Back on the Bean – Biodiesel from a customer’s perspective

Greetings everyone,

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Chris, and Zack has graciously authorized me to write in the blog from a customer’s perspective. I, or rather my family, owns a variety of diesel-powered vehicles: I have a 2006 Jetta TDI with Unitronic performance software, my partner Butch has a 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Diesel, and my father has a 1986 VW Golf Diesel hatchback. While it seems we are “no strangers” to diesels the facts are that we’ve only been involved with them for about three years.

I came across TBI from some friends of mine at NC State working on a greasetrap project. They mentioned the 2.99 price and I about fell over; see the only competition I am aware of charges both a membership fee and is still above $4.00 a gallon. I drove 70 miles to their Wilson plant and filled up. That was Monday, I think Barry was shocked to see me back on Thursday with 600 miles on the clock and 4 carboys in the trunk!

That was before the “big freeze” we had this past week. We had sustained lows in the 20s or below for nearly a solid week (granted on Sunday, at the time of this writing, it is 76F outside). Monday I didn’t even go to work. I had a little more than half a tank of B100 and I said “not tempting fate with the bald tires on ice.” Butch, however, had to go to work, as he manages a convenience store. He’d already started the Jeep by the time I got up, and left it idling (I generally don’t advise this practice). He said she fired up on the first attempt, but did turn over about 10 times longer than usual.

We had no issues with the Jeep that day and then I had to crank the VW up to go to work Tuesday. I didn’t let it go long enough, and she failed on the first attempt. I was surprised! So we tried it again, this time I waited for the glow plugs to go out and counted to three and yup… fired right up. She didn’t sound too happy, and the snow was still covered on all the windows (actually I had to really pull to get the door unstuck), and then I remembered I had 10 gallons of B100 in the trunk….

Thinking the worst, I opened the trunk to find that the fuel was still totally liquid, having sat in a trunk in plastic totes over night with lows in the teens for hours. Impressive, I wanted to know what additive they’re putting into this stuff. So, off I drove to work… not a care in the world. I have to say this WVO fuel is fantastic, it’s nice to have the looming scent of a kitchen following my car than the sulphur smell that comes with Diesel fuel.

In the end, we had no major problems with the fuel in this cold snap. I admit I was shocked to see liquid fuel in my trunk’s containers, last year I left a B80 mix of Chicken Fat biodiesel in the trunk from the other guys and it was a solid mass after a few hours in warmer temps than this batch was exposed to. Very impressed. I’ve used Biodiesel from Des Moines, Iowa, Austin, TX, Ocean City, MD and Marysville, TN — Wilson, NC’s is certainly ranked up in terms of quality (from my perspective).

For those concerned with long term usability, the VW i own has just crossed 80,000 miles. 60,000 of these were on B100 (mostly chicken fat), and my vehicle has had no ill effects. My vehicle is also chipped and makes around 126HP at the wheels (over 130 crank), I’ve only had this cars two years, this is about typical mileage for me — I’m a roaming computer repairman (part time). Day to day I put over 50mi on the car just go to and from work. I’ve averaged about 30,000 miles per year since I got my learner’s permit — I’m a southern boy (and there is no such thing as mass transit in the south, except Atlanta). It just feels good to know that the fuel your car uses is recycled, made local, and cleaner than the conventional fuel. All the way around it’s good for you and your community, and it only works in some of the toughest and longest lasting engines ever made.

It’s so good to be back on the bean….

Posted in Biodiesel.