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RV Processes Own Fuel on Cross-Country Trip

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-point-twenty-one-jiggawatts dept.

Hardware Hacking 165

An anonymous reader writes "Frybrid has realized the dream of Dr. Emmet Brown's Delorean: putting garbage directly into your vehicle, and have it be turned into directly into fuel. This past fall, Frybrid installed a system into a 40' luxury RV that sucked up waste vegetable oil from the back of restaurants, removed the water and filtered it, and then burned the dry and cleaned vegetable oil as fuel. The family drove their converted RV from Seattle to Rhode Island on $47 worth of diesel fuel. Plans are underway for a smaller version of the system to fit in the bed of a pickup truck."

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IF (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172232)

If it ever catches on. Veg oil will cost just as much as gasoline.

Already at many places you can't get it free anymore.

Re:IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172254)

Restaurant owners will rejoice. But, if the veg oil is cleaner and renewable then how is it going to be more/or as expensive as fossil fuels.

Re:IF (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172286)

simple, it has a smaller supply, once the demand goes up it'll most likely level off around the same level as the equivalent fossil fuels.

Re:IF (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172298)

Yea that may be true, but if it's *cleaner* it still costs less.

Re:IF (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172376)

Of course you're right, I think people will ultimately be amazed at how fast we burn stuff in our cars. Bio-diesel by itself will not replace fossil fuel, but sure will help.

Re:IF (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177836)

Restaurants will still need to buy the oil in the first place. It already sells for $10-50 for a 35 pound container depending on the type and quality. Even if they can sell it afterward, the price patrons of the food pay WILL go up as the cost of the oil goes up because the cost of doing business just went up with it. So yeah, owners can get more money out of the higher priced oil and piss off their customers a bit OR they can basically end up at a break even point (can't sell the used oil for more than the fresh stuff or people will just buy the fresh stuff) and keep their customers happy.

Re:IF (2, Funny)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172282)

Yep, and the news will always report the international market price for french fries per barrel.

Re:IF (1, Insightful)

D.A. Zollinger (549301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172740)

Thats just it, it will not catch on and prices will remain low, or at least mostly free.

As it is, Diesel is not a popular technology in the United States. Most consumers in northern states avoid it for fear of jelling in cold weather, and Diesel all-around has gotten a bad reputation for small vehicles. Consumers prefer Gasoline to Diesel. The only place where Diesel is strong is in the transportation industry as just about every transportation truck fleet is Diesel powered. Now, considering that consumer Diesel vehicles are a small market to begin with, Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) vehicles are an even smaller fraction of this market.

No commercial automobile manufacturer is going to make WVO an option, so any WVO vehicles on the road will be strictly conversions. The number of conversion kits will be limited to a select number of individuals who are either "in-the-know" or have been talked into making the change by someone who is familiar with the concept. I suspect that while numbers of WVO vehicles may fluctuate from year to year, after an initial rapid growth of the industry, the volume of WVO vehicles will plateau and stay maintained at several thousand. This of course assumes that early adopters do not cool to the idea and replace their WVO vehicles with non-WVO vehicles, causing a dip in overall WVO vehicles as other alternative fuel vehicles generate interest or fast food restaurants limit access to WVO for fear of litigation should their WVO cause damage to the vehicle.

While this is an interesting case study, and WVO vehicles generate interest, I doubt that the concept will take off, or that WVO vehicles will ever become "mainstream" despite their obvious draws.

I also question how biodiesel and federal regulations figures into all of this, and what impact biodiesel will have on WVO and vice versa. Will WVO be converted in bulk into commercial biodiesel thus creating a demand on WVO? Will new federal regulations concerning Diesel emission quality limit WVO conversions? As biodiesel moves dependence away from foreign oil toward domestic renewable fuel, will the price drop enough to make WVO conversions financially impractical?

No, this technology will be niche at best or dead in a decade at worst.

Re:IF (2, Interesting)

turtled (845180) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174282)

Although slow, personal use of diesel is gaining ground. Honda has the Diesel CR-V coming to the states in the next model year or 2.

