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Straight vegetable oil

From Academic Kids

Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) is a fuel for diesel engines that can be either pure new vegetable oil or WVO (cleaned waste vegetable oil).

SVO burns well in many diesel engines but, due to its relatively high viscosity, using SVO with unmodified engines can lead to poor atomisation of the fuel, incomplete combustion, coking in the injectors, ring carbonisation, and accumulation of fuel in the lubricating oil.

Most car engines are suitable for the use of SVO with some modifications. One common solution is to add an additional fuel tank, one for SVO and a separate tank of diesel (petrodiesel or biodiesel) and an electric valve to switch between them. The viscosity of the SVO is reduced by preheating it using heat from the engine; the engine is started on diesel, switched over to SVO as soon as it is warmed up and switched back to diesel shortly before being switched off to ensure it has no SVO in it when it is started from cold again. In colder climates it is often necessary to heat the SVO’s fuel lines and tank as it can become very viscous. Another common solution (the one-tank system) is to add electric pre-heating of the fuel and if necessary upgrade the injection pumps and glow-plugs to allow SVO fuel use with one tank.

With unmodified engines the unfavourable effects can be reduced by mixing, or “cutting”, the SVO with diesel fuel. To be used safely without a second tank and modifications in a petrodiesel engine, vegetable oil must be transesterified to biodiesel.

Some Pacific island nations are using coconut oil as fuel to reduce their expenses and their dependence on imported fuels while helping stabilize the coconut oil market. Coconut oil is only usable where temperatures do not drop below 17 Celsius (62 Fahrenheit).

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