Ricardo Almost Ready to Demonstrate Ethanol Engine In Heavy Duty Pickup

Ricardo Almost Ready to Demonstrate Ethanol Engine In Heavy Duty Pickup

Can a small, turbocharged flex-fuel spark-ignited engine perform as well as a heavy-duty diesel engine -- but at a much lower cost? Ricardo Inc. and its partners are getting ready to demonstrate exactly that.

Ricardo calls the technology Ethanol Boost Direct Injection and it's said to be scalable from small passenger cars up to large commercial trucks.

As we explained last year when we first looked at Ricardo's EBDI technology, it’s taken spark-ignition technology decades to catch up to diesel efficiency. Diesel is so efficient and powerful because it contains more energy per gallon of fuel than gasoline, and it combusts using compression ignition, which is the tremendous frictional heat generated from the extreme compression of air in the cylinder. Such high temperatures and pressures produce the large amounts of torque that trailer-towers love, but they inhibit thorough mixing of the fuel-air charge in the cylinder, which leads to incomplete fuel burns that produce soot and other pollutants. Conventional gas and flex-fuel engines use spark ignition to detonate the fuel-air mix when the charge is optimally distributed throughout the cylinder chamber. That has two results: The mix burns cleaner, and it burns with less relative power than diesel.

Ethanol, however, has a higher octane and heat-of-vaporization point than gasoline, meaning it combusts at a higher temperature and with greater force (and compression) than gasoline, while also having a greater capacity to cool the fuel-air mix in the cylinder before combustion. This allows a larger charge to be drawn into the cylinder before ignition. This inherent efficiency is what enables a smaller-displacement engine to perform with the same power as a bigger motor -- if the engine is built to take advantage of it.

Ricardo’s EBDI engine changes its combustion cycle to match the fuel blend and it's built to withstand high compression ratios. This, together with the use of direct injection, exhaust gas recirculation and turbochargers, makes it almost as efficient as a diesel engine, Ricardo says.

For now, Ricardo starts with a 264-horsepower, 222-pounds-feet of torque 3.0-liter direct injection gasoline V-6 engine (from a Chevy Equinox crossover) that's been enlarged to 3.2-liters, by increasing the stroke length. Using that engine, Ricardo will replace the 6.0-liter V-8 gasoline and 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel in two GM Heavy Duty pickup trucks starting in May.

According to Luke Cruff, a Ricardo chief engineer involved in the program, power output will vary depending on the fuel blend used. Running on gasoline only, the EBDI engine is said to produce 400 horsepower and 570 pounds-feet of torque. Using E85 (15% gasoline, 85% ethanol), that figure jumps to 450 horsepower and 660 pounds-feet of torque.

Front view of the EBDI engine
Front view of the EBDI 3.2-liter V-6

Peak torque is available down low, like a diesel, at 1,500 rpm to 3,000 rpm, depending on the fuel mix. The engine's RPM range is diesel-like too, topping out at 5,000 rpm.

"An [EBDI] engine like this doesn't have to run [at] high [rpms]. It can be downspeeded because the torque is so high," Cruff said.

To realize the best performance balance between mileage and power, the optimal fuel blend to run is somewhere in the middle, using an E40 to E50 mix. That's the point where the engine returns gas-like fuel economy. That's because ethanol has about a 33% lower power density compared to an equivalent amount of gas, meaning it takes roughly a third more ethanol to drive a certain distance than you'd need if you used only gas. This is the reason that today's flex-fuel cars and truck have lower EPA mileage ratings than for gas-only versions.

Downsizing and turbocharging helps reduce some of the lost fuel economy that comes with Ethanol. The smaller engine has lower pumping losses -- the power needed to move air in and out of the cylinders -- and boosting allows the engine to run at a higher load.

Rear view of the EBDI engine
Rear view of the EBDI 3.2-liter V-6

"If you put in an E40 blend, it's like pushing gasoline up to 97 octane," Cruff said. "Adding ethanol is like adding an octane booster in the tank. You still get most of the performance benefits that you'd get on E85 but without as large of a fuel consumption hit."

