Engines[edit | edit source]

It is possible to use biofuels in numerous different types of engines. Reliability and performance of the engine will depend on:

  • material compatibility of engine components and the fuel
  • fuel delivery being optimised for the given fuel
  • a suitable maintenance regime


Compressed Ignition or Diesel Engine[edit | edit source]

It is possible to use a wide range of biofuels in a diesel engine, most commonly lipid based biofuels are used either in their pure form, pure plant oil, or transesterified as biodiesel.

Diesel engine fuel delivery can be altered to suit the fuel.

wikipedia diesel engine page

Spark Ignition, Petrol or Gas Engine[edit | edit source]

wikipedia internal combustion engine page detailing spark ignition and compressed ignition engines

Biofuels[edit | edit source]

Additives can be applied to fuels to improve their performance

Pure plant oils[edit | edit source]

Pure plant oils - link to PPO main page

also known as straight vegetable oil - SVO or when using used cooking oils WVO. The used of animal based oils and fats is covered by the same criteria.

Theoretically it is possible to modify any diesel engine to run on pure plant oils (PPO). The modifications necessary to allow reliable operation vary greatly depending on the design of the engine, the type of oil to be burnt and the ambient temperatures in which the engine will be operated.

For reliable operation with PPO it is highly recommended to perform an engine health check before switching fuels as the use of PPO requires the engine to be in good order.

A widely used method for reliable operation is to convert the engine to dual fuel and fit a PPO two tank system. The engine is started on diesel fuel and switched to PPO as the engine warms. Before the engine is stopped for an extended period the fuel supply is switched back to diesel fuel for enough time to allow the fuel system to be purged of PPO. The engine is then ready to be cold started on diesel fuel.

It is possible however to modify cold start and fuelling parameters to allow engines to be started on PPO - this is known as a PPO single tank system

wikipedia SVO page

Biogas[edit | edit source]

wikipedia biogas page

Alcohol[edit | edit source]

wikipedia alcohol page

Alcohol can be a gas

Converting a vehicle to run on Ethanol

Fuel Ethanol FAQ

Biodiesel[edit | edit source]

wikipedia biodiesel page

Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial

Wood gas[edit | edit source]

assessing differing feed stocks for woodgas systems

Engine & fuel engineering - designing long-life engines for home biomass energy systems

Around Sweden with wood in the tank

Gasifier Experimenters Kit (GEK)

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Authors Darren
Published 2007
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