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Old 08-11-2015, 08:43 AM   #1
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Diesel to Hybrid or Electric Conversions

Hi,

So I'm obviously considering this as a possible option. Has anyone ever considered trying to get their bus to run on alternative fuels such as biofuel, electric or hybrid set-ups?

I'm pretty sure it's possible to do but very expensive to convert a bus to a hybrid setup on your own. Biofuel might be the easier route to go but it would require a lot of work to make sure you had enough to get you through to wherever you're going.

What about electric? Obviously, there's some way to satisfy the electrical needs... such as solar, plugging into a charger at some point and wind turbines. What else am I missing?
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:52 AM   #2
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Running a bus on WVO has been done at a reasonable cost and any diesel can run on biodiesel unmodified. WVO setups are a dual fuel proposition and keep the original diesel fuel tank for starting/stopping the engine on diesel to avoid the WVO gelling in the fuel lines. If you run out of WVO you switch back to diesel.

Going hybrid means adding a huge battery bank and one or more large electric motors to the drive train. After all that expense what have you gained? How long will it take to get a return on your investment?

Powering exclusively by electric is the least practical of all. You'd get a very limited driving range with few charging options. Roof top solar panels would take a very long time to recharge your battery bank so that leaves plugging in at a charging station if you can find one. Environmentally speaking, you'd effectively be running your bus on coal.

Two other options are propane and natural gas but both share the same problem - where do you fill up while on the road?
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Running a bus on WVO has been done at a reasonable cost and any diesel can run on biodiesel unmodified. WVO setups are a dual fuel proposition and keep the original diesel fuel tank for starting/stopping the engine on diesel to avoid the WVO gelling in the fuel lines. If you run out of WVO you switch back to diesel.
What is WVO? I am unfamiliar with this term. I also did not realize biodiesel exists. Of course, it should've been obvious now that I think on it.

How would this be accomplished? I'll be checking out the alternative fuel subforum shortly.

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Going hybrid means adding a huge battery bank and one or more large electric motors to the drive train. After all that expense what have you gained? How long will it take to get a return on your investment?
True. At least, to an extent. I was thinking this might be impractical but... it's certainly possible. The range might suck. Or it might not.

But with LiPo4 batteries or similar batteries capable of handling that amount of load, I imagine it'd get expensive real quick, but still doable. Of course, the easier way to deal with all of this problem would be to buy an all-electric bus much like the Proterra buses... but those are super expensive.

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Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Powering exclusively by electric is the least practical of all. You'd get a very limited driving range with few charging options. Roof top solar panels would take a very long time to recharge your battery bank so that leaves plugging in at a charging station if you can find one. Environmentally speaking, you'd effectively be running your bus on coal.
Same response as above. It'd probably be impractical but then again... who knows?

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Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Two other options are propane and natural gas but both share the same problem - where do you fill up while on the road?
Propane... as in the same stuff that you can get tanks of the stuff and exchange when empty? I have no idea how many places there are around the US that does propane refills but I imagine colder places might have more of these about.

Natural gas... again, donno about this one but there may or may not be enough refuel points.

Most likely I'd go with biodiesel as an alternative fuel solution. I was mostly thinking about this as possible options for what you want in terms of how to fuel your vehicle.

For now though, I shall troll through the subforum for alternative fuels.

Edit: Whoops, didn't realize I was already in this subforum. It's too early, dammit. :P
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:53 PM   #4
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WVO is Waste Veggie Oil. This is usually found in the fryers from fast food chains. WORD OF WARNING - WVO is LOADED with water, animal fats and other corrosive things that will tear up your fuel lines and, much more importantly, the fuel injection distributor pump and the fuel injectors! Short term gain, long term loss. The repairs can go into the tens of thousands of dollars depending upon the engine/fuel system. At the least it'll be several thousand dollars to repair. So, saving the fuel cost short term will cost in repairs down the road. I've seen this on Steel Soldiers several times. Always the break down happened at the most inopportune time as well. Just a cautionary warning. If you want to use pure veggie oil, it's more expensive than just using diesel fuel. So, unless someone comes up with the Flux Capacitor and can time warp, I'd advise against these so-called alternatives until a way comes to clean up the WVO to a useable state.

As far as electricity, et. al. is concerned, unless you're looking to buy a train, it's not worth the effort. The scale of economy makes it prohibitive at this point in time.

Just sayin'......

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Old 08-11-2015, 01:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
WVO is Waste Veggie Oil. This is usually found in the fryers from fast food chains. WORD OF WARNING - WVO is LOADED with water, animal fats and other corrosive things that will tear up your fuel lines and, much more importantly, the fuel injection distributor pump and the fuel injectors!
Ah, gotcha. That should've been obvious to me...

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Short term gain, long term loss. The repairs can go into the tens of thousands of dollars depending upon the engine/fuel system. At the least it'll be several thousand dollars to repair.
Ouch. That's... yeah. At least I was already expecting to need to have a huge emergency repair fund. This comment pretty much confirms my thoughts in this aspect.

