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Bionic Gloves Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams

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"Ignore people who say it can't be done." - Elaine Rideout

 

215 Straight Days, 260+ Ballparks, 1 Car Running On...VEGETABLE OIL? 

 

More people are driving today in the U.S. and abroad than ever before and this trend will only increase as our world population continues to grow, and people live longer, healthier lives. And have you seen the price of gas lately? And have you heard about this thing called "Global Warming?" This page will tell you all about the Bionic Gloves Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams, and includes "fast facts," plus plenty more FAQs and photos, too! For the tour schedule, visit the Bionic Gloves Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams, Schedule page, and for more on our Starting Nine Innovation All-Stars, visit Bionic Gloves Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams, Innovative All-Star Starting Lineup!.

 

"The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it. The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time." - Rudolph Diesel, early 1900s 

 

FAST FACTS ABOUT THE BIONIC GLOVES VEGGIE POWER BALLPARK TOUR: FUEL OF DREAMS

 

WHO: Baseball Contributing Writer and “Veggie Captain” Joe Connor and a seamlessly talented lineup dubbed the “Starting 9 Innovation All-Stars:”

 

1. Leading off, the official title sponsor of the Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams, Bionic Gloves. Designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon, patented Bionic Gloves are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and performance.

2. Batting second, baseball's past, present, and future are ready for you to see and be part of at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

3. In the number three hole, the power behind the Veggie Power Mobile! Get all the equipment and information you need to run your diesel fuel vehicle on vegetable oil at Greasecar.com.

4. Hitting in the clean up spot, DAVID Sunflower Seeds - Eat. Spit. Be Happy!   

5. Batting fifth, the formidable TicketsNow, for the ultimate selection of premium sports, concert, and theater tickets and experience The Power of In.

6. Continuing the powerful lineup, in the No. 6 hole, visit the ultimate automotive marketplace and find your perfect car within seconds at Autotrader.com.

7. Seventh heaven: See all 30 Major League Baseball parks with Sports Travel and Tours.

8. On this All-Star team, bank on the number eight hitter: Get all the information you need to make smart sports betting decisions at Doc’s Sports Handicapping Service.

9. And batting ninth and warming up in the bullpen, Hit with Power, Confidence! Use the Personal Pitcher and be the best hitter you can be!"

 

WHAT: Connor is promoting renewable fuels by driving his 1984 lime green-colored Mercedes on vegetable oil to nearly a different North American ballpark every day for seven consecutive months of the baseball season. The “uniforms” of the “Starting 9 Innovation All-Stars” plaster Connor’s “Veggie Power Mobile.”

 

Vegetable Oil Running A Car?: Connor’s Mercedes is a two-tank fuel system. The car’s existing diesel tank and filter supplies diesel fuel to the engine at start up. Then radiator fluid transfers heat from the engine to the heat exchangers in the fuel system. These exchangers heat the vegetable oil in the fuel filter, lines and fuel tank. The heat reduces the viscosity of vegetable oil so that it is similar to diesel and can be injected into the engine properly. Before the engine is shut down, you switch back to diesel so remaining “cold” vegetable oil doesn’t clog up the injectors the next time the engine is started.

 

Using vegetable oil as fuel isn't new. When Rudolf Diesel first showcased his engine at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris, he used peanut oil. In addition to limiting dependence on diesel fuel, cars running on vegetable oil help both reduce emissions as well as dependency on fossil fuels. For more, see the FAQs and photos below.

 

More Veggie Oil Fast Facts: How do you “refuel” vegetable oil? Most vegetable oil drivers, like Connor, do so via a pre-arranged, mutually-agreed upon partnership with a local restaurant, using the filtered frying oil they generally have to pay to dispose of anyway. Any type of vegetable oil will work, as long as the oil is filtered and free from water, bacterial and chemical contamination. Connor uses a onboard portable filter while on the road to pump waste vegetable oil into his “Veggie Tank,” which is located in the trunk of his car. For more specifics, see the FAQs and photos below.

