Sump oil fuel

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Sump oil fuel

Postby Blownoiler » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:25 pm

While browsing the net's diesel forums (usually American forums) I often come across threads on using sump oil as an alternative fuel, obviously the old oil is burned in diesel engines only to my knowledge. While this idea does sound environmentally irresponsible at first, apparently the folks who collect used engine oil from mechanical workshops dotted around the country sell the sump oil for the purpose of fuelling furnaces for various heating applications, so maybe running one's diesel engine on it isn't as bad as it first sounds (unless you are following a smoke belching vehicle while driving through the burbs.) ( I live out in the country) I currently run my mechanically injected diesel vehicle on used cooking oil, but my cooking oil supplies are dwindling away so I'm trying to decide if I should formulate a plan on how to successfully run the car on old engine oil. I'm thinking that supercharging the engine with a positive displacement blower (rather than the present turbocharger) would help to burn the heavy oil cleanly, as adding boost would increase cylinder temperatures and pressure from idle up to the redline. Has anyone here had a go at using sump oil as fuel?
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Re: Sump oil fuel

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:40 pm

Welcome to the Energy Matters Forums Blownoiler :)

I reckon you'd have to filter it pretty well, as it contains a lot of extremely fine metallic particles and soot, etc, which would surely cause increased wear to the cylinder walls, and especially the injectors. This would take a fair bit of energy to perform. It would be rather more viscous than diesel or vegetable oil too, so would perhaps require a fair bit of pre-heating before injection.

As far as environmental soundness, you have to compare it with what would otherwise happen to it. I thought that used engine oil was recycled in some way, and some fraction was recovered for use in oil products, but I haven't investigated this subject lately.
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Re: Sump oil fuel

Postby Blownoiler » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:10 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:Welcome to the Energy Matters Forums Blownoiler :)

Thankyou for the welcoming manner Gordon!

I reckon you'd have to filter it pretty well, as it contains a lot of extremely fine metallic particles and soot, etc, which would surely cause increased wear to the cylinder walls, and especially the injectors.

Good points, generally the folks running U.M.O. (used motor oil) run the oil through a centrifuge (expensive to purchase) and over strong magnets to get a reasonably clean end product, probably the cleanliness of the collected oil has a big impact on the final filtered product, so I would be looking for cleaner oil to work with rather than the black engine oil that comes from my own motors sump. I don't think that the cylinder wall wear would be impacted greatly as the drained used oil was probably still doing it's lubricating duties up until it was drained at service time, and as diesels run excess air in the cylinder I am led to believe that there is a cushion of air between the burning air/fuel mix and the cylinder walls during normal operation, but then I don't know for sure.....I'm guessing that there is minimal fuel to cylinder wall contact as diesel engines generally have a long service life. Obviously with newer engines the high injection pressures (up to around 30,000 psi) really put the injectors under the hammer, but this early mechanically injected engine runs a mere 2100 psi, and a set of injector nozzles runs into a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand that newer injectors can cost.
This would take a fair bit of energy to perform. It would be rather more viscous than diesel or vegetable oil too, so would perhaps require a fair bit of pre-heating before injection.

yes, no doubt the used oil would contain not just engine oil, but gearbox/diff oil as well, so its viscosity could vary somewhat from batch to batch.

As far as environmental soundness, you have to compare it with what would otherwise happen to it. I thought that used engine oil was recycled in some way, and some fraction was recovered for use in oil products, but I haven't investigated this subject lately.

I haven't done a lot of research on what happens to used motor oil, so am only putting forward what I have been told (and what I wanted to hear :) ), yet have heard of "remanufactured engine oil" being sold in automotive stores, which reminds me of what I was told back in the early 80s regarding one of sump oils uses, which was to spray it onto dusty dirt roads in order to seal the dust somewhat!
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Re: Sump oil fuel

Postby offgridQLD » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:45 pm

Considering sump oil is a bit of a pain to dispose of (have to take it to the recycling centre) and the local one charges you considerably for it. I take it to one 100km away is free when disposing of other rubbish. I do my own Servicing at home and have a 205lt drum that I store it in before disposing of it. Though it's a mix of sump,gearbox,transfer case, and front and rear diff oil in the one drum. It sure builds up fast with a diesel 4wd lots of lt of oil's on a major service).

Unfortunately my diesel ute is of the modern high pressure diesels that prefers a more refined drop :lol: Though It could be a option for my generator :?

Fortunately I do most of my miles in a EV now and it only has 750ml of diff oil thats changed every 100,000km and thats it . Oh and a few lt of coolant that needs changing every 20 years ;) .

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Re: Sump oil fuel

Postby Smurf1976 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:03 am

So far as environmental issues are concerned, there's a steam train (an original old steam locomotive) in Tasmania that runs on waste oil. It's used as a tourist train these days, but it dates back to the 1890's as a former freight (ore from a mine) railway using the same locos.

They just use it to fire the boiler instead of coal - to my understanding the locomotives were converted to use heavy fuel oil in the latter years of their original service in the 1960's since it was cheaper at the time than coal (partly due to the reduction in labour needed to use it).It's all straightforward technically, running a steam loco on oil is just a matter of having an oil tank plus burners in the boiler instead of shoveling coal in. All you need to do is boil the water.

There's no coal mined anywhere nearby, they'd have to bring coal in from hundreds of km away by road or rail, so it makes economic sense to continue using oil especially given that there's waste oil available quite cheaply. Gets rid of the waste oil and avoids using coal or fuel oil.

The Environment Department looked into it after questions were raised about air pollution and concluded that there was no real problem with it when compared to the alternative of running on either purchased fuel oil or going back to coal. Some smoke etc yes, but you'd get that with a steam train no matter what you run it on, and their testing found no real reason not to use waste oil to fire the boiler in terms of emissions. Some differences in the actual emissions, but nothing to really worry about as such plus some safety benefits when compared to coal due to (1) no risk of sparks sparks or embers which could start a fire given that the train track is on a route mostly surrounded by forest and (2) safer for the workers not having to manually shovel coal into the boiler.

Waste oil is also quite commonly used (in workshops etc) to fire heating systems. They're just a burner and hot air blower used to heat the workshop. There are commercially available heaters intended to be used this way an they burn cleanly at least in terms of not having visible smoke coming out the flue.

In the past waste oil often ended up in factory boilers or, most significantly in Tas, at the Bell Bay power station (a 2 x 120MW steam turbine plant with oil-fired boilers, no longer in operation). The only real known issue is that, unfortunately, PCB contaminated oils from electrical transformers did end up being burnt and nobody's really certain how effectively the combustion actually was. So it's plausible that some unburnt PCB's went up the stack which wouldn't be good. No certainty, but it's plausible. No doubt much the same would have happened elsewhere in the past. I'm not sure exactly when that practice stopped, but Bell Bay last fired oil in 2003 and hasn't run at all (decommissioned) since 2009 (using gas 2003-09).

Running diesels on alternative fuels has always been around as an idea, often done illegally. Jet fuel, heating oil, industrial diesel - the incentive there was basically tax evasion. And I spotted a truck obviously running on used cooking oil a few weeks ago - just had to smell the fumes to know that's what they are running it on.
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Re: Sump oil fuel

Postby dax » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:56 am

Been running all my diesel engines on waste veggie oil for decades, investigated using sump oil and even tried it in 2 cylinder kuboto. Filtering and using it is a trial, everything turns to black and you have to contend with the amount of chemicals in these products, along with the waste from the engine. What come out of the exhaust is not nice at all, so use my old sump oil for treating timber posts and it keeps the white ants out really well. You have to let the post soak for a couple of days and then sit it above ground for another few days, then it's ready to use and the oil doesn't seem to leach out.

If we produced seed oils for diesel instead of fossil oils, we could reduce the cost of transport and heavy fuels dramatically, as well as keep our money in the country, provide jobs and secure our fuel future, Until we can produce electric heavy vehicles.

You can produce all the commodities derived from fossil oils, from seed oils and seed oils are different to plant based food oils and most produce way more oil than what the food industry uses.
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