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Transportation Earth Technology

155 MPH Biofuel Truck Breaks Speed Record 105

An anonymous reader writes "A team of students from Boise University recently shattered the world land speed record for biofuel vehicles by traveling 155 mph in a vegetable oil-powered pick-up truck dubbed the Greenspeed. To achieve the speed record the vehicle was upgraded with a compound-turbocharged 5.9 liter Cummins straight-six diesel engine that produces 700 horsepower, and it ran on an oil mix consisting of cottonseed and sunflower oil."
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155 MPH Biofuel Truck Breaks Speed Record

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  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:45PM (#38168824)

    Wait. No I don't. It's 2011, people, where's my hover conversion!?

    • by BigBlueOx ( 1201587 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:03PM (#38169008)
      It's close. Real close. Once the problem of eliminating the capacitive reluctance inside the hydrocoptic marzelvanes is solved (simply an engineering fix) control of the milford trunions will in the range of 90%. Any day now.
    • Re:I want one. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:18PM (#38169186)
      It is more of a So What. The BioFuel Truck can travel at 155MPH so what. That thing is puffing out carbon and smog there is no tomorrow . There isn't any words how many MilePerGallon. Yea yea you can regrow the plants and they will take the carbon back... But how much extra carbon will we produce to make the oil. How many Carbon Eating trees will we need to cut down to grow this material.

      Our Roads cannot handle 155MPH anyways. Even where there is no speed limit most people don't go that fast.
      • Re:I want one. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by migla ( 1099771 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:24PM (#38169236)

        And what about the burning of food stuffs in cars?!? That sounds totally insane, when there are people about that rather eat those sunflowers. It would be as crazy as if we based the entire economy on lying and greed!

        • You can make biodiesel from algae. I doubt that even starving Africans would have otherwise eaten those, and it doesn't use up any land that would otherwise be dedicated to foodstocks, either.

          • You can make biodiesel from algae.

            And you can make it with dirty water and get cleaner water out, or you can make it with saltwater. And the remnants from the process are useful as fertilizer, you compost them and turn them into soil.

      • It is more of a So What. The BioFuel Truck can travel at 155MPH so what.

        This is Boise, Idaho we're talking about.

        I'm just surprised the thing could make it past sixty what with the requisite naked woman silhouette mudflaps and beer keg in the back...

        • This is Boise, Idaho we're talking about.

          I'm just surprised the thing could make it past sixty what with the requisite naked woman silhouette mudflaps and beer keg in the back...

          I love it ... keep spreading those hick-stereotype memes, maybe it'll slow down the flood of California and Washington refugees that keep choosing to move to Boise. For the record, the last time I saw the silhouette mudflaps was in eastern Oregon farm country, about four years ago.
          But since we're on stereotypes: Last time I saw a slammed Chrysler 300 with 21" chrome rims and limo tint? Yesterday. I'd take the person with the mudflaps any day.
          So please -- carry on with anything you can do to convince the

          • Last time I saw a pair of those mudflaps was on Chinden and Glenwood about a month ago.

            But just relax, I was joking; Boise is actually a very nice place to live.

        • Don't bring these things to Alabama. The coal and junk trunks drive dangerously fast as it is.

          We also apparently have trouble with people here trying to eat these trucks.

          A typical warning [akamaihd.net]

          (Hope that link works. That's the first time I've ever posted a direct link to Facebook.)

      • It's a student competition. They exist to give students an opportunity to learn on "real" projects, not to create world changing technology. The only reason for biofuel at all is to create an extra challenge, and because "green" is popular.

      • It is more of a So What. The BioFuel Truck can travel at 155MPH so what.

        The thing that gets me is that 155MPH is easy. Almost any passenger car with over ~200HP will do 155MPH, or would if you took off the electronic limiter. I imagine you could beat it if you took a standard Audi A4 TDI 3.0 an put biodiesel in it. Or a VW Touareg TDI. And if not it would only be a result of the low redline and being gear limited by the transmission, so all you would have to do is replace the transmission with one that has a higher top gear.

        Top speed is way too easy in general. All you do is pu

        • 155mph is a good top end speed for a Dodge Ram.

          You are basically forced to use a heavy-duty truck if you want to do a high power diesel project like this in the US, unless you have the money to buy and mod up a recent BMW 335d.

          • But that's what I'm saying. You would barely even need to mod it up. Top speed is almost entirely a matter of horsepower overcoming air resistance. Using a pickup truck is pretty stupid because the aerodynamics are terrible, which requires you to have some unfathomable amount of power to overcome it. The 335D would be a good candidate, it's just expensive. And there are cheaper options. You can get a used VW Touareg V10 TDI with 310HP for around $20K. The aerodynamics aren't as good as the 335D, but they're

    • You don't want a hovercar.

      Or more accurately, you don't want a hovercar on the market. All the idiots that can't drive in 2D will be flying around in 3D.

    • Here [s-msn.com] you [britishpathe.com] go. [britishpathe.com]

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:47PM (#38168842)

    The fertiliser used to grow the plants was created using the Haber-Bosch process which uses lots of natural gas.
    The ploughing etc is all highly energy (oil) intensive.
    The processing an transport use existing oil reserves.

