Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fuel Sourcing

Discussion of how to ensure local supply of fuel explored several options:
1.Make biodiesel from waste vegetable oil (WVO).
This option requires testing for every batch made, to reach ASTM6751 specification.

2.Canadian biodiesel
This is K50/veggie oil 50 and is not approved for on road use. American Independence fuels has been offering this blend for months, at very competitive prices, below $3.00 per gallon. The secret? Illegally providing untaxed kerosene as fuel. Good intentions aside, American has been fined heftily by Maryland Transportation Authority.

3.Fuel from October.
Our B100 that gelled upon delivery to our main tank has been transported off site and will be offered for sale when the weather warms up. 'New' price will be $3.26 per gallon for those couple hundred gallons of fuel, in the spring.

4.Small truck purchase
Trucks under 26000 pounds operating weight do not require the driver to have a commercial driver's license (CDL). Piedmont Biofuels (in North Carolina) ran their coop out of a 1500 gallon truck before the creation of their biodiesel corridor. They now have 7 fueling stations across NC. A truck would lower coop operation costs because we could buy fuel in larger batches, directly from the suppliers. Currently delivery charges of $0.80 per gallon ($320 per 400 galon batch) are incurred every three weeks or less.

Fuel Crisis

Every member that filled up on 10/13/2007 has been affected by bad fuel performance. Ilya Goldberg reported his first problem occurred the week before the meeting (week of December 1st), many weeks after filling up with questionable fuel. Ilya used an off the shelf 'Gel Melter' to unplug his fuel filter-he washed the fuel filter with it and was able to drive home.
A word of caution to all members that filled up the weekend of 10/13- if you have not run your tank down, close to empty, you may have a very high gel point plug waiting to leave your tank and plug up your fuel filter. Once warm weather hits (somewhere in the 70's) the plug should melt. This fuel is fine for your engine, it just hardens at ridiculously high temperatures (in the 50's). Keeping your tank above 1/'4 full should avoid any problems this winter.

The coop has required a certificate of ASTM6751 specification for each batch of fuel we have sold since November.
We have tested for water, glycerol, proper pH, as well.

The fleet of public buses in Harrisburg, PA has been plagued by similar fuel issues, using a B5 blend. Apparently the high gel point fuel can be traced to B100 made from palm oil and barged into the Baltimore port. B100 from palm oil has a cloud point of 11C (degrees centigrade) or higher and will not be accepted as a source by the coop. We will ensure smooth running by requiring gel point below 4C.


1.Please email Mare Cromwell to enhance our contact list;

2.Include special skills you can offer the coop, e.g., marketing, technical, organizational

December Meeting

8 December 2007
6 members and Greg Hanscom (the Urbanite) in attendance.

-Fuel crisis
-Fuel sourcing
-Tech Committee report

See separate posts above for commentary or to start a thread.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

NY TIMES article

Nice read. Now if we can get the city to do the same.