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Thread: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasenergy

  1. #1
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    Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasenergy

    German engineer Alexander Noack spent a few days in Perth in June 2013 and WARFA (WA Renewable Fuels Association) members had several opportunities to meet with him and learn from his experience. The following is a summary of his presentation:


    Elsbett Technology in Germany were leaders in veggie oil technology from the late 1980's when they developed a multi fuel capable engine that eventually formed the basis of the Volkswagen Golf TDI. Elsbett intended for this engine to go into wide production, but Volkswagen declined to develop the dual fuel capacity so Elsbett continued the development of their engine alone.

    They bought new vehicles, Volkswagen and Mercedes sedans, and replaced the new OEM engine with their multi fuel motor. Many examples of this engine are still functioning in Europe.

    The company developed technology to enable veggie oil to be used in a wider range of engines with modifications such as refined nozzles, in addition to heat exchangers, filters, Magnetic valves, and ancillary equipment such as electronic changeover controllers. This allowed a wide range of direct and indirect injection engines to be modified to run effectively on veggie oil, both new and used.

    Germany also developed their oil seeds supply chain to include the availability of new canola at regular service station outlets.

    As computer controlled then common rail technologies became popular, the company faced the same challenges that we have as veggie users and asked questions like what are we dealing with? It looks really complicated and we don't want to muck things up!

    Having the advantage of two decades of R&D experience, competent professionals, money and time, they realised common rail was worth exploring; it wasn't going away.

    The result has been spectacular in that being able to access the Engine Control Unit (ECU or computer) directly has resulted in far greater control over the combustion process than was ever possible with mechanical systems. Alexander has just decommissioned his personal common rail diesel after 400,000km of travel. The engine is fine, the body has rusted from the salt on the roads. His vehicle is not alone, and the company provides kits and ECU re-mapping for a wide variety of vehicles. The most developed have been Bosch ECU systems that allow easy flashing. Toyota and Nissan in Australia tend to use Denso ECU which are more difficult to flash.

    During Alexander's visit, I introduced him to Graeme Bentink of GTurbo fame. Graeme re-engineers Toyota and Nissan turbochargers and is revolutionising the driving experience for these vehicles worldwide. He uses a Unichip, which has potential for Alexander to develop into an effective tool for many common rail Australian 4WD owners. This is something to watch.

    Three years ago the German government introduced taxes on new veggie oil users that raised the price of new oil to be similar to diesel. Elsbett's backers walked away. The company closed. Alexander has taken on the further development of kits under his own company name ANC and sells them under the Greasenergy name.

    Indirect, Direct and Common Rail - what does it mean for veggie use?

    Indirect Injection refers to the style of head in the diesel engines that contain a pre-combustion chamber. As the piston rises, it compresses the air inside this small chamber, creating super-hot air under high pressure. The injector spurts fuel into the chamber, and the expanding air rushes out of the chamber and onto the flat top of the piston - pushing it down. IDI engines are well suited to veggie oil as any small amounts of unburnt fuel stay in the pre-combustion chamber to be burnt next time, or expelled as smoke. The injector tip is a self clearing pintle type nozzle that physically opens and closes each firing stroke, clearing any coking from the nozzle that may change the spray pattern. The fuel pump adjusts the amount of fuel simply by volume, the supply pressure remains the same.

    Elsbett’s redesigned nozzles are simply smoother inside and contain a better design to match the characteristics of veggie oil.

    One disadvantage of IDI, is the energy lost in the transfer of gasses from the pre-combustion chamber on to the top of the piston. Direct injection was developed to resolve this.

    Direct Injection.
    The injector on a direct injection motor protrudes down into a cup that is machined out of the top of the piston. As the piston rises, all the pressure builds inside this cup, the injector spurts a mist of fuel and the fuel burns quickly right into the best spot to force the piston down. Much more power is produced, they start easier, often without the need for glow plugs, and it is a more efficient system.

