This is what carbon neutral transport looks like. My 2008 VW Touran 2.0 TDI (unmodified) filling up with locally made biodiesel. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil and in this case, waste cooking oil from restaurants. It is carbon neutral because the carbon it emits when combusted in absorbed when the plants used to produce it are grown. Biodiesel compatible engines can still run on regular diesel or a mix of both, it does not matter.
As a family, we grown a lot of our own food, harvest our own water, recycle 90% of our waste (including our sewerage) but in regards to our contribution to climate change we were still driving around on fossil fuels, something I desperately wanted to change. I considered an electric car but they are really expensive and the infrastructure for them is poor. Besides, one would have to power them on solar for it to make any difference. So I started looking into biodiesel and found a local company that made it and sell it (Skoon Biodiesel), important as I don’t quite have the time or inclination to make biodiesel at home (which is an option). I discovered that VW diesel engines prior to 2008 where good candidates and the Touran suited our needs as a family car. The caveat here is that you need an “old” car, and you also waiver any kind of maintenance plan, but at the end of the day it is still costing me less than a newish car of similar quality with a maintenance plan. It took a lot of research and a small amount of risk at the end of the day as there was no absolute reassurance that it would be problem free but I did my due diligence, read dozens are forums and found a local passionate mechanic who told me the 2008 Touran would be 100%. So far 3 months driving and no problems.
Now everytime I drive I savour the sweet smell of proactive climate change solutions and fried chips. Most of us have the means to take 90% responsibility for our part on climate change, it is just a matter of will and creativity at the end of the day.o actually be any different to a normal car
* Note: This is not a perfect solution because the canola/sunflowers used to create this fuel is grown in huge monocropped fields that are an environmental problem in ways too vast to go discuss in this post. But for now, this is the best solution.
Further Technical Details on engine suitability:
Around 2008 almost all diesel engines changed from a technology called PD (pump deuse) to Common Rail. This was in line with tighter emissions standards. So the fuel injectors were designed to use far less diesel by having much higher pressure. These high-pressure injectors are not suitable for biodiesel as it is more viscous than regular diesel. They also introduced the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) which goes at the end of the exhaust. It is a technology that captures soot from exhaust fumes in order to lower emissions. The DPF is also not compatible with biodiesel. That is the basic gist of it. There are many more technical details and some car brands are more suitable than others. VW diesel engines are the best candidates for passenger cars. With bakkies and 4×4’s, many of the old simple engines made between 1990 and 2008 are suitable. Happy to share more info with anyone interested.