Diesel storage (was:RE: 24x7 Support Strategies)
chucklist at forest.net
Thu Jun 14 16:16:12 UTC 2007
>And what about all those diesel generators? How many of them are capable
>of running on vegetable oil rather than diesel oil? I regularly walk
>past a building in London that reeks because of the diesel fuel tanks in
>the basement. You have to wonder about the safety of storing large
>amounts of petroleum oil in the centers of major cities when vegetable
>oil is safer, and more carbon-friendly.
This is something I know about, as I home-brew
fuel for my vehicles, and I operate a datacenter
with backup power. ;)
The issue with straight vegetable oil is that it
must be pre-heated to >55°C to efficiently run in
a Diesel engine without risk of injector or
injector pump clogging. This is not exactly
efficient for fail-over power generation as you
would either need to build dual-tank and heating
systems (still storing SOME petro-Diesel AND
losing X% of your power generation facility to
heating your fuel in the process... a LOT of
electricity as most backup gensets have a LOT of
fuel around to heat up... looking outside my
office window I see two tanks, one 19000 liters,
the other 30,000 liters in capacity.) Or you
would need to mix that SVO with petroleum Diesel,
to thin it enough to run risk free... negating
your desire to rid yourself of petrochemical risk.
This is moot in exceptionally warm climates or
exceptionally cloud-free areas as passive solar
could be used to store SVO at high temps.
VO-based fuels are more likely to gel at lower
temps than petro-fuels. Ask me how I know!
Finally, vegetable oil has long term storage
issues of the organic sort, where it can become
contaminated with algae, bacteria, etc.
BioDiesel, that is vegetable oil that has been
chemically stripped of glycerines through
transesterfication is a better suggestion to
replace petro-Diesel in generators. It has cold
weather and storage issues too, but generally
performs better than SVO.
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