The beauty of propane is that it last a long-long time in a tank. If the tank was clean and dry when filled it will last years. The beauty of a diesel generator is the fuel will lubricate the upper cylinder area and the engines will last for many years. Fuel oil goes skanky though, and won't last as long as propane.
We just pulled out 2 - 10,000 gallon oil tanks at work (alternate fuel source for heating) and replaced them with a 12,000 propane tank filled to 80% (9600 gallons) @ $1.58 a gallon. The price for a tanker load of propane has gone from $1.40 to $1.58 a gallon in 3 weeks. Ouch...
The alternate fuel source is to qualify for the interuptable natural gas rates from our supplier. We didn't get "interupted" very often and had to burn up the oil just to keep it from going south on us. We swapped out the gas/ oil boilers for 3- 3,000,000 btu Aerco high efficiency boilers that run on natural gas or propane that is run through a propane air mixer to make it the same specific gravity as natural gas. The propane, if we don't use it, will still be good after many- many years. The fuel oil (#2 diesel) would not last that long. Microbes start to break down the oil after a while and it plugs things up and you can also have problems with condensation in the storage tank.
You don't have condensation problems with a propane tank. The tank we just installed was used - made in 1959 and is an uderground tank to boot.
If you get a gasoline gen-set, you can put an auxillary propane carb on it and have a dual fuel option.
If you heat your house with fuel oil (ouch again) you can use the same tank for your gen set and have fresh fuel.
Of course oif you live where you don't have to heat you house then...
Propane should remain full strength indefinately. The problem with long term storage is the seals, hoses or valves on the tanks might decay and allow the tanks to leak and the tanks themselves are supposed to be pressure tested and re-certified every few years. Of course, you get less work out of a gallon of propane than you do a gallon of gas or diesel. Someone else may know the specific fraction here, I think it was a gallon and a half of propane does the work of a gallon of gas. Diesel can be preserved with the same additives as gas or you might find a diesel specific product. Either way I recommend a premium product and I find those manufactured for the marine industry to be of higher quality. When properly stored with a preservative, diesel may last at least twice as long as gas and I've heard as long as five years. I won't be getting a diesel generator until I have a diesel vehicle to run the stored fuel through when it starts getting stale. The good news is Jeep already has a diesel JK (Wrangler) and should be releasing it in the U.S. next year.
This is a bit OT but has anyone here run a residential size refrigerator/freezer off of propane rather than electricity? What's the usage rate like? Is this practical only in a camper with a tiny fridge and frequent propane refills or is it practical in a house where other utilities - wall furnace, water heater, stove, etc. are already on propane?
I would think propane would last indefinately. Diesel, though, I ain't so sure about.
I bought a Mercedes 240D car a number of years back. The car had a near full tank of diesel when I bought it. Had sat for several years with motor problems. I rebuilt the engine(diesel) and installed back in the car. Could not get the rebuilt engine to fire after getting it installed. Thought I had the injection timing wrong as the car would smoke, but not start.
Drained the fuel out(nearly 25 gallons!), and refilled with fresh diesel. Car fired right up with fresh fuel. The old fuel was clean, looked and smelled fine. I did notice that it was not too combustable, as I tried to light a red rag on fire that was soaked in the old diesel.
I don't know why the old fuel would have gone bad, and I've seen other machines set for years with full tanks of diesel and still start and run fine. I figure that the fuel was a lower grade to begin with and maybe just degrded over time(about 3 years as far as I could tell).
I know as a past diesel pickup owner that all brands of diesel are not created equal! Buying fuel from one place would yeild lower mileage than fuel bought from another store.
Well, some disapointing news from the factory guys on the Jeep discussion forums. Looks like the diesel JK will not be sold in the US before 2012. They've got a diesel in the Liberty in an attempt to boost sales in that less popular model, but since the JK Wranglers are flying off the lots as fast as they can deliver them, they've decided not to add to the line. On another note, I've heard locally about a jeeper who put a diesel engine in his older jeep. He is presently experimenting with an alternative fuel. He has driven over 600 miles on used transmission fluid as fuel. I don't know the particulars, but he says he's gotten the same mileage but it smokes a little more. He's got a repair shop and ends up with 500 gallons of used transmission fluid that he must pay to dispose of every month, but not any more if this experiment goes long term. He says the newer engines that are designed for low sulpher diesel won't run on transmission fluid but generators and other low tech diesel engines should work. I bring this up as a potential fuel source for long term survival that I, for one, had never considered before. Of course, it must be very carefully filtered, because shards of chewed up transmission would not do well in an engine. I'm also thinking it would be good to reopen the discussion from the old forum on Bug-Out vehicles, if anyone wants to get it started.
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