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Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
So, saving the fuel cost short term will cost in repairs down the road. I've seen this on Steel Soldiers several times. Always the break down happened at the most inopportune time as well. Just a cautionary warning. If you want to use pure veggie oil, it's more expensive than just using diesel fuel. So, unless someone comes up with the Flux Capacitor and can time warp, I'd advise against these so-called alternatives until a way comes to clean up the WVO to a useable state.
You mean something like this?: Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil

If not, what're generally considered the best pure veggie oil to use?

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Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
As far as electricity, et. al. is concerned, unless you're looking to buy a train, it's not worth the effort. The scale of economy makes it prohibitive at this point in time.

Just sayin'......

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Yeah, when I initially looked at prices for those, I was like... Nope... nope! NOPE! That, and My poor wallet...
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:13 PM   #6
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Crisco, or any liquid veggie oil will work. Baron Von Diesel engineered his diesel engines to run on pure peanut oil (perfect for me since I'm HIGHLY allergic to it) since he was in an area of Germany that, at the time, produced a tremendous amount of peanut oil. I have also done a tremendous amount of research on the Fisher-Tropsch (check spelling) in converting coal to diesel fuel/jet fuel. Prohibitive on small scale, but Germany did it large scale in WWII.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
Crisco, or any liquid veggie oil will work. Baron Von Diesel engineered his diesel engines to run on pure peanut oil (perfect for me since I'm HIGHLY allergic to it) since he was in an area of Germany that, at the time, produced a tremendous amount of peanut oil. I have also done a tremendous amount of research on the Fisher-Tropsch (check spelling) in converting coal to diesel fuel/jet fuel. Prohibitive on small scale, but Germany did it large scale in WWII.
Hmm. We might be able to do this with just the pure veggie oil, then. It's not difficult for me to obtain a large supply of it, though.

Now to find out how to make biodiesel fuel out of the veggie oil! Or, well... something similar. Peanut oil might be an idea there, too. Is there any guides for this sort of thing?

Google Knows All, it seems. One such resource is Journey to Forever's guide.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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The majority of commercial BioDiesel available in the US is made from soybeans and can be run in conventional diesels with little or no mods to the fuel system. The big exception being that it can gel at relatively warm temperatures compared to ordinary diesel and often requires a pre-heater just to get it to flow. It's biggest Pro factor is that it does pretty much eliminate the sulfur from the exhaust.

Home brews have had very hit or miss success due to the inconsistencies of the amateur "brewers". Can it be done? Yes. But you'd better have a very thorough understanding of the processes involved.

Another "alternative fuel" for diesels is used ATF. Automatic transmission fluid. It only requires filtering (10 micron, as I recall) and has excellent properties according to some users.

Injecting controlled amounts of propane has also been done for years. "Fogging" the incoming air with propane can yield significant reductions in fuel costs and is simple enough that the engine can be run either with or without the propane which overcomes any availability issues.

Just a couple of thoughts to ponder.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:26 PM   #9
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Curious how you got on this subject but don't know what WVO or biodiesel is.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
The majority of commercial BioDiesel available in the US is made from soybeans and can be run in conventional diesels with little or no mods to the fuel system. The big exception being that it can gel at relatively warm temperatures compared to ordinary diesel and often requires a pre-heater just to get it to flow. It's biggest Pro factor is that it does pretty much eliminate the sulfur from the exhaust.
Your mention of commercial biodiesel had me running off to research this as well. While I was doing this, I also learned there's a lot of biodiesel fuel stations now. Nice.

Maybe I won't have to make my own biodiesel fuel... probably best to keep a 20-50 gallon emergency supply in the event I need to refill to get to the next biodiesel station.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Home brews have had very hit or miss success due to the inconsistencies of the amateur "brewers". Can it be done? Yes. But you'd better have a very thorough understanding of the processes involved.
Journey to Forever's website seems to have pretty good documentation and instructions. Following this shouldn't be too much of an issue... should it?

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Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Another "alternative fuel" for diesels is used ATF. Automatic transmission fluid. It only requires filtering (10 micron, as I recall) and has excellent properties according to some users.
Can you actually run the bus entirely off of that? I suspect no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Injecting controlled amounts of propane has also been done for years. "Fogging" the incoming air with propane can yield significant reductions in fuel costs and is simple enough that the engine can be run either with or without the propane which overcomes any availability issues.

Just a couple of thoughts to ponder.
Yeah, I might just do that... especially for hills. I don't know but we'll see, I suppose. Will doing this with biodiesel present an issue?

Edit:

Quote:
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Curious how you got on this subject but don't know what WVO or biodiesel is.
I was already familiar with biofuel for cars and trucks... didn't realize there was biodiesel as well for trucks and buses.

I was mostly concerned with how to run normal cars on biofuel... and while I knew that biodiesel consisted of veggie oil and other such natural things, I didn't know WVO was the term for waste veggie oil. Granted, the last time I did this research was a while ago and I may have also simply forgotten it.

My interest in biodiesel/fuel was sparked again by my decision to finally get myself a bus. Talking it over with a few friends of mine brought up the subject of biodiesel/fuel.

Now you know.
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