Also, the more people talk about it, the more interest it will gather. Maybe not all people with diesels will convert, but it is more people aware of it. I have a close friend that I have helped him convert 2 diesels to run off of WVO. We live in the Chicagoland area. First was a 1985 K5 Blazer, the second is and he is currently driving, 2005 Chevy Silverado HD Duramax 2500 diesel. Has a secondary 45 gallon tank with coolant lines that run to it to keep the grease / WVO liquified. We have talked to local restaurants and they are fine with us taking the WVO.

The point is, the more people that talk about it, the more of a chance it will catch on. I would gladly pay someone to filter and store WVO in the winter time than fetching myself, so I would be willing to pay $.50 a gallon for WVO instead of the always higher than gasoline $2.89 diesel.

Also, think of the commercial industry...

Re:IF (4, Interesting)

timjdot (638909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174382)

Talked to a guy who owns some trash trucks and said in NY there was a vendor who processed the oil and added additives so it ran in the trucks WITHOUT modification. Sold for $1.04/gallon and guy said he was saving $300/month PER TRUCK. NY state government shut them down. Said antitrust law makes it illegal to sell for less with like 4 cents below the established price. E.g. legally it is illegal to sell vegetable oil for less than diesel in the state of NY. I'm sure this is the same sort of nonsense going on in all states.

Folks, the road to freedom is exactly like this article. Home power production. The aristocrats will continue to make competition illegal. Just take a look at how handily electric power was killed. Hobbyists in the mid-1990's were making cars which could go twice what Ford and GM were able to make. Surprise. Guess a garage is better than a lab! Not to mention the millions to billions of subsidies the country spends on oil and oil-related infrastructure rather than spending such on electric (induction charging stations, power rails, etc).

Technology in this country is presently eliminated by large corporations and the government who works for them. Only by innovations and a concerted citizen adoption and cooperation can innovation be reborn in the USA. The vege-diesel is going to be a big problem for the lawmakers who work for the MNC's because the technology works. People are driving around in trucks powered by vegetable oil. And, yes, saving money. It's a fact.

The government, at least in NY State, has outlawed this. What does that mean? Like Cubans are we under a regime who wants us to stay in the 1900's? Is this like so many science fiction novels where individuals are not allowed to excel. Yes. It exactly is. Soon, perhaps, the personal use of innovative technologies will be made illegal - for the corporate good of course.

TimJowers http://www.serviza.com/ [serviza.com] Fully Loaded Innovation. Power on and GO!

Re:IF (4, Informative)

Skynyrd (25155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176326)

As it is, Diesel is not a popular technology in the United States. Most consumers in northern states avoid it for fear of jelling in cold weather, and Diesel all-around has gotten a bad reputation for small vehicles. Consumers prefer Gasoline to Diesel. The only place where Diesel is strong is in the transportation industry as just about every transportation truck fleet is Diesel powered.

Too bad about the misinformed Northerners. Every place with cold weather that sells diesel fuel switches to "winter blend" when it gets cold. There's other technology to keep fuel from gelling as well.

The reason the diesel has a bad reputation falls squarely on the shoulders of GM, who converted their small block Chevy engine to run on diesel back in the 70's. To say it was a steaming pile of crap would be unfair to the piles of crap. People hated them for good reason, and that's what people remember (as well as a handful of French diesels that sucked almost as much).

If you get away from cities, the use of diesel is far more common. People who drive trucks for work, rather than show, have figured out that diesel is the way to go. My 7,200 pound 4x4 diesel powered work truck gets better mileage than my girlfriend's V-6 gas powered 2 wheel drive Ford Explorer. Better in town and better on the highway. My mileage drops by 2 to 3 mpg (down to 15-16 mpg) if I'm towing 5,000 pounds - but my friends with gas trucks get 6 to 10 mpg with the same load. Gas engines make great horsepower, but Diesels make great torque - and torque is what gets work done.

Now that the US is changing the sulfur content of diesel fuel, we'll be able to get small, diesel powered Euro cars again, and it will be a good thing. A great thing. A friend of mine has a (roughly) 5 year old VW Jetta, and he gets 49 mpg at 70 mph. Better than a hybred, without the hassle of throwing away a bunch of batteries in a handful of years.

