| Sustainable energy News - No. 8 March 1995 |
The most prominent example of the utilization of alternative fuel sources at the Folkecenter for Renewable Energy is found in a car bearing the license plate "Okobil 1" (Eco Car 1). Under the bonnet there is an engine that is fuelled and driven by rapeseed oil. In the workshop at Folkecenter, there is a recently purchased oil press from Sweden that extracts oil from the rapeseed.
The rapeseed is put into a big funnel. An auger brings the rapeseed into a warmed-up perforated tube. Through the perforations, the oil drops into a bucket, and the dry rape comes out as a thin sausage from the end of the press.
The utilization of rapeseed oil as fuel is harmless to the environment and the rape cake which is the by-product of the oil extraction is useful as well. The rape cake is suitable for animal feed, and besides, it can be used as an addition in biogas plants.
The oil press is expected to be able to produce about 25-30 litres of oil per hour. In the long term, there is great potential for using rapeseed oil for engines in the agricultural sector, where the farmers can make their fuel from the rape-fields.
Rape seeds are poured into the oil press. The rapeseed oil is collected in the white bucket and the rape cake into the black one. Once a farmer gets this plant installed on his farm, he can produce his own fuel for the tractor and the combine harvester. The rape cake can be used as feed.
Plant Oil Car
The rapeseed oil test car of Folkecenter is driving around on the roads like any other car. It runs for about 25 km per liter of rapeseed oil and the engine works by the same principles as does a diesel engine.
It has to be emphasized that the product of rapeseed oil has nothing to do with big-diesel (Rapeseed Oil Methylester, RME). Bio-diesel undergoes a chemical process in which the fuel is adapted to the engine. We take the opposite approach and adapt the engine to the fuel. Our approach is a better solution because it results in a fuel that is far less toxic than bio-diesel, which is almost as toxic as diesel fuel.
Since the energy crisis affected the everyday life of everybody, many successful attempts have been made to reduce the total energy consumption. One sector has continued the old way: the transportation sector, - the car producers simply have not been aware of the problem.
The German engineer Elsbett, who has developed the rapeseed-driven engine, could not get support for his ideas at the company at which he was employed. He therefore decided to construct it himself. The introduction of the rapeseed oil engine marks a very important step within the transportation sector towards utilization of bio energy.