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success with waste vegetable oil  RSS feed

 
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my opinion is that making biodiesel is not cost efficient, time efficient or safety efficient. we have run over 200k miles combined on our old mercedes and ford p/u. been doing straight veg oil for nine or so years. summer and winter, and have saved over 20k dollars on fuel during that time. have had no trouble finding waste oil at restaurants in or around lawrence, ks. for me it's a hobby that pays me about 75dollars/hour for my time collecting and filtering. our engines have not been ruined as some mechanics told us would happen. they are singing along as when we bought them and use no more motor oil than the usual for old engines. i use a bypass oil filter on the 96ford250 and have not changed oil in over 120k miles of using wvo. still waiting for engine to "be ruined". i did simple conversions from free info off of internet. cost about 300 dollars. i would use wvo to heat our house but have fallen in love with our rocket mass heater. needless to say, i recommend using straight veggie oil to run your diesel powered vehicle. if you don't have one get one cheap and do it. if you want to save a lot of money and have fun with a very interesting pursuit, do it. although i do not personally beleive in the global warming scam, wvo is also a zero carbon footprint.
 
michael carman
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b/t/w we recently pulled a 35 foot fifth wheel to california and back (lawrence, ks). we did this on less than 5 gallons of diesel fuel, so somewhere around 1000 miles per gallon. that's one thousand miles per gallon of diesel fuel. the rest was free waste veggie oil we collected from restaurants on the way to calif. (daughter's wedding) and on the way back. the fancy prius people can't say that, and we paid less than half the price of a new prius for our p/u. you can do it to
 
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Location: North Idaho at 975m elevation on steep western slope, 60cm annual precipitation, zone 4
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Could you provide some links that you found useful for the conversion? It's awesome what you are doing and I'm very interested.
 
pollinator
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Before investing in conversions or refining equipment, keep in mind that in some markets much of the available used vegetable oil is being purchased under contract by large biodiesel refiners (Washakie Renewable Energy is very aggressive here in Northern Utah), so you may have trouble locking in a steady source and you may have to pay for it. Do your homework before committing.

Large refiners have an advantage in that they can tie into the carbon credits market (such as it is), they can market their product to corporations and institutions that are mandated to increase use of renewables, and they have investors that provide them cash reserves that can be used to lock up the supply of waste cooking oil and grease. I am afraid that it is a trend that will continue to grow into markets throughout the country.
 
michael carman
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my experience is that if you tell the restaurant people what you're doing most will be happy and proud to have helped you with free oil. this is my experience over the last 10 years or so in my immediate area (lawrence, ks) and traveling across the western usa from our area all the way to california. one restaurant owner chose to give us his used oil even though he said some company offered him money for it. he has a "darling" oil "dumpster" in the back, but he saves all his oil (2 restaurants) for us before it goes into the dumpster. there will always be naysayers who don't even think you can safely use veg oil in your diesel. they say it will ruin your engine. some are even expert diesel mechanics. someone will always tell you why you can't or shouldn't or probably it won't work or times have changed or after all there's too much competition and you're just a "little guy". i'm 70 years old and have heard this kind of talk most of my life. for a long time i've heard that you just can't find used oil any more because of this or that reason or it's unlikely you will find it or the big companies are buying it all up for dog food or whatever. there's always a story. obviously before anyone invests time and money (small amount), they are going to check things out first. with absolutely any new venture. my experience across a wide area of the country and over a long time up untill now is that anybody who tells what they are doing with the oil and has a good demeanor and doesn't leave a mess (even leaves things cleaner than before they picked up the oil) is always ( did i say always) going to be able to find veggie oil for their vehicle. it's true maybe everyone may not be able to find used oil to recycle, but isn't it true that their are some people who will always find a reason to fail or give up too early. people like myself are NOW doing this all across the country and have been doing it for a long time. someone will always be negative as to how it might not work in some way, but have they met with restaurant owners or managers themselves and tried or have they just read that this is hard to do or not a likely prospect or things are going to get harder or etc etc. it is my experience that getting oil is not that hard. if you go to macdonalds etc you might have problems. so don't go there. go to the restaurants where the real owners are around. being friendly and real is worth a lot nowadays (and always). the large refiner guys have always been going to get all the used oil so i have heard. but the restaurant owner owns the oil, not the big refiner guys. they just want to buy it from the owner of the oil. you would think that the refiner would surely "win" over the little guy. especially if the little guy isn't going to pay for it. of couse this is sometimes true. but not always. not always. i'm already being told that i'm crazy to run veggie oil because now fuel is so "cheap". so you can listen to your stories. first you just couldn't or shouldn't run straight veg oil in your car or truck. then well you just can't find the oil to use. you know the "big" guys are getting it all. or, well you used to be able to get used oil, but times have changed. and on and on. as i said people in the "know" have been telling me i can't do it for some reason or another here in kansas or in california or wherever. meanwhile i guess i was just lucky and have saved over twenty thousand dollars on fuel over the past 9 years. it's because of where i live. other places, the "big guys" are in control. i'm just lucky. anybody reading this check it out of course, but if you are persistent and personable you can beat the big guys. it seems nobody likes the "big guys" anyway. including restaurant owners.
 
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As we all know, biofuels are made from unused cooking oil(also known as grease). Their are many benefits of using biodiesel to power various manners of our respective lives. One common argument against the use of biofuels is that they are expensive to produce and that they are worse for the environment than standard oil. Although I understand this argument from biofuel critics, there is nothing further from the truth. In fact, the use of biofuels is actually more cost effective and there is no evidence to support the latter. Biofuels emit less harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and do not need as much maintenance in comparison to regular standard oil. The production of biofuels is especially financially friendly to consumers. To put this into perspective, this means that your car would not have as many mechanical breakdowns while bettering the health of others and the environment.

However, if you plan to collect your unused cooking oil to be used as biofuel,be sure to move the oil collection process indoors. Most recently, there has been an increase of injuries on the job and theft. By adopting the correct measures, you will be preventing workers’ compensation claims and lost property.
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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Dylan Moskowitz wrote: As we all know, biofuels are made from unused cooking oil(also known as grease). 



No, actually that is only ONE form of "biofuel".  "Biofuel" is any fuel made from biological materials (plants, etc.)  Ethanol is VERY common biofuel and it's not made from oil, but rather from sugars, starches, cellulose, etc.

Ethanol is usually the biofuel they complain about because numerous studies have shown that making ethanol from corn uses MORE petroleum to grow and process the corn than the amount of petroleum offset by the resulting ethanol.

Ethanol is a huge boondoggle the way it's currently produced in the USA.  We would be better off (less pollution and less petroleum consumed) if we stopped producing/using ethanol.

FWIW there are ways to produce ethanol that are far better than the ways it is currently produced, however they are more expensive so not widely used.

The second, more important, problem with biofuels is that any land used to grow biofuel can't grow food.  In the USA we use a LOT of petroleum and we can't grow enough plants, etc. to produce enough biofuels to completely offset our petroleum consumption.  I did the calculations a few years back and came to the conclusion that if we used ALL of the arable land in the USA to grow biofuels (and therefor couldn't grow ANY food) we could offset less than 1/4 of the petroleum we use.

However, the news isn't all bad.  There is a lot of land in the USA that isn't suitable for growing food that might be suitable for growing biofuel.
 
master steward
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