Bring on the diesel!

Re:IF (0)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172802)

Where can you get vegetable oil for free? You mean the worthless used stuff that these people had to process on-the-fly? Last I checked, vegetable oil you could actually put in your car costed more per gallon than gasoline...

Re:IF (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173282)

That's true, but often restaurants that don't have disposal contracts will allow WVO users to siphon off their grease from the barrels out back for free. And if you only end up using oil you buy yourself, you can at least use it to cook with first.

Re:IF (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176100)

Last I checked, vegetable oil you could actually put in your car costed more per gallon than gasoline...

Not in the UK... :(

Re:IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172960)

Yep, and because people mostly don't give a rat's left testicle for the environment, they'll see this as a good reason to continue using fossil fuel instead.

Oh, and btw, this idea is not new (well maybe it is in the US, but definitely not here in Aus).

Re:IF (2, Interesting)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173674)

Quick quiz, what happens to overall fuel prices when supply increases far faster than demand?

Re:IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173844)

People always bring up this "get free vegetable oil from restaurants!!!111" thing for their bio-diesel crap.
  • Restaurants do not give away the old oil for free
  • They actually have contracts with recyclers who take it, reprocess it, and then re-sell the cleaned oil for use
  • There's nowhere near enough "old vegetable oil" in restaurants to power all your stupid RV's.
You might as well post a "I travelled the USA for free by stealing gas from gas stations!!111" story, for about as practical as it is. If you want diesel, buy existing B20 like Biowillie, which actually works.

Re:IF (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174232)

The difference is it takes a year to grow vegetable oil, while it takes millions of years to generate crude oil. Petrol (aka gas) then needs to be taken out of the crude oil, which gives some nasty by-products.

--
bender@futurama$ killall humans

Mr Fusion (2, Informative)

caston (711568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172246)

In back to the future the delorean was powered by Mr Fusion which was able to use any element or compound just about for fusion basically turning matter into energy.

Re:Mr Fusion (2, Interesting)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172300)

go watch, BTF3 again, Mr Fusion only powered the time circuits he never got around to converting the car to electric, it still needed gasoline to run.

Re:Mr Fusion (1)

ppc_digger (961188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173388)

go watch, BTF3 again, Mr Fusion only powered the time circuits he never got around to converting the car to electric, it still needed gasoline to run.
That was only because the engine wasn't electric, only the flux capacitor and the time circuits were. I'm pretty sure 1.21 gigawatts are more than enough to power an electric car.

Re:Mr Fusion (1)

Andy Gardner (850877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173796)

I'm pretty sure 1.21 gigawatts are more than enough to power an electric car.

Surely you mean 1.21 Jigawatts?

Re:Mr Fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17177296)

it's spelled gigawatts.

We just pronounce it wrong now. gigabyte actually ought to starts with the same sounds giraffe does.

yeah, ya know where that falls apart? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175786)

are we supposed to believe the flying was powered by gasoline or what?

Re:yeah, ya know where that falls apart? (1)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177784)

are we supposed to believe the flying was powered by gasoline or what?

The flight systems were burnt out by the lightning strike.

Back to the Future (1)

ZigiSamblak (745960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172262)

So what's the mileage on this thing? It's have to be pretty amazing to beat the "save your families future on a can of tomatoes" of the Dolorian.

Re:Back to the Future (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172364)

Dolorian [wikipedia.org] is Finnish dark metal band from Oulu. So they probably should be assessed by bpm (beats per minute).

The Delorean [wikipedia.org] or better De Lorean DMC-12 on the other hand might be better assessed by rpm. Cheers.

Re:Back to the Future (1)

ZigiSamblak (745960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172438)

Well I'll be the first to admit I am more interested in Finnish dark metal than I am in cars. ;-)

Is there a way to... (3, Funny)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172266)

...input garbage directly into my browser, and have it turned directly into a "+5 insightful" comment ? So funny comment like this one... err... oops.. No way ? Sorry. ;)

lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172270)

fuckin hippie deustchbags

Frybrid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172362)

A man named Frybrid invented this? What were his parents smoking?

