Friday, April 24, 2009

2nd Desert Biofuels Workshop and DPFs: an update

[Boy, say something in public and they want to hold you to it... Sheesh!]

We just had a fantastic 2nd Desert Biofuels Initiative Workshop at ASU SkySong; about 150 in attendance, and just a great energy and buzz during the 3 hours from 9a to 12p (plus post-workshop pizza lunch: score! Huge shout-out to Dan Rees and AZ Biodiesel for paying the pizza man).

Brad did an unbelievable job in organizing and playing emcee. The format was a series of fast-paced 5 minute "update" presentations, including many who presented last year, and some new faces. A webpage with the slides from today's event is already online.

I limited myself to some (mostly) extemporaneous remarks, and started by asking: "how many of you drove here today using biofuel?" As you might guess, even among this self-selected and highly motivated group, I would (generously) estimate a dozen hands went up.

When I got home I wrote up and expanded on my thoughts, put them into PowerPoint, and they're now also online. Kind of like a mulligan. Cool.

But it was my closing comment that got the most attention of my talk: I mentioned the ongoing issue with diesel particulate filters, which are being used in newer passenger vehicles with diesel engines. After expressing new-found respect, and even empathy, for the engine manufacturers, I noted that anyone who is running biodiesel in these newer engines should be aware that in-cylinder injection of fuel in a post-combustion process can experience problems, like oil dilution, high and/or premature wear, etc.

I summed up with something like: what are we going to do if we finally get widely available biodiesel, and then don't have any new vehicles that are compatible with it?

I've blogged about this issue previously, and I had several people approach me at the break to ask me about it, and later received a phone call of disapprobation from a prominent local biodiesel advocate.

I think I've been about as public an advocate of biodiesel as most people can be, without being a public figure, so I want to clarify that I'm talking about a very specific technical, but real, problem with newer engines and their biodiesel compatibility.

More on the "post-combustion" issue here:

1 comment:

Klaus said...

First of all: A great event. A great format. I really enjoyed it. With the 5min "speed dating" approach, you were able to fit the content of a 2-day conference into just a few hours.
... and thanks for the Pizza to Dan.