 

WHEN: Starting March 1, 2006 in Tucson, Arizona (start of MLB Spring Training), ending October 1, 2006 (end of MLB regular season). To find out when the Veggie Power Mobile is coming to your town, visit Bionic Gloves Veggie Power Ballpark Tour: Fuel of Dreams, Schedule.

 

WHERE: 48 U.S. States, three Canadian provinces, more than 200 baseball cities total, including MLB, Minor League, Independent, NCAA, other collegiate and amateur games and tournaments.

 

HOW: The tour is a partnership between Connor and the "Starting Nine Innovation All-Stars."

 

WHY: Raise awareness of renewable fuels and celebrate baseball.

 

BIONIC GLOVES VEGGIE POWER BALLPARK TOUR: FUEL OF DREAMS” FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What are the sources of vegetable oil?

Virgin vegetable oil can be harvested from many oil feedstock plants like soybeans, sunflower seeds, rape seeds, palm oil and even some types of algae. Recycled vegetable oil from local restaurants and other used sources are also a useful reservoir of renewable fuel for diesel engines.

What’s the basic difference between Straight Vegetable Oil as fuel and Biodiesel?

Vegetable oil alone has too high a viscosity for use in most existing diesel engines as a straight replacement fuel oil. This means you either modify the engine to deal with high viscosity oil or process the oil to reduce its viscosity. One way to use vegetable oil as a fuel is to modify the vehicle so that it heats up the oil before it is used in the fuel system. Heating vegetable oil will reduce the oil's viscosity sufficiently for use in a diesel engine.

With biodiesel, the oil's viscosity is reduced before it gets into the tank and in this way, neither the engine or vehicle needs modification. Biodiesel is the name of a variety of ester-based oxygenated fuels made from vegetable oils or animal fats. A Methyl ester of vegetable oil, or what we now call Biodiesel, is very similar to normal petrochemical based diesel fuel.

Its viscosity is only twice that of diesel fuel and its molecular weight is roughly 1/3 of vegetable oil, hence it can be used as a straight petro-diesel replacement. This reduced viscosity vegetable oil is now called Biodiesel with a number of standards like the European EN 14214 standard and American ASTM standard defining exactly what the properties of that oil should be.

Is Biodiesel better than vegetable oil?

There are advocates for both, so there is no simple yes or no answer. Joe chose vegetable oil because it is a cheaper and more available renewable fuel at this time than Biodiesel. But that doesn't mean Biodiesel isn't a good option. It is. The hope is this ballpark tour will raise awareness of renewable fuels and energy options, whether vegetable oil, Biodiesel, hydrogen fuel cars and so forth.

So specifically how does Joe Connor’s car running on vegetable oil work?

The Mercedes is a two-tank fuel system. The car’s existing diesel tank and filter supplies diesel fuel to the engine at start up. It runs for a short time while the vegetable oil in the second tank is warmed up by hot fluid from the engine's cooling system. The radiator fluid transfers heat from the engine to the heat exchangers in the fuel system (see photo). These exchangers heat the vegetable oil in the fuel filter, lines and fuel tank. The heat reduces the viscosity of vegetable oil so that it is similar to diesel and can be injected into the engine properly. Before the engine is shut down, you switch back to diesel so remaining “cold” vegetable oil doesn’t clog up the injectors the next time the engine is started. 

Can a gasoline-fuel vehicle be converted to run on straight vegetable oil?

 

Not that we are aware of at this time.

 

Which cars are best for a conversion?

 

Any diesel passenger vehicle or light truck will work, with the most common diesel passenger vehicles made by Mercedes and Volkswagen. Chevy, Ford, GMC and Dodge all have diesel options on most of their larger pickup trucks.

 

Where I can buy a conversion kit? How much does it cost?

 

Joe’s conversion kit is from Grease Car Vegetable Fuel Systems, http://www.greasecar.com/. They loaned it to him in exchange for publicity. If he paid for it, the cost is about $2,000 (USD) for the 13-gallon "Veggie Tank" and the onboard filtration system.

 

How much work is involved installing a kit?

 

The Greasecar conversion kit is designed for a do-it-yourself installation. Some vehicles will be more complicated than others. Joe hired professional mechanics to install his conversion kit since he is a baseball writer, and not mechanically-inclined! He paid $900.00 to have it done.

 

How big is the vegetable oil tank?

 

Joe's vegetable oil tank is about 13 gallons. It's located where the spare tire goes in the bottom of the trunk.

 

What if you run out of vegetable oil?

 

Joe’s car is a dual-fuel vehicle. The existing diesel circuit is left in place. The engine is started and shut down with diesel fuel and can operate using the diesel tank at any time.

 

Can you give me some fast facts on Joe's car?

 

1984 Mercedes 300 D-Turbo Diesel converted to run on vegetable oil. Power windows, cruise control, CD player, the basics.

 

Main Dimensions:

Overall vehicle length: 190.9 in/4848 mm

Overall vehicle width: 70.3 in/1786 mm

Overall height: 56.6 in/1438 mm

Wheel height: 110 in/2795 mm

Track, front: 58.6 in/1488 mm

Track, rear: 56.9 in/1446 mm

 

What does the exhaust smell like running on vegetable oil?

 

FRENCH FRIES, Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummy!

 

Do you have less power running on vegetable oil?

 

Joe hasn’t noticed any power loss.

 

Is there added engine wear using vegetable oil as fuel?

 

Not that we're aware. Some studies have shown that vegetable oil has superior lubrication and detergent values over conventional diesel fuel.

 

Following installation, is there any extra maintenance required for cars running on vegetable oil?

 

No, only routine filter maintenance.

 

What kind of fuel economy (miles per gallon) do you get using vegetable oil?

 

There’s no difference in fuel economy between diesel and vegetable oil. Joe gets about  25 miles to the gallon. 

 

How does vegetable oil reduce emissions?

 

As a sulfur-free, bio-mass fuel vegetable oil emissions are less harmful to the environment and less toxic to people and animals. There is no sulfur content in vegetable oil, which eliminates the first major carcinogen associated with diesel fuel. Vegetable oil plants absorb more carbon dioxide from the air during their growing cycle that is released when the oil is burns; this means that vegetable oil does not produce excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (this is referred to as carbon neutral). Due to a slightly cooler burn, some studies have shown NOX reductions when burning vegetable oil.

 

Does a car running on vegetable oil work in a cold climate?

 

Yes, but in extreme cold environments, you may need slightly longer warm-up times.

 

Where do you get your “fuel,” (e.g., vegetable oil?)

Like most with vegetable fuel systems, via a pre-arranged, mutually-agreed upon partnership with a local restaurant, using the filtered frying oil they generally have to pay to dispose of anyway. Any type of vegetable oil will work, as long as the oil is filtered and free from water, bacterial and chemical contamination.

How do you filter waste vegetable oil and where do you store it?

Joe uses an onboard portable filtration system while on the road. The unit draws heat off the coolant system so the car is at operating temperature to transfer heat into the "Veggie Tank." Once the car and filter housing is warm, collection is straightforward. Since Joe is mobile and on the go, he uses an onboard portable system, nestled neatly inside the trunk of his car. The portable filtration system was installed by http://www.greaseroots.com. Joe is not mechanically-inclined, so he paid experts to do it. It took them an entire day to build an onboard filtration system, which included buying parts to neatly mount the system in the trunk. Most folks store drums or barrels in their garage, if they can, so an onboard filtration system isn't necessary.

What equipment do you need to filter the waste vegetable oil?

Since Joe is on the road for seven months, he uses an on-board filtration system, mounted in his trunk to pump and filter oil from a waste oil container, through the heated filter and right into his “Veggie Tank.” His system, from http://www.greasecar.com, came with a coolant heated high pressure bag filter housing; 5-1 Micron dual stage filter bags; pressure gauge to monitor filter life; and 25-feet of hose.

More specifically, kit also included: 12 V DC Transfer pump; Strainer; Dispensing Nozzle; #3 Filter Housing; #3 Bag Filters; Back Pressure Gauge; Heating Coil; hose; 5/8 hose; House Clamps; and Mounting Bracket.

Are certain waste vegetable oils better fuel sources than others?

Sports bar and grill’s and Asian food restaurants tend to use pure canola or soy oil (non-hydrogenated), which has a lower gell point and will be easier to collect and filter. As a basic rule of thumb, higher quality restaurants will use higher quality oil; most fast food restaurants use hydrogenated oil.

There are two main classifications for frying oil: Hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated (or "pure"). Hydrogenated oil is processed to be used for longer periods and is made up of larger oil molecules. This means that it will become thick and sometimes even solid at temperatures up to 100F. Non-Hydrogenated oils can remain pour able at temperatures below freezing.

Visually, frying oil that looks liquid, amber, dark and fluid from the top of a container is usually good while oil that smells rancid or cheesy or looks to have layers of milky substance or froth on top is not good. Also, any oil that looks cloudy could potentially have water contamination, also not good.

Will vegetable oil go bad?

Vegetable oil is a compostable material and will go rancid if exposed to the elements or subject to bacterial contamination. Filtering and storing your oil in a sealed container in a cool place will extend its life. There are addatives called biocides that can be mixed with the oil to prevent bacteria from growing.

There's no utopia. What are some of the downsides of this?

Prepare to get your hands dirty and lose some potential space. Since Joe's "Veggie Tank" is located where his spare tire usually goes, he has to remove the spare tire and all other belongings in the trunk everytime he pumps his Veggie fuel. Some cars can be modified so the "Veggie Tank" is installed elsewhere in a vehicle.

When Joe removes the tire, he gets his hands dirty, but he mostly gets his hands dirty removing the filter from the onboard portable filter. It clogs up quickly, requiring frequent replacement. So some inconvenience, greasy hands and lots of filters are some of the potential downsides.

 

 

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ON THE 8TH DAY GOD MAKE A VEGGIE OIL TANK...
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...THIS BEAUTY IS 13 GALLONS AND GOES WHERE THE SPARE TIRE USUALLY TAKES UP ROOM

BACK OF "VEGGIE TANK" WITH LINES COMING IN/OUT
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STARTING ON DIESEL, YOU THEN CONVERT TO VEG OIL WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS MORE THAN 80F

VEGGIE FUEL GAUGE: RIGHT UNDER THE STEREO
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THE FUEL GAUGE PERFORMS LIKE ANY OTHER FUEL GAUGE. IT CAN BE INSTALLED IN OTHER AREAS OF THE CAR

CLOSE UP VIEW OF THE ONBOARD PORTABLE FILTER
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THE CAR NEEDS TO BE RUNNING AND THE TEMP HOT FOR THE FILTER TO WORK ITS MAGIC

GREASEROOTS.COM SET UP THE PORTABLE FILTER LINES
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GREASECAR.COM PROVIDED THE GOODS; SEE HOW THE LINES GO TO/FRO FROM ONBOARD FILTER AND TANK

GREASEROOTS.COM SET UP JOE'S SPACE-EFFECTIVE TRUNK
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YOU CAN SEE THE STRAINER (AT LEFT) AND THE HOLSTER FOR THE PUMP (FRONT RIGHT) ON INSIDE OF TRUNK

GRAB SOME LUNCH, PICK UP SOME FRYING OIL, DUDE...
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JOE POINTS TO THE WHITE BUCKET OF FRYING OIL; HE'S GETTING READY TO PUMP IT INTO HIS VEGGIE TANK

FILTERED FRYING OIL FROM A LOCAL RESTAURANT....
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...IS WHAT GOES INTO JOE'S VEGGIE TANK; YOU CAN ALSO USE VIRGIN VEG OIL, TOO

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