Re:Frybrid? (2, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172984)

vegetable oil ?

Only in the USA (4, Informative)

ChrisZermatt (892665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172388)

The problem with this system is that it could only ever work in the good 'ol USA -- the only country where people produce enough used fry-vat oil!

(by the way, they've been doing exactly this for years in other places, like Germany...)

Re:Only in the USA (4, Interesting)

ghc71 (738171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172606)

Running diesels of cooking oil has been done in the UK enough for the government to threaten prosecution for it - since vehicle fuels are taxed at a higher rate than foodstuffs, this is seen more as tax evasion than an environmental initiative.

Re:Only in the USA (1)

TheClassic (816274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173932)

Only in the USA? Then how have they been doing "exactly this for years in other places"? You completely contradicted yourself and it only took two sentences.

Re:Only in the USA (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176618)

The problem with this system is that it could only ever work in the good 'ol USA -- the only country where people produce enough used fry-vat oil!

and works only until restaurants begin selling their waste fats and oils to commercial recycling plants.

Every hamburglar has his day (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172412)

All the girls laughed at Ronald as he carried the old fry oil to the bins at McDaddies, "I'll show them !" he thought silently.

Mythbusters (4, Insightful)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172464)

They did this on Mythbusters, they took used cooking oil, filtered it, and put it into a standard Diesel truck. It ran perfectly normally.

As they observed on the show, the only reason it's such a cheap source of fuel is because it's a waste product now. If people start using it as fuel, it will cost just as much as Diesel fuel does.

Re:Mythbusters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172548)

So a messy waste product gets turned into a valuable resource. What's the problem?

Here in the UK, fuel is taxed so much that new, unused vegetable oil already costs 20% less than diesel. And the tax is going up. I'm getting increasingly tempted to add a percentage of Tesco's vegetable oil to my tank....

Re:Mythbusters (2, Interesting)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172620)

I'd also add that vegetable oil is a renewable resource, which is a big plus in my eyes. In the US we have a huge agricultural industry. If we started using vegetable oil for fuel instead of petroleum, that would go a long way toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil. That alone would be a good shot in the arm for our economy. As a nice side effect, farming might even become a good way for a family to support itself again.

Re:Mythbusters (0)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173406)

You realize that to produce enough vegetable oil to replace even the current diesel consumption, you'd need several times the area of the US covered with nothing but sunflowers/rapeseed/whatever? And that if vegetable oil catches on as fuel, it will compete with food production? Farmers would switch from producing meat, milk and vegetables to producing oil, and basic food would become much more expensive.

Re:Mythbusters (4, Insightful)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174708)

Given current production methods, certainly. If we had the same sort of money going into farming that we now have going into finding new sources of oil, I'd bet we'd find better ways.

Re:Mythbusters (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174216)

Uhh... HELLO...

Vegetable oil is still a hydrocarbon fuel, and releases various gases and particles upon combustion. Furthermore, vegetable oil is no more a 'renewable' fuel than standard ff oil. They're also both waste products (though one could certainly use new veg-oil from the store).

The amount of bio diesel produced from one acre of corn is something like 300 gallons. To me, this implies a limited production if you consider the need to grow corn for food as well.

And given that traditional ff fuel can be made synthetically, I would say they're both in the same boat.

Either way, when you fill up, drive 200 miles, and look at the gas gauge, it's moved.

Re:Mythbusters (2, Interesting)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174846)

Are you sure about that? Vegetable oil from fast food restaurants as you have observed is indeed a waste product. Even if you only count the vegetable oil coming out of fast food places, the oil did not take millions of years to form. As for the pollution, you may be generating gasses, but the resulting output is indeed cleaner than current petroleum based diesel.

If it becomes profitable to produce vegetable oil on a much larger scale, I guarantee you people will find ways of producing more with less. This would also give companies an incentive to clean up unused land that could be used for farming. We have a lot invested in getting the most out of petroleum, it's time we start doing the same with alternