Recently, my family has been considering going veggie at the pump. We are thinking we can help a few restaurants in our neighborhood by providing waste management for their used veggie oil!
At Greasecar you can learn all about running vehicles on vegetable oil. In their classifieds you can pick up a used diesel vehicle that is already converted or, if you are mechanically inclined, you can buy a kit and convert an existing diesel engine to SVO/WVO (straight veggie oil-made from crops- or waste veggie oil-used oil from restaurants) yourself.
It’s a pretty simple process you can do in your garage and once its done, all you have to do is filter the oil, and you can run your diesel vehicle FOR FREE on recycled fuel. In these times, when many are trying to get off the crude, this is a viable alternative. Most restaurants are happy to give you their used oil because they often have to pay for disposal.
There is some mixed information and controversy out there regarding SVO, WVO, and bio-diesel emissions. Greasecar maintains that using SVO/WVO that has been filtered is still better for the environment than straight diesel or gasoline. On their site they address this:
There is no sulfur content in vegetable oil which eliminates the first major carcinogen associated with diesel fuel. Vegetable oil plants absorb more carbon dioxide from the air during their growing cycle than is released when the oil is burned, this means that vegetable oil does not produce excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (this is referred to as carbon neutral). Due to a slightly cooler burn some studies have shown NOX reductions when burning vegetable oil. More studies are underway and results will vary depending on engine and tuning. As a sulfur free, bio-mass fuel vegetable oil emissions are less harmful to the environment and less toxic to people and animals.
There are some veggie systems that allow you to just pour oil right into the car with simple or minimal filtration, but this is ill advised, as it usually does harm to the engine and shortens the lifespan of the vehicle. Using dirty fuel can also increase emission output. Filtering the oil is a bit labour intensive, but to ensure smooth travels, it is worthwhile. Greasecar offers home and on-board filtration kits, depending on what is most convenient, and their motto is “FILTER, FILTER, FILTER.” The cleaner the fuel, the cleaner it burns and the longer your vehicle lasts.
The guys at Greasecar are very knowledgeable and helpful with any questions you may have. Business is booming for these alternative energy systems right now. There may be a bit of expense up front to get your vehicle up and running, but to avoid paying $4.59 a gallon, or anything for that matter, is worth investigation. You may smell like a french fry, but you’re smiling all the way to the bank, and maybe even minimizing that carbon footprint a little bit.