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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Ireland Gets Greener

Not since I came up with the idea for Bó Gás (using emissions from flatulent cattle to drive internal combustion engines) has such headway been made towards cost-effective motoring.

I’m not suggesting that Diarmuid O’Leary should throw a Carlow pancake at Jeremy Clarkeson but he (Diarmuid O’Leary, not Jeremy Clarkeson) will have to change his catchphrase from, “ now yer suckin’ diesel” to something more eco-friendly such as, “Let’s go, with P.P.O”.

P.P.O. (pure plant oil) was exempted from Excise duty, last August, by Finance Minister Brian Cowan, after the price of fuel had increased by 18% in eight months. P.P.O. is the new diesel/petrol.

This biofuels tax relief scheme will be in operation for a limited number of successful tendered applicants which runs from August 2005 to August 2007:

Section 50 of the Finance Act 2004, provided for the introduction of a scheme for excise tax relief for Biofuels. The purpose of the scheme is to allow qualified and conditional relief from excise of biofuel used in approved pilot projects for either the production of biofuel or the testing of the technical viability of biofuel for use as a motor fuel.

The scheme, which includes pure plant oil, biodiesel and bioethanol, has been drawn up in conjunction with the Department of Communication, Marine and Natural Resources. Approval for the provision of State Aid was sought and given by the European Commission. It is for 16 million litres of fuel over the 2-year period.

Informed sources tell me that there may be further relief schemes for biofuels in the preparation of Budget 2006.

The idea is not new; it’s just that it took “Biffo” more than a century to hear about it. Rudolf Diesel, the man who invented the diesel engine, said at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 that his new invention would run on vegetable oil.

Now, for the knowledge gleaned while picking stones for disgruntled, mostly bachelor, farmers in the Wicklow hills:

Rape is an annual plant grown sometimes for it’s leaves as a temporary crop for livestock, However, it is grown mostly for it’s oil-bearing seeds. This succulent plant grows fast and thrives well under our moist conditions. It is also quite frost-resistant. Rape belongs to the mustard family,Cruciferae. It is of the genus Brassica, and is scientifically classified as species B.napus.

And now you want to know if you’ll need a conversion kit and where you can get it.

If you are the owner of a conventional passenger car and you know a thing or two about what goes on under the bonnet Elsbett can help you. You’ll find them at (Klaus Elsbett says, “ We pre-suppose the necessary knowledge concerning combustion engines and common sense safety rules.”)

One-Tank DIY KIT
    This solution uses your existing (diesel) fuel tank to fuel your engine with diesel or Pure Plant Oil (PPO) or any mixture without intervention by the driver.
Two-Tank DIY KIT
    This solution uses a second small tank with diesel to start the engine. Your existing tank holds the main fuel supply, e.g. Pure Plant Oil (PPO). This switching between diesel and PPO can be only partly automated. Some driver intervention is required.
    Two-Tank solutions can be used for almost all types of diesel engine2. Prices start from €500.

    The engines are modified to use straight vegetable oil according to the valid Quality standard or better. Under certain conditions it is advisable to blend the vegetable oil with diesel fuel.

I asked Thijs Adriaans of Diligent Systems about the feasibility of PPO. He says:

“It is common knowledge that basically all diesel engines will run on PPO for a short while even without conversion, but that is far from optimised and no solution. Then you can compensate for cold start problems with a 2-tank system, and compensate for the higher viscosity by heated fuel system and larger fuel pipes, but this is not all that you will need for a real optimised solution where the original engine is optimised for the specific fuel - PPO. What I call a real conversion also includes injectors, injection parameters, glow plugs, and a lot of simple and practical considerations regarding the fuel supply.
    To obtain good emissions results, it is essential to have a real conversion, including optimisation of the engine performance, and to have a good quality fuel which meets the limits specified in fuel standards developed for that specific fuel.
    Our experiences in Denmark are as good as the thousands of German examples, where here it is common to run round the year always on "PPO100", without additives, 2-tank diesel start, or other help - the cold engine starts well on cold PPO in cold weather. Personally, I have completed 6 years with my VW Golf 1.9 IDI, literally always on PPO100, and never filled a single drop of fossil diesel or other additives. We have also converted the more modern VW TDI engines with direct injection with 1-tank system, and even where it is not optimal, they can start the cold engine on cold PPO100 in cold weather. To protect the engine, reduce emission etc., the TDI models should preheat a little before cold starts below 5-10 deg C. That can be done by a comfort heater, which also starts to come in new diesel cars. IDI engines do not need to be preheated to start even down to -10 deg C.
    Rapeseed oil as created by nature is an excellent fuel, but can easily be spoiled by wrong processing, handling and storing. Fuel analysis according to fossil diesel standards does not include important fuel parameters for PPO, so therefore PPO should be analysed according to PPO fuel standard. Here we can all benefit from very fine German research work on PPO fuel quality, ending up with the German RK-standard for rape seed oil as engine fuel. The RK-standard describes both characteristic properties and variable properties. The first group of properties is created by nature, so it makes no sense to check the PPO e.g. for density, viscosity and sulphur. The really important properties are the variables, which are influenced by processing, handling and storing.
    One of the important parameters regarding emissions from PPO, is the phosphorus (P) content, which I will compare with the Sulphur (S) content in fossil diesel. It is well known that sulphur in fossil diesel creates SO2 and particle emission, and that the fossil industry fights to reduce sulphur. In Denmark the fossil industry convinced the government at least once, to reduce the mineral oil tax on low sulphur diesel, to compensate for the expenses to reduce sulphur content. Last year they tried again because of the new requirements from EU. PPO contains from nature no sulphur”.

* * * * *

If you switch to PPO your will get more miles to the gallon, you will be striking a blow for the environment, reducing your fuel bill by around % and helping in the conservation of fossil fuels.

But when you drive into your estate and your exhaust fumes assail the olfactory senses of your teenage neighbours don’t be surprised if you are asked for, “a smoked cod and chips” .

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