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success with waste vegetable oil  RSS feed

 
michael carman
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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
 
M.R.J. Smith
Posts: 73
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.
 
michael carman
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well mrsmith, i'm glad you are interested. however mr biden i just read said oil prices (gasoline) would be cheap for many years. so if you beleive the gov ( he is after all vice president of the usa) maybe this veg oil thing would be a waste of time. anyway, i would use it even if diesel fuel went to 50cents a gallon (actually it was cheaper than that when i was in high school). after all i burn straight wvo and it's free except for some filter costs. i use whole house water filters. to your question no i don't know any specific sites any more. it'
it's been 9or10 years since we switched. the guy who helped me totally on line was dana linscott he was more than helpful. there are many sites that will tell you how to convert. it is just providing a way to heat a separate tank of veg oil using hot antifreeze and a switch to go back and forth from veg to diesel (diesel to start vehicle). of course in hot weather this is easier than in our cold winters, but it is easy any time once you get used to it. if i were getting into it now i would buy an old vw or mercedes already converted. then become an expert on your system. then build your own system or not. it does not take a genius or i would not have been able to be doing this for so long. i have done two conversions. and purchased two vehicles already done. we now have an 81mercedes 240d 4cyl it gets 40mpg on veg or diesel and of course the equivalent of typically 100 to 1000 miles per gallon depending on how long the trip is, etc. also 96ford250 7.3l it gets 18to20 on diesel fuel or oodles and gobs of mpg on veg. just study someones plans and know what you are doing then buy parts on line ebay etc and put it all together. i bought an 86vw in portland for 3000 dollars all converted. he had put a 20gal tank in trunk and filled it w/ veg oil for me and i drove it 2000 miles home w/o any gas stations. trust me you can do it. if you have any specific questions then ask. if you lived close i would come and help.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
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
Posts: 47
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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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