    Finally, the energy consumption of the vehicle increases with the square of the speed.

    • by AdamJS ( 2466928 )

      If it's a net improvement that allows for further improvements, particularly at semi-modular components in the initial provisions, then it's a good start.

    • The EROEI of biodiesel fuels is around 3-3.5. Straight vegetable oil, like this, is higher because there is no conversion process. Also, the Haber-Bosch process does not consume natural gas, it consumes hydrogen, and in the past was a totally renewable processing using hydroelectricity and electrolysis systems. Now the economics are different. Also, energy consumption doesn't matter in the end, only emissions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lobiusmoop ( 305328 )

        Also, the Haber-Bosch process does not consume natural gas, it consumes hydrogen...

        Was going to mod, but have to reply to this.

        From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber_process [wikipedia.org]:

        By far the major source of the hydrogen required for the Haber-Bosch process is methane from natural gas.

      • The EROEI of biodiesel fuels is around 3-3.5.

        fannn tastic, So.. about 1/3 of the population/ national GDP will be involved in production, sounds fabulous.

        Also, the Haber-Bosch process does not consume natural gas, it consumes hydrogen

        And the hydrogen on most plants comes from?????? .......

        Also, energy consumption doesn't matter in the end, only emissions.

        Yeah....... Tell that to the 2 billion starving to death as biofuels 3:1 EROEI ratio drives food inflation to the point they can't afford to eat. I foresee a touch of political instability.

        • All very true. Not a very good system at all. In the global scheme I would prefer photovoltaic solar panels with an EROEI of 20 and much higher efficiency, etc. I was merely stating that the system has EROEI.
      • by dbialac ( 320955 )

        Then add on the fact that both the transportation processes and the farm equipment can all run on biodiesel. I love how people try to distract us from the benefits of biofuels by pointing out dirty processes that are easily changed into clean ones.

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      Finally, the energy consumption of the vehicle increases with the square of the speed.

      Energy consumption per second that is. However since the speed is going up, the increase in energy consumption per distance travelled is linear.

      • If you're going 100 MPH you use 10,000 mystery energy units.
        If you're going 200 MPH you use 40,000 mystery energy units.

        Over the same hour, you get one mile per 100 mystery energy units for 100MPH, and at 200MPH you get 1 mile for 200 mystery energy units. Thus, your efficency is halved by doubling your speed.

        Square doesn't equal double.

        The majority of the increased energy loss is due to rising air resistance as your speed increases. This is why you consume less gas traveling the same distance at 55mph vs 7

  • ...compared to an electric vehicle [inhabitat.com]. I'd be more much interested if it could travel 155 Miles on a gallon of biofuel.
  • Biofuel burns YOU!

  • They may have broken the record for biodiesel, but they are a far cry from the record for biofuels in general. One example is the Bentley Continental, which is a production car and has a top speed of 198MPH. It's a flex fuel vehicle.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fozzydabear ( 2496934 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:56PM (#38168940)
    So someone put a huge, guzzling turbo diesel into a truck to get it to go 155mph using vegetable oil which has the same carbon chain length as diesel except three of them are bonded as a triglyceride. Vegetable oil being a niche fuel and will never be able to scale up as a serious fossil fuel replacement. What a useless demonstration.
    • But this does give good visibility to the concept of alternative fuels. It's not just some hippie in his diesel VW bus anymore, it's a truck with a higher top speed than a Dodge Ram SRT-10.

    • Long time /. reader here.
      This is cool news... just because!
      I own a 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 with one of those 5.9 Cummins engines (CTD = Cummins Turbo Diesel).

      Mine has the legendary Bosch "P-Pump".
      These engines last over a million miles with proper maintenance.
      The only electrical thing in those engines are:::
      Fuel Solenoid (cuts off electricity = cuts off fuel = engine dies)

      I freaking love my truck.
      I constantly get around 19-20 mpg.
      Love the sound, love the turbo whine.

      Oh, and did I mention that I run it on

      • Do you have difficulty getting the oil from restaurants?
        • Usually no.

          I don't go up to big chains like McDonald's, as they're set with their service contracts... plus the oil is already in the pick-up company's container (so it is at that moment, their oil... not mine, nor McDonald's).

          Yet small restaurants, Chinese food places, etc., they're all super cool.
          They're all like "um.. yeah. Sure!"

          I always pick-up the oil in the "carboys", those square containers (5 gal).

          If you're thinking about it, GO FOR IT!
          And I can't say enough about the WVO Designs' centrifuge.
          That t

      • I ran my old Citroen CX 25DTR with its 2.5 litre turbodiesel on veg oil. Since it ran so clean compared to burning dead dinosaurs I could drastically increase the fuelling and boost without getting significant smoke. I kept it around 18psi boost, which gave it about 160bhp at 2400rpm and 300lb/ft torque at 1700rpm - I managed 400lb/ft but 22psi of boost is getting unhealthy ;-)

        At the 18psi settings, I managed to do 0-60mph in 13 seconds - pulling a Chevy Blazer on a trailer.

  • ... there are people starving in Africa.

    Food is meant for eating, not for driving cars!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Creator ( 4611 )

      Food cannot stop starvation in a growing population, only family planning can do that. Family planning comes with education.

      Trying to stop starvation with food is like trying to put out a fire with fuel.

      • At present there is no shortage of food, there's excesses in some areas and shortages in others. If the distribution system was better there would be no starvation.

        However, if we start burning food for fuel that could very well change. And quickly.

      • That and getting the idiots at the Vatican to saying that condoms/the pill are OK for population control.

      • That's halfway insightful. The instinct to breed is way stronger than anything you can accomplish with education though. If not for abortion and birth control, we'd have out of control population growth.
    • by tyrione ( 134248 )

      ... there are people starving in Africa. Food is meant for eating, not for driving cars! http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm [worldhunger.org]

      Horse crap. Biomass from post consumption is now being turned into Bio Fuel. Do some research first.

      • by tp1024 ( 2409684 )
        140mio tons of maize are being turned into ethanol in the USA alone. That's a quarter of the world maize production. Last year the world was supposedly in shock when Russia had the worst drought in 100 years or so and wheat production fell short by 10mio tons. (Yes, maize is not wheat, but the shortfall of the drought is still negligible in comparison to the amount of food burned.)
        • You say that like the Distiller's Dried Grain left over from making the EtOH isn't an outrageously good cattle feed, or for that matter the press-cake left over from oil extraction is still useful as feed as well. The other thing your forgetting is the majority of corn grown is for animal consumption not human.

    • You don't have to waste potential food, or lands on which such can be grown, for bio-fuel - if done right. The problem today is that it's done cheap rather than right, and, of course, it's easier to just use existing agricultural land and existing food stocks and processes to deal with them - if the resulting fuel is worth more than food would have been, fuel is what'll be made. The wonders of free market capitalism.

  • by Dr. Tom ( 23206 )
    MPH is fine but MPG?
  • Bio-fuel monster truck car crushers!
    Those bastards!

  • I wonder what kind of fertilizers, insecticides and defoliants were used to grow the cotton and sunflowers......

  • hard way and longest way (probably more than 1 year) #day 1: buy a pickup #day 2 to day 300: take one year or more to make it go at these speeds, dealing with aerodynamics, mechanical parts, supercharging the motor etc. easy way and fast way (3 days) #day 1:buy a aerodynamic eficient disel car with a lot of power like a bmw 635d, remove the electronic speed limit (it's limited to 155mph), buy some B100 biodisel #day 2: drive to the desert #day 3: beat the speed limit
  • The BWM 335d is capable of running on BioDiesel (although you risk oil contamination) and with regular diesel will reach 175+ MPH.
    • In the USA the 335d is limited to 130mph. Even if unlimited, I really doubt it would hit 175 with stock output and gearing, BMWs site quotes 150 as the ultimate limit.

      265hp is no more than average amongst 6 cylinder sedans these days. Amusing to see the factory weight of 3850 pounds... my goodness are modern cars obese. :(

  • by Isaac Remuant ( 1891806 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:55PM (#38169640)

    /Grumpy face. (I don't like to complain but... )

    How many countries use mp/h and how many km/h? Would it kill them to write the conversion in the article/summary? Just for inclusion sake?

    • Might I suggest you start a new web sight.

      /, might be good name for the euro trash version.

      • Canada isn't in Europe, but uses kph
        England is in Europe, but still uses mph.

      • Actually, I live in an American country but, judging by the quality of your comment, you wont understand what that means.

      • web sight

        For all the talk of "euro trash", you could at least have paid attention to your English. I bet most "euro trash" in the comments know it better than you do.

        Oh, and the proper name for a European Slashdot would be Dashcomma.

        • Any successor to Slashdot should think of "The Colon" as the first option, as it is what you get after you slash the dot in two :)

  • So? How much faster or slower it would be with ordinary Diesel?
    Pfff.... looks like an retarded article or even an retarded attempt for a "record".

  • No one on Slashdot could possibly care, but that would be Boise State University, the one with the blue astro turf and a top 10 foot ball rating----just saying...

  • Why is the speed so low with so much power available? Is it poor aerodynamics or is there something else that explains it?

  • It's already been done. We know it works, it's just pointless. Why not team with a company like Solazyme and get biofuel that's actually being produced from algae (no plowing fields, I'm not going into how many ways it's green, but it is) and provide some real world numbers. Like this:

    The Cummins 12-valve was available as the diesel engine option in the Dodge Ram for a lot of years, with newer versions being used after 98, and even newer versions in use since 2008. One advantage to diesel engines is they ha

  • Wow little did I know I was withing spitting distance of the World record on the Autobahn with a Passat TDI using biodiesel from a standard gas station. This is a weak record. The taureg v10 can do 230kph stock with bio diesel. And the Baja racing v12 with !!6X!! as much Horse power and half the weight of the standard edition (and 200% the horsepower of this 'record winner') would crush this record.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus