Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oil Change - 137, 755

Changed the oil this weekend. I believe synthetic oil is recommended for most VW TDI's. The 2002 that I drive requires an oil with the 505.00 spec. I have been having getting the oil changed at the local quick lube every 3,000 miles or so. Although they use a Mobil synthetic I'm not sure it is the Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel. I think the oil is good for up to 10,000 miles but with the veggie thing I figured I would keep it at 3,000 like I did on my gasoline Passat. It usually takes me over 6 months to achieve 3,000 miles .

I decided to purchase the oil & filter over the net and do it myself. It ended up saving about $10 and got to make sure the correct oil was used, though I did have to spend $20 on the correct oil filter wrench because I couldn't find one locally that would fit. Part of the wrench issue was because of the conversion as the 3 port valves wouldn't let me get the wrench in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things on the burner

137,502 miles
Been a little busy with work but I'm hoping to add some updates soon.
  • Filtering station v2.0 is almost done.
  • Some notes/video on current switch over times.
  • Will change motor oil and send in for analyst .

Friday, April 04, 2008

Time Magazine Article

Time has an article on the tremendous downside to biofuels - "The Clean Energy Scam".

Deforestation is the biggest problem as natural vegetation absorbs more carbon than croplands:

The environmental cost of this cropland creep is now becoming apparent. One groundbreaking new study in Science concluded that when this deforestation effect is taken into account, corn ethanol and soy biodiesel produce about twice the emissions of gasoline. Sugarcane ethanol is much cleaner, and biofuels created from waste products that don't gobble up land have real potential, but even cellulosic ethanol increases overall emissions when its plant source is grown on good cropland. "People don't want to believe renewable fuels could be bad," says the lead author, Tim Searchinger, a Princeton scholar and former Environmental Defense attorney. "But when you realize we're tearing down rain forests that store loads of carbon to grow crops that store much less carbon, it becomes obvious."

It goes on to say that while biofuels are only roughly 20% more green than conventional fuels, technology and more efficient fuels would improve it to 90%.

There was just one flaw in the calculation: the studies all credited fuel crops for sequestering carbon, but no one checked whether the crops would ultimately replace vegetation and soils that sucked up even more carbon. It was as if the science world assumed biofuels would be grown in parking lots. The deforestation of Indonesia has shown that's not the case. It turns out that the carbon lost when wilderness is razed overwhelms the gains from cleaner-burning fuels. A study by University of Minnesota ecologist David Tilman concluded that it will take more than 400 years of biodiesel use to "pay back" the carbon emitted by directly clearing peat lands to grow palm oil; clearing grasslands to grow corn for ethanol has a payback period of 93 years. The result is that biofuels increase demand for crops, which boosts prices, which drives agricultural expansion, which eats forests. Searchinger's study concluded that overall, corn ethanol has a payback period of about 167 years because of the deforestation it triggers.

World starvation increases because the land isn't used for food as farmers are paid more for the fuel crops.

The lesson behind the math is that on a warming planet, land is an incredibly precious commodity, and every acre used to generate fuel is an acre that can't be used to generate the food needed to feed us or the carbon storage needed to save us.