There’s been an interesting trend concerning the use of bio-diesel in newer cars and trucks. It seems, mainly due to warranty concerns, that manufacturers that make diesels, don’t like you to use bio-D right out of the block. For example, in my hometown, one of the largest producers of bio-diesel will not fill up your brand new VW Jetta TDi. And VW itself has basically said that if there’s bio-d in your tank, your warranty is null & void.
So the news that GM, yes, that same GM that was ready for a coffin fitting a few weeks ago, is now saying that their upcoming diesel plants will be OK to run up to 20% of the bio-juice right off of the showroom floor.
Look, in all honesty, I’m not sure what the big deal is. It seems to be driven by companies, both the people that make the cars and some of the people that produce bio-diesel, just not wanting to hassle with dinguses out there. You know the sorts: “I filled up m’car with your bio-diesel, and now my brakes need to be re-done. It must be your fault!”
Ask any shop owner, and they’ll tell you about 5% of their customers are like that. So really I can understand.
On the other hand, I can also see, from first hand experience, that running bio-d doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. I’ve got a buddy that lives in Hawaii, and he’s been doing bio-diesel as a business for some years now. And apart from having to replace the fuel filters more often (and a lot right at first), he’s had no real problems. And he’s been running 100% bio-d for years.
So anyway, word comes from General Motors that their upgraded 6.6-liter Duramax V8 is getting a significant upgrade in 2010. It’s getting a new common rail piezo electric fuel injection system, for one thing. Said system runs at an astonishing 2,000 BAR (29,000 psi) and can run up to six injection pulses per cycle. All this in the pursuit of more precise, slower and cooler combustion.
Even better is the news that this new 6.6 mill is factory certified to run on B20 bio-diesel blends. This is the first engine of any kind that I’ve heard of to claim that. The engine is so comfortable running on French fry juice that it doesn’t even need a fuel sensor to check for balances.
Impressive … if I was a green oriented delivery company, I’d keep an eye on these engines.
Photo from Flickr user