, soy, flax, algae, palm oil and so on.
Blended with diesel, it can be used without making any special modifications to existing diesel engines.
Biodiesel can also be used singly as fuel without changes to diesel engine designs.

Fossil fuels are not carbon neutral
Fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, diesel, natural gas, on the other hand,  are naturally formed over centuries from the remains of prehistoric animals and plants and so on.
Thus it goes without saying that these are limited in availability as against biodiesel which can be made from harvested crops.

biodiesel, fossil fuel diesel, diesel

Carbon Matters

Bio-diesel is cleaner diesel
But the major difference between the two is the impact that they have on the environment.
Diesel fuel is a leading culprit of carbon dioxide emissions along with sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
However biodiesel gives out considerably less carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, with no sulphur dioxide at all.
This makes them more environment friendly though the amount of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere is same for diesel and biodiesel.
We all know that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.

This colorless gas is also emitted during combustion of fuel, generation of power, decay of organic material and volcano eruptions.
It is found in the atmosphere in low volumes and helps to maintain the needed temperatures for survival of life on earth.
The problem arises when increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to a rise in global temperatures.

Carbon dioxide or CO2 is described as a greenhouse gas because it absorbs heat and infra red rays from the sun and then releases them into  the atmosphere instead of letting it escape to space.
Unfortunately human activities have contributed to higher carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. This in turn has led to higher temperatures and global warming.

Nature has its own way of balancing out and traditionally excess carbon dioxide has been eliminated from the atmosphere through photosynthesis by plants and by absorption into oceans.
Some scientisits say  carbon dioxide emissions today far exceed nature’s capacity to remove it from the atmosphere. Thus, they argue, it is up to humans to make conscious efforts to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Among the several methods that can be used to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is planting more trees, arresting deforestation and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon neutral – what’s that about then?    Is Biodiesel carbon neutral?

Since a major portion of carbon emissions comes from combustion of fuel by diesel engines, a lot of emphasis is placed on fuel that is carbon neutral.
Carbon neutral does not mean that it does not release any carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It simply means that we try to eliminate at least the same amount of carbon dioxide as we set free in the atmosphere.

So how is biodiesel carbon neutral?
Biodiesel is made from crops which means that though on the one hands it releases carbon dioxide when it is burnt.
But on the other hand, the plants that are grown as crops to make biodiesel remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Thus, it gets balanced out.

Biodiesel may be a better option as far as the environment is concerned but a major concern for car owners is what effect does it have on a diesel engine. Biodiesel that is made to professional standards is as good as ordinary diesel. In fact, it acts as a cleaning agent and any dirt left in the engine by petro diesel will be cleaned out. There is one modification that has to be made and that is remove rubber parts that come in contact with biodiesel as it dissolves them. They can be replaced with synthetic rubber or teflon parts.

In all, biodiesel has come up as a great alternative to diesel and diesel engine manufacturers today have begun to offer the same warranty for their products regardless of whether consumers use diesel or bio-diesel.

Top Quality Diesel Repairs that don't cost the earth.

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Diesel Repairs – do you want to pay main-dealer prices for repairs?

The rise and rise of diesel

for the first time people are buying and registering more new diesel cars than petrol

So it is no surprise that the demand for diesel parts is growing as well.
So what are the repairs your diesel might need and how can you get best value for money?

best value for money

Getting value for Your money

The UK market  for diesel parts is probably worth more than £250 million per annum
because  diesels are complicated and when they go wrong they can cause expensive problems.

Here we discuss some of the problems that occur as the miles on your diesel car increase

Diesel particulate filters

Diesel particulate filters are in the news.

They recently featured  on the BBC Watchdog program.

Angry customers told the program they didn’t know what to do to clean the filter when it gets blocked –

Short journeys are what most people do and short journeys
do not allow the filter to get hot enough to begin regeneration (burning out the sooty particles).

As a result the filter may block and deteriorate enough that a new filter is required.

If you need a new filter it is a job an independent garage can do for a  much keener price than the main dealer;
and sometimes the filter can be cleaned by a specialist company.

“One car  we had our workshop had a diesel particulate filter that registered a complete blockage. The customer has been quoted almost £2000 pounds by the dealer for a new filter. We used our treatment and quickly  the  blockage dropped to 3 percent.That was all it required. We then just cleared the error code and gave the happy customer  an invoice 4 a lot less then he was expecting “  Specialist cleaning company TJ Hall

Diesel fuel technology is not new,  but it is constantly changing.
There are  new challenges like stricter emission controls
but usually there is someone who finds a way to repair the problem – like the filter cleaning company.

Some DPF’s can be damaged if you use the wrong type of oil.

The kind of oil required by some DPF’s and catalytic converters
is low in sulphated ash and other harmful components.

The danger is if you’re  trying to save money and use the wrong kind of oil
you could be storing up trouble for the dpf in the future.

High pressure pump problems and common rail diesel injectors

If you have a problem with the high pressure pump get more information maybe consult a specialist.

Some problems are simply contamination;  sometimes it can be the fuel pressure regulator on the pump and not the pump itself which is causing the problem.

Common  rail diesel injectors work on very fine tolerances,
but sometimes problems can be something as simple as an electrical connector.
Check these before doing more complex repairs.

engine warning lights
dual mass flywheels
e g r valves
special semi synthetic oil
common rail diesel injectors

high pressure fuel pumps
fuel pressure regulators
diesel glow plugs