    The down side of DI for veggie use is that should any fuel remain unburnt, it may make it’s way to the walls of the cylinder, contaminate and foul the piston rings, and excessive quantities will make their way into the sump where it turns to a jelly, starving the engine of oil and quickly leading to a catastrophic failure.

    In addition, the injector nozzles contain multiple (five) small holes that mist the fuel at injection time. There is also often a small gallery inside the tiny tip and all these places can suffer from the buildup of the products of combustion, coking. This happens particularly at low and medium load as the nozzles are sized to provide maximum power, and under low and medium load conditions the injection pump only pushes smaller quantities of fuel through so coking - carbon buildup - is a common occurrence. We all know the benefits of a long run at high speed to our engines - it’s because this coking has been blown away.

    In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, direct injection engines started to have computers controlling basic functions such as timing advancement, and maintained their mechanical injectors. This provided increased performance and economy, but the real advancements were made when the injectors themselves became able to be controlled electronically and finely tuned control of the combustion process was possible.

    This was the start of common rail technology.

    In these systems, a high pressure fuel pump replaces the injection pump. It is much simpler and therefore cheaper to manufacture. They are strong devices that provide a regulated fuel supply of 30,000 psi ( 2000 bar). IDI and DI injection pumps provide much less pressure, with injector cracking pressures more like 3,000 psi (200 bar). The high pressure pump provides a small reservoir of fuel ready for the injectors to release. This fuel is in a rail or pipe that runs across the top of all the injectors, hence the term common rail.

    With the advent of high speed computers and the electronic injectors, precise amounts of fuel can be released from the rail multiple times per firing stroke. This is often 7 times per firing stroke, which gives incredible control over the combustion process, increasing power and economy, decreasing emissions and noisy engine knock and increasing the acceptance of diesel as a fuel to the regular consumer.

    So what does this mean for veggie oil?

    Alexander was confident in saying that an IDI could not be damaged internally by veggie oil. Direct injection is another matter, and coking of injector tips and rings can easily lead to engine failure if the injectors are not purged. The damage is done on cold starts when the fuel does not spray correctly and there is a high risk of unburnt fuel remaining in the combustion chamber.

    Common rail engines are also Direct Injection, so how come it can be okay to run a common rail on a single tank system? This was perplexing.

    For Alex, the introduction of common rail technology has opened the door for much greater control than ever before. With sensors on the air intake pressure from the turbocharger, the crank angle, the fuel pressure and temperature, air intake temperature, coolant temperature and other inputs, he can re-map - or finely tune - the way the engine runs. The map is simply the set of parameters and instructions that tell the injector to open, and for how long at any particular time. This set of software data can be overwritten in a process called ‘Flashing’, which is commonly used on many consumer electronics to upgrade systems.

    Once Alexander has the ECU, he installs the revised veggie map to suit the vehicle and returns the ECU to the owner for reinstallation. Owners can also re-flash their own vehicle if they have the equipment and the map is simply emailed to them. With a UniChip, it is feasible to change engine map settings and load them to the ECU with the vehicle running - a marvelous opportunity for real world optimisation.

    Alexander was not specific in what settings are used for cold starting a DI common rail engine on veggie oil, but he did say that precise control to avoid any excess fuel is the critical factor. Without excess fuel in the combustion chamber, coking is minimised. Coking is the enemy.

    The computer can be mapped to provide low volume and high pressure for a short time, creating a strong blast that will surely burn completely, but may need to be altered once the engine reaches operating temperature. The ECU re-mapping allows for all of this. His kits do include an all alloy heat exchanger, so the fuel is heated to aid flow through the systems, particularly the filters and ensures the high pressure pump receives good volumes of oil. There are many high pressure pumps that have been destroyed with inadequate fuel supply on diesel. They seem to be more robust on veggie due to the increased lubricity, another advantage of veggie over diesel!!

    In short, common rail technology is suited to single tank veggie oil conversions - as long as the ECU can be modified. If the ECU cannot be modified, it MAY be feasible to run a two tank system, but he expressed caution and there are no universal recommendations. Some IP’s, ECU, nozzles and high pressure systems are not suited to veggie use, some are. The ones with Bosch systems are much easier for Alexander to supply a new map and a kit for, Denso is less easy for the time being. This article is not meant to be a promo for GreasEnergy, so if you have a common rail engine you want to run on veggie oil, check his site and take it from there. If your engine is not listed on his site, contact him and ask.
    ANC ANC

    If he says your engine is not suited, do not take this as a challenge to prove him wrong, he knows what he is talking about! If he says he does not know, then assess the level of risk you are prepared to take and step ahead with informed caution. If he says yes, he has experience with successful conversion of your engine, you can assume the best. The market for veggie oil in Europe is far in excess of what we do here in Australia. The number of long haul trucks running on new oil is substantial, in the hundreds. The number of converted cars runs into the thousands. There is a legitimate confidence that comes from this experience.

    The issues we had previously been concerned about with common rail were all addressed in his talks. They all became minor in the end, but one thing rose to the top of the most important critical thing to achieve - fuel quality.

    This means that if you are looking at running veggie in a common rail, and these criteria are not bad to adopt for all conversions, then the fuel must be filtered to 1 micron and have no free water.

    Alex stated that the main fuel filter should not be required to do any work on final filtration of our fuels. If there is any sediment that settles out of a sample of your fuel, then it has not been adequately filtered. If you have to replace your fuel filter at any regular interval, on any vegetable oil powered diesel engine, then your home filtering is not up to scratch and must be improved.

    Obviously, if there is any free water, it must be removed. He urged caution about observing free water at ambient temperatures and reminded us that free water is released from oil when the temperature rises.

    Interestingly, oxidation of fuel was not a common problem he had to overcome. It is possible that the high quality of the new and used oils may protect users somewhat to the scourge of oxidation, but like many things about oxidation, we’re not always sure.

    Alexander appreciated the opportunity to see first hand the mix of our vehicle fleet and to see the types of injection systems commonly installed. This will all aid his ongoing R&D and eventually more Aussie common rail ECU’s will become able to be re-flashed.

    Whether or not you are in the market for a common rail vehicle, the increased awareness and knowledge imparted by Alexander was very valuable for all those who were able to attend.

    Tim
    Secretary WARFA
    WA Renewable Fuels Association
    Toyota Landcruiser 1988 HJ61 Manual Wagon
    12H-T turbo Direct Injection.
    Twin Tank setup runs on 100% WVO after warm up. 30 plate FPHE with 80°C output, 12mm fuel lines
    Start up and shut down electric fuel pump feeds IP direct.
    Front 4WDSytstems Lokka, Rear ARB airlokka for quick escapes up sandhills. Performance GTurbo with 600mm FMIC gives 450nm @ 1700rpm at 20psi boost.

  2. #2
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Hi Tim wished I could of been in Perth for that, Two things stand out for me that I would like some clarity on I was under the belief that coking was caused by low combustion temperatures not an excess of fuel may be both?, how does polymerisation of the different oils ( iodine value) effect this.
    The second point is the term common rail is a bit misleading as the real quantum leap is the alteration in injector build from the electro mechanical (by that i mean electricity energises a coil that lifts the injector needle off its seat and fuel is injected) to the stacked wafered piezoelectric crystals which require only electrical input a single function so much quicker. They had to increase rail pressure and could now control fuel type used by viscosity,increase the number of injections per stroke this gave rise to comparatively small engines delivering more power and torque these motors will be a challenge. a very good post thank you. andy

  3. #3
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Hi Andy,

    I will give a go at addressing your questions, but remember, this is a report of what I recalled from Alexanders talk - not things I deeply understand.

    First is coking. What I recall him saying was that all diesel engines will coke up on low load. He was talking mainly about gen sets and how they have problems with low and medium load running. A vehicle engine runs under a wide variety of load conditions all the time - unless parked up in the drive in theatre idling to keep the heater going and occupants warm, or other similar circumstances.