Since ethanol blends like E40 aren't common, Ricardo has teamed up with Growth Energy, a trade group that hopes to see variable-blend ethanol pumps installed at gas stations so that drivers can choose the best blend of fuel for their needs.

"If I'm towing, I'll use a higher ethanol blend for more power," Cruff said. "But if I'm cruising down the highway, then I'll put in lower-octane gas for better fuel economy."

The EBDI engine also varies the amount of boost, cam timing, spark timing and fuel injection timing to optimize performance for various blends of ethanol and gasoline. It operates at about an 11:1 compression ratio versus around 17:1 for a diesel.

A future version of the engine will receive adaptable variable nozzle turbos that can optimize boost for low and high-speed operation, to further improve fuel economy and power availability.

EBDI Piston vs. DI Piston
This picture compares the standard direct injection 3.0-liter V-6 piston and connecting rod (top) to that used in the EBDI 3.2-liter V-6 (bottom). Note the sturdier construction of the 3.2-liter hardware -- particularly the connecting rod -- to handle the higher compression ratio and torque of the EBDI engine.

Like a diesel engine, the EBDI engine uses exhaust gas recirculation to control cylinder temperatures. Instead of limiting the formation of nitrogen oxide -- which needs to be scrubbed from diesel exhaust to meet tough new federal emissions regulations -- the EGR is one more way to help prevent damaging engine knock. This use of EGR means that purchase costs are much lower because it doesn't require an expensive diesel exhaust aftertreatment system. It also adds a charge air cooler to further manage air temperatures before it enters the engine's intake manifold and is combined with fuel in the cylinder.

The EBDI engine uses a simpler fuel-injection system that runs at only about 10% of the pressure required for a diesel fuel injection system. That's because diesels require fuel injection pressures of around 30,000 psi to finely atomize the fuel before it combusts -- again, to meet emissions. The fine timing and spark ignition setup of the EBDI engine allows for the lower pressures.

Not using EGR (and urea selective catalytic reduction) for emissions and the simpler fuel injection system means the EBDI engine should cost half as much as a comparable diesel but about $4,500 more than a conventional gas engine.

"We're trying to make a point by choosing to demonstrate this engine in a heavy duty truck that this could help improve the fuel economy of smaller trucks too," Cruff said. "Fuel economy numbers are going up. If a company wants to keep selling trucks, they'll have to sell lots of small cars or they're going to need technology like this to get there."


I'll just point to my comments about fords eco-boost v-6 for why gas + turbo + load = bad and in a HD its and even worse idea than an F-150. Ethanol is a different matter, but I have yet to see a station selling E85...

Ethanol surely isn't the answer. Really, do a search on the problems associated with it's use, particularly water and the cost to food production. It is an impressive engine though!

Like Enjelus says though, I have yet to see an ethanol station.

Give it up. Ethanol is a farce. Bad for the environment, expensive, absolutely ridiculous. Takes something like 6 gallons of water and lots of diesel fuel to make just one gallon. Drives the cost of corn up in 3rd. world countries too. Only benefits midwestern corn growers and big agri-business.

I've always found an argument that states ethanol "isn't good for the environment" comical. First off it burns cleaner then petroleum products. It was stated that "it takes 6 gallons of water and one gallon of diesel fuel to make one gallon of Ethanol." These might be close numbers, but this is to grow a corn product, which is going to be grown even if there is no demand for ethanol. It will still take the same amount of diesel even if that product goes to a food market. Plus people forget that agriculture evolves too. Yields for crops have gone up dramatically in the last decade. They will continue to go up in the next decade. Meaning it will require less diesel fuel to get more yield. As for the water argument, I don't even see that being a problem. The water not used for growing the crops is used at the refinery. That water is mostly turned to steam which reforms into rain and feed crops. Seems like a good thing to me. Not to mention, ethanol refineries are also constantly evolving, to get better yields out of what they are given, also reducing the cost of ethanol.

No it isn't 100% the answer. But I think it can help reduce imported oil by 10%.

I can understand that a lot of people don't like the idea of replacing the substance that we have been dependent upon for decades. But I wish people would educate themselves a little better before posting stuff they have just "heard." This site seems to be one of the best out there. http://www.e85fuel.com/ But it might be a little biased.

As for this tech. When it was first released I wasn't too impressed. But the more I read about this and the more diesel engine tech inflate, I can see a person taking this tech over for a person who doesnt need the full capabilities of a diesel, but still needs to tow heavy loads, from time to time.

I though this was more developed than this. For something as easy as reported it's taken a long time to get something real.

@ Spray

Actually, the ridiculous amount of water that agriculture requires is a huge problem. That, combined with food price and food shortages in less developed countries are reasons enough not to use ethanol.

How does it make sense to use a fuel that I have to use 33% more of, to go the same distance on 1 gallon of gas.

on another note. I do think it is pretty cool what this engine is capable of.

Didn't I read somewhere that Ford was also working on a motor very similar to this one that was based off of the Ecoboost motor was setup to use ethanol and how they were getting these crazy power outputs from it?

Seriously everyone, despite the hype, just do a simple search on "problems with ethanol" and read read read. Some excerpts:

Ethanol is far from a cure-all for the nation's energy problems. It's not as environmentally friendly as some supporters claim and would supply only 12% of U.S. motoring fuel — even if every acre of corn were used.

If every acre of corn were used for ethanol, it would replace only 12.3% of the gasoline used in this country, Hill's study said, adding that the energy gains of corn-produced ethanol are only modest and the environmental impacts significant.

n addition to a reduction in soil fertility by not plowing wastes back into the ground, there is concern that using corn and soybeans for ethanol would create competition for food crops.

Doesn’t it stand to common reason that if the prospects of ethanol were bright and that this produced more energy than it took to make it, then it would stand strong as a good program. But the fact is that it must be subsidized by you and I. Would not other nations be going for this ethanol deal? The fact is that brazil is about the only other nation doing ethanol at a break even point, and it is using sugar cane stocks as a fuel to power the still. How long will they have top soil to keep doing this?

Here is an interesting (fact). The Netherlands wanted to use ethanol because it was the ‘Green Solution,” but they needed the plant matter to do it. So they imported the plant matter. Then they found out that they were removing large areas of the rain forest for the material that they needed. Boy, that kind of was a set back for them for sure. Pitch the “save the rain forest” goal.

Has anyone mentioned to us the prospects of “mining” our top soil with this ethanol deal? Once it is gone, we will really be in a fix, and that is just what we are doing with this ethanol scheme.

How about the huge amount of new fertilizer that will be needed? Has anyone thought about the big dead spot now in the ocean that is thought to come from the fertilizer that is used now? What about all the new fertilizer that is made by using natural gas?

Here's a true story, repeated in February 2007 by Tampa newspapers: Florida's first ethanol plant, U.S. EnviroFuels LCC, will need 390,000 gallons of fresh water every day to run its ethanol plant at Tampa's port. That's enough for nearly 1,500 homes, which are under once-a-day watering restrictions.

Interesting concept. Shown previously by FEV and others, though. DI+turbo+alcohol is technically interesting from a lot of standpoints. Higher power, greater knock resistance, better energy specific fuel consumption. However, its introduction into the market in anything more than very, very small numbers would result in a commodity market shock that nobody will be happy about. The feedstock from waste product process has to be proven in volume production, including acceptable emissions optimization. The only way to evaluate emissions is on a well-to-wheels basis and ethanol does not stack up well in that analysis.

Food based ethanol does have a lot of problems, however if you read the headlines it wasn't to long ago that GM partnered with this company: Coskata. They seemed to have cracked the feedstock issue

"Feedstock independent - Virtually any carbon-containing input materials can be converted to syngas, including energy crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus; wood chips, forestry products, corn stover, bagasse and other typical agricultural wastes; municipal waste and industrial organic waste like petroleum coke."

If this works you can feed in ANYTHING that has carbon in it such as grass, wood, old tires, plastic bags ... Hey wait a minute - shouldn't that stuff be going to my local landfill instead of powering my 700HP V6 truck...

It is encouraging for me to see that the ethanol debate still continues. As a Midwesterner I am fortunate to see the benefits and challenges posed by ethanol first hand.
First I would like to address the water usage in the production of ethanol because I feel that this is the biggest downfall to corn based ethanol. Most recent estimations have calculated between 4 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced not eight. While this is still high it doesn't show that it would be possible to recycle the water for irrigation purposes or other uses. Another fact is that the Midwest, where the majority of ethanol is produced, has a vast abundance of freshwater in aquifers and the great lakes and in my opinion producing fuel where there is an abundance of water is a better use than the millions of gallons wasted watering golf courses in the arid southwestern U.S. where water is in short supply.
I next want to address the production of ethanol concerning distillers grains. Since the production of ethanol only harvests the starch contained in the corn kernel there is much processed feed that can be used to feed animals and is an important part of the rations for milk, beef, and pork production. The process of drying this feed is what is inefficient and if given to the animals wet can save an enormous amount of energy. This information easily discredits the argument that ethanol competes with food production as they in fact go hand in hand.
One alarmingly vast misconception about ethanol is that it is completely subsidized. While the ethanol industry is subsidized most of the largest subsidies go to the oil companies who are the ones who bend the ethanol and not the ones who create it. Subsidies also come from the agriculture market being subsidized but these subsidies are production based meaning where production is low the subsidy is given but where production is moderate to high there is no subsidy. This subsidy is only designed to offset weather anomalies and market fluctuations. The funny thing is that the subsidy actually decreases with the production of ethanol because ethanol increases market price. One thing that is not talked about much is how much gasoline is subsidized which is many times higher than anything close to ethanol or agriculture.
In my opinion corn based ethanol may not be the complete answer but it can definitely reduce oil used and help boost the US economy with minimal effect on the environment. With new technology, such as these engines, and cellulosic ethanol I urge you to at least consider the facts of ethanol and compare them to the claims of big oil companies.

I like to see ethanol plants fed by corn being built. I think it can only help me as a farmer, even though I don't grow corn. I've heard there are multiple undeveloped ways to produce ethanol though, not just from corn. It seems with technology that is developing ethanol will be more of a major fuel source in the future.

I also wonder how an engine like this can compare to the reliability of some of today's diesel engines.

Ricardo is an European Company based in the UK. Looking at their website they are involved in a variety of alternate energy
engine programs.

Ford's "Bobcat" engine used ethanol boosting. Ethanol is injected to control knock as opposed to running with an ethanol blend all the time.
here is another link to ethanol boosting.

Guys great posts. It's nice to see well informed ,well thought out posts.

Ethanol is not the only answer. It is an answer that works for limited use near areas of ethanol production. Using ethanol in farm trucks and for rural transportation in say Nebraska or Iowa instead of trucking in or shipping thru a pipeline gasoline or diesel makes sense, is viable and sustainable.

People can also Google: "Advantages of Ethanol" and get many experts telling them why they should use it.

I've noticed that when talking about ethanol, people unsure of the product tent to act like America is going to turn all of there undeveloped land, into farm land. Well last time I checked the number of acres used for farming was shrinking and America's yields were increasing.

It was stated above, "How about the huge amount of new fertilizer that will be needed?" Where is this "new" fertilizer needed? Like I said, the amount of farm land is shrinking not growing, there for we need less fertilizer then before. Modern farming techniques are needing less to get the same yields that were occurring a decade ago.

Top soil has been an issue that the Ag. business has been addressing for decades (around the great depression is when it was first brought up as a problem). Most top soil erosion has been dramatically slowed, damn near stopped, with modern farming techniques.

Everybody needs to remember, that these products are going to be planted and harvested, no matter if they are used for: food for humans, food for livestock, or made into ethanol. Thus the argument about increased farming doing more damage to the environment, is void. Especially when there is less acres of farm land year after year. There can't be more farming on less land. Greater yields will continue to occur with evolving Ag. tech.

When comparing the "cost" from shipping crops from an Ag. elevator to an ethanol plant or to a mill to make into food, it is the same. Plus the amount of energy needed to make the ethanol is no different then the amount of energy it takes to break the grain down and cook into a food.

The water used recycles itself. The problem here is, can it be recycled fast enough so it doesn't interfere with human demand? I don't know that answer, but I do know that as ethanol production becomes more sophisticated, remember, this is still a fairly new commercial venture, that less and less water will be needed.

Very little of the food supply is being taken away from animals, the product that is left over from the refining of the ethanol is used as feed for livestock.

The only thing that will happen is the cost of food will go up because ethanol is taking away from some food supply from humans. This can and will be countered by modern/future farming techniques increasing yields.

I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ETHANOL IS 100% THE ANSWER. I DO BELIEVE THAT IT CAN BE USED TO SUPPLEMENT ABOUT 10% OF OUR IMPORTED OIL. Plus if we supplement that 10% oil drop with a 10% increase in America's own oil production, there is a 20% drop in imported oil. Almost a quarter of one of America's main problem, gone.

Is ethanol the answer, NO. But I believe it can be used as a crutch until, the next wave of sustainable energy (Which I believe to be Hydrogen Fuel Cells) becomes more affordable.

You do know how they make hydrogen right?

I have a problem with this engine. If you have to cut back to 40 percent ethanol for it to achieve higher fuel economy, what's the point? And having to have a mixing pump at the local gas station. What will that cost the owner or us the consumer? Look to the advantages of bio-diesel. You can have it at the local gas station today in any blend. Run it in all old and current production cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, farm equipment, construction equipment and the list is endless. If it's a diesel or compression engine, it will work.

Some one will probably say the exhaust it worse. Well from all I've been able to read on the net, any current production diesel car or truck with out modifications burning as little as 5% bio-diesel is polluting less than their gas counterpart. Don't take my word for it. Look for yourself.

Also, look up research on bio-diesel. If you spill it, it's eco-friendly. It will biodegrade. Spill it in the ocean or lake, the fish and wildlife will survive. Universities have done the work.

So no infrastructure changes needed safe for the environment and you can use it from any percentage up to 100 percent right now. Seems good to me. Especially if a 40 percent blend is the best this concept will handle. Might as well just buy a current flex fuel car and buy the E85. Pay less at the pump and take the lumps!

Diesel engines will always be SO MUCH BETTER!!! Simpler, more powerful, cheaper, etc, etc, etc!!

Seriously, there is A REASON the entire world has uses diesel engines in heavy duty trucks, machines, trains, ships, generators, etc, since the 1900's!!!!

Pretty much everthing that has to run/work ALL THE TIME!

If there was something better, we would have implemented it by now!!

To bad ill-informed "green" types are killing the diesels here.

It has been agreed by most farmers that ethanol from corn is not 100% the answer. Using corn for ethanol does not necessarily take food from third world countries. There are several products left after ethanol is made that can be used for animal feed or possibly human food. Although I do not think anyone currently does this for human food. But when used for animal feed it displaces corn, beans, wheat and other feed grains used in animal feed that can then be used for human food. Secondly, ethanol from corn is not the only answer. There are several experimental ethanol plants being tried using crops that currently do not have a use like Miscanthus (spelling)grass. Besides most of these third world countries everyone is concerned about do not buy our corn now but our government GIVES it to them paying for it out of tax dollars taken from YOUR paycheck. I am an advocate of ethanol but even I know it is not 100% the answer but it could be a part of the solution. I guess it all comes down to who do you want to support some foreign country that hates our guts or your rural neighbors. Biodeisel is a much better solution but it has yet to take off. I have personally used biodiesel forseveral years and seen several improvements in our diesel engines- cleaner oil at change intervals, equal economy to petroleum diesel. Some have seen problems with it too but I haven't and some others that use it haven't either. Again, not the sole solution but it could be a part of it too. Any fuel has its pros and cons.

Regarding Garret's comment about diesels will always be so much better, simpler, more powerful, cheaper: I disagree.

Diesels have very high torque due to the very high pressures in the cylinders pushing on the pistons. This is good where heavy work is needed. However, older diesels are very dirty polluters. New ones are much cleaner but are very expensive.

Diesels do not burn all the fuel because of incomplete fuel air mixing. Modern high pressure fuel injection helps this but at a high cost. These systems run at about 25,000 psi which makes them much more expensive than gasoline fuel injection systems which are 2500 psi at most (for direct injection).

The EPA now requires ultra low diesel fuel. The cost to clean up the fuel at the refineries is why diesel now sells for more than gasoline which was not the case before. To further clean the air, new engines must now have after treatment systems which in most cases includes using a urea solution (the blue liquid called DEF) and a particulate filter. These exhaust treatment systems add about $2500 to the cost of the engines. Add all the extras together and a diesel in a pick-up costs about $8000 more than a big gasoline engine. The Ricardo ethanol optimized small engine has essentially the same capability as the diesel but at half the cost premium. Using it seems to be a no-brainer. I can't wait to be able to buy one.

The only problem I have with your statment Robert is that a diesel will still get much better fuel economy then this new engine. So a person who needs to constantly put heavy loads on his truck, a diesel would be a much better option.

The Ricardo EBDI will revolutionize the ethanol industry. The only problem is BTU content for fuel mileage numbers. We must continue to focus on a solution to make OPEC insignificant. I believe advanced biofuels such as sweet sorghum grown on marginal land is the answer. As an economic development model, sweet sorghum grown in about 100 days and processed immediately on small farms will boost our economy tremendously. The "host" farmer model which EPEC offers will create prosperity for farms and their local communities. The combination of EBDI and EPU's (ethanol production units) producing ethanol cost-effectively and efficiently can be achieved within a couple of years. GM, Ford and other manufacturers will be producing at least half their fleets to flex fuel by 2012. Congress needs to pass its bill to mandate fuel choice immediately. Big Oil is getting into the game slowly but surely to control costs but I feel the farmer should be in the game as a partner to end our economic woes.

Paper: I agree that for very heavy duty work the diesel is the best choice today. My comment was for lesser loads like pick-up trucks where very few are used for maximum duty work.

That said, what Ricardo has done is move spark ignition engine design much closer to diesel design and the result is an engine that is almost equal to the diesel in fuel economy and power/torque at half the added cost over conventional spark ignition engines. What we see today is the first attempt and it is probable that with future work these engines may well equal or exceed what diesels can do and still at a lower cost.

There are two reasons these new designs will succeed: Economics (lower cost) and fuel security. Many oil exporting nations hate the US and use some of the dollars we send to them for their oil to finance terrorist attacks against us and our allies. We maintain oil supply access by our huge military presence around the globe but at a very high economic and personal cost to the military personnel. If the cost to protect oil access was added to the cost of fuel at the pump the price would double and we saw last year what that does to our economy and way of life.

Home grown biofuels can replace most of the oil we import within the next 20 years. Corn is not the answer but it got the industry started. Biomass of all types are available all across the country and small scale commercial plants are being built now. A new enzyme from Novazymes has just been released that reduces the price of cellulose based ethanol to the same price as corn based ethanol and they expect it will drop to half that in a few years. Over the next decade I expect hundreds of cellulose based commercial scale plants to be built all over the country so ethanol will become readily available at cost equal to or below petroleum fuels. We can break our dependency on imported oil from hostile exporters in the relatively near future.

The reason I am excited about what Ricardo has demonstrated is that it is possible to use ethanol as a replacement for petro based fuels at the same power levels with about the same fuel economy in an engine that costs less than a diesel and only a little more than a common gasoline engine.

For Robert, currently diesels cost more and some are starting to use urea for an added pollution control. But not all. I would direct you to the Dodge/Cummins package. Probably the best out there. They met the 2015 standards without urea. Plus studies by universities and manufactures and government and industry have shown that any diesel burning as little as 5 percent bio-diesel mix has half the pollution of its gas (spark ignition) counterpart. The engine in this article is highly modified and yes cost less than a diesel. But even modified it's peak performance is with a mixture of 40 percent ethanol. Not as good as most diesels of any model till the urea era can burn up to 100 percent bio and not have a loss in power or economy. Not to mention that I would think if 5 percent bio mix produces less pollution than 100 percent should up that a bit more.

As far as cost, that to should become a wash. That is if the auto companies made more of them. I hear mass production is suppose to lower costs. Other than cost of raw materials being more, diesels shouldn't cost what they do now. I can't remember for sure, but I think Fords new in house diesel the scorpion is going to be built in Mexico. All the car companies in the world sell more diesel models over seas. Heck even the cost of a VW diesel in America isn't more than couple thousand more than it's gas counterpart. But GM, Ford and Dodge want to squeeze out every dime they can from their truck and suv lines. That's fine. I'll still buy a diesel. Probably not a new GM or Ford because of the urea issues, so I hope Dodge/Cummins stays on top of their game for a while longer.


I agree that Cummins is ahead of most in building low emission diesels without the urea after treatment. They have done a good job. I disagree than mass marketing would be able to match the cost of the Ricardo type near diesel spark engine. The higher strength block, very high pressure fuel system, and after treatment will continue to keep it costly. Cummins has uses a pretty costly exhaust gas recirculating system to get by without using urea and they still have to have a particulate filter with its cost to make and the cost of fuel to periodically burn off the soot it catches.

Biodiesel is a good renewable fuel, like ethanol, but its big problem is feedstock. Vegetable oils are expensive. Things like soy oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil are quite expensive and 90% of the plants that were built to use these oils are shut down. There is also the food vs. fuel issue.

Palm oil is widely used since it is grown in low labor cost countries in low latitudes. However there is lots of flack from the environmental community because rain forests are being cleared to plant palm trees. It is also a food oil.

Jatropha is being developed, again in sub tropical places. It has some promise but requires hand harvesting now so it can only be economic where labor is very cheap. It may be possible to develop plants with more production and a different structure that would allow mechanical harvesting. It is not a food crop.

Biodiesel does have one significant problem and that is cold flow. In cold climates it will become semi solid in winter and will plug fuel filters. This problem varies with different feedstock oils, but all have it to some degree.

We need many renewable fuels and ethanol and biodiesel are both good. Biobutanol is another that seems to be getting some traction. There is not one silver bullet, at least that we know of today.

As most diesels will gel at lower temps, adding anti-gel agents to biodiesel helps here also. There are many, many corporations, schools and governments using B20 blends for many years in the cold climates. Just look it up online as the list is to long to attach here. Plus I am sure if we were to run higher blends or 100 percent, this problem too would be worked out completely. That or we should all live in Texas or Florida! Just kidding.

Feed stock is a problem for all renewable fuels. However there are major gains being made in both ethanol and biodiesel from algae. We don't eat that and many a farmers' ponds are covered with it in the summer. We can use marginal lands and swamps to make it.

Again if mass production (which I'm sure you meant and not mass marketing) will lower cost. Once again I point you to the fact that every major carmaker in the world sell cars and suvs worldwide with diesel options that are a few thousand over the cost of a gas counterpart. If mass production or some other factor did not make this possible, then I doubt that all the carmakers would build such vehicles.

The majority of domestic oil imports come from Canada and Mexico not OPEC or Middle East!

No doubt that your point will be made.In order to simplify and to put down cost did you think of using a NUVINCI by Fallbrook
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