    The impact of coking with veggie is greater as the coke created by veggie is slightly sticky and does not break off/blow away as well as normal diesel.
    And if I recall, he did comment that different oils oxidative rate/polymerisation rate does make a difference to the coking. Lard for example, is likely to coke less than linseed oil, which oxidises so quickly no sensible person uses it in their engine.

    I think the take away points he was discussing about coking related more to the larger gensets, and in particular direct injection.
    His concern was the unburnt fuel in the early firing strokes of a direct injection. Partially burnt fuel will be sooty and turn into the harder coke - I imagine.

    Re the difference between electro mechanical and piezo, I agree. Alex spoke of these differences too. I didn't go into this detail in the article.

    Tim
    Toyota Landcruiser 1988 HJ61 Manual Wagon
    12H-T turbo Direct Injection.
    Twin Tank setup runs on 100% WVO after warm up. 30 plate FPHE with 80°C output, 12mm fuel lines
    Start up and shut down electric fuel pump feeds IP direct.
    Front 4WDSytstems Lokka, Rear ARB airlokka for quick escapes up sandhills. Performance GTurbo with 600mm FMIC gives 450nm @ 1700rpm at 20psi boost.

  4. #4
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Thanks Tim,
    Very well written and great reading.
    I had scrubbed the prospect of ever operating a DI engine on WVO, till now!
    Laurie

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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Tim

    Thankyou for posting this very imformative info. I really wish I could have been in WA to have a look see.

    Again thanks for posting. I enjoyed the read.

    Michael
    97 Jeep XJ Cherokee on B100. 0 km's on B100 and counting !!!! (Sold)
    2002 Merc ML270 now on B100. (Sold)
    2006 Ssangyong Musso 2.9 t idi (Sold)
    2015 NP300 Navara

    Stainless processor with blue water pump.

  6. #6
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    As a followup, Alex emailed me this morning and let me know that since his trip to Australia, he is adding to the range of kits he can supply to include several of the Holden branded vehicles, including the Cruze, Captiva, Epica, Astra, Gemini, Jackaroo, Rodea, Suburban and Colorado.

    Clicking on this link will take you to the Greasenergy site where the products are listed.

    Holden - Greasenergy


    Tim
    Last edited by Tim-HJ61; 6th July 2013 at 01:03 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Thanks Tim,

    I have sent him an email asking for details of the kit he has for suburbans - i am particularly interested to see what he does with the injectors and ECU

    Craig
    Holden Suburban K2500 1998 6.5L Turbo GM engine
    210,000KMs (90,000 on new crate motor)

    Currently 2 tanks in and working - 90 litre BIO tank and main tank of 160L WVO

    30 plate FPHE in Engine bay and Helton Dual coil in rear
    Walbro FRB-5 pusher pumps x 2

    50,000KM on Veg and 10,000Km on B100

  8. #8
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Ok I'm calling bulltish on this:

    The down side of DI for veggie use is that should any fuel remain unburnt, it may make it’s way to the walls of the cylinder, contaminate and foul the piston rings, and excessive quantities will make their way into the sump where it turns to a jelly, starving the engine of oil and quickly leading to a catastrophic failure.
    I wonder can anyone tell of any examples of oil "turning to jelly" and destroying engines.

    These kits cost the best part of $2K. That's how he justifies the cost - telling you that your engines might blow up if you don't.

    I've been running a Mazda BT50 and Merc OM613 on 50% WVO for several months now. I've just upped the Merc to 70% WVO and I'll be doing the same to the Mazda at the next refueul. I'm going to minimise coking by adding 5% low-octane petrol. I was running an OM603 on 90% WVO and 10% petrol for a while with no problems.

    Not sure how high I'll go with the WVO yet, but I'll keep you posted.

    There's a mob up in Balcatta that remap engines - I might have a chat to them and see what their experience with WVO is

  9. #9
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Mark many years ago I recall seeing photos of a direct injection engine from the UK that had a major catastrophe from not operating their veggie system correctly. I cannot recall if the 'turning to jelly' was part of this but have a feeling it was. Who knows what people do to their engines though misadventures or ignorance. I wouldn't dismiss the jelly story too quickly.

    I also have seen, touched and shown at a WARFA meeting, the piston of a 1HDT Landcruiser that had a good two tank system installed but the vehicle was lent to relatives who didn't do any correct purging. The rings were completely coked up and led to massive blowby and the owner stopped a run on just in the nick of time. And no, the engine was not old, in fact it was a newly rebuilt motor and the failure to run the two tank effectively was the direct and only cause of the engine failure. This was a DI motor.

    Running an indirect injection, which I believe the OM603 is, is no challenge whatsoever. Pretending that the same principles can be applied to a direct injection engine is foolish.

    If you are considering going to GTurbo in Balcatta to talk about veggie oil, I wouldn't waste your time. They are a diesel performance workshop who can double the output of your Landcruiser or Nissan with improvements in air supply and fuelling. They do remaps as part of that, but not unless you are purchasing their products such as turbos, intercoolers etc. The owner has messed with WVO in the past, but has no current R&D capacity to put into WVO. You may scoff at Alexanders products, but he is the leading expert on running common rail, including remapping so a DI can be run on a single tank.

    I'm interested to see how your 5% ULP is going to stop coking on the injector tips, which is the critical component on a DI running WVO.

    Tim
    Toyota Landcruiser 1988 HJ61 Manual Wagon
    12H-T turbo Direct Injection.
    Twin Tank setup runs on 100% WVO after warm up. 30 plate FPHE with 80°C output, 12mm fuel lines
    Start up and shut down electric fuel pump feeds IP direct.
    Front 4WDSytstems Lokka, Rear ARB airlokka for quick escapes up sandhills. Performance GTurbo with 600mm FMIC gives 450nm @ 1700rpm at 20psi boost.

  10. #10
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    Re: Common Rail and Veggie oil - Report on presentation by Alexander Noack of Greasen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mark View Post
    Ok I'm calling bulltish on this:


    I wonder can anyone tell of any examples of oil "turning to jelly" and destroying engines.

    These kits cost the best part of $2K. That's how he justifies the cost - telling you that your engines might blow up if you don't.

    I've been running a Mazda BT50 and Merc OM613 on 50% WVO for several months now. I've just upped the Merc to 70% WVO and I'll be doing the same to the Mazda at the next refueul. I'm going to minimise coking by adding 5% low-octane petrol. I was running an OM603 on 90% WVO and 10% petrol for a while with no problems.

    Not sure how high I'll go with the WVO yet, but I'll keep you posted.

    There's a mob up in Balcatta that remap engines - I might have a chat to them and see what their experience with WVO is
    Mark, been running on 100% veggie oil since the late 1970's, on both common rail di and idi engines. Have a diesel mechanic friend who uses veggie and his son has an 80's cruiser which he was running on vo, but being a young smart arse he failed to purge properly on a number of occasions and his engine lost power over time until one day it took off and went runaway, completely stuffing the engine.

    Upon pulling it down, the rings and bore were coated in a black emulsion and in the sump you could scrape of the emulsified oil. My di sahara ran on 100% vo for a couple of years after buying it and done close to 500000klms, so decided to rebuild it. When pulled apart it was spotless, nothing on the cylinders walls or pistons.

    Since the rebuilt it's done over 100000klms and has no problems, but I purge it for at least 12klms with BD or diesel, depending on where I am. Same with the bus, it runs an Isuzu di engine,which has traveled well over 200000klms that way and runs extremely well. Same with my other di engines, 671gm, backhoe, truck and now HD-T 80 series gxl cruiser. Have a idi 2h cruiser which has done close on 600000 klms, 400000klms of that on vo, been going to rebuild it for about a decade, but it runs so well, haven't bothered. About to sell it as got to many cars in the family, cruiser, 2 x 12ht sahara/cruisers and now an 80 series gxl.
    Last edited by Alga; 9th September 2017 at 10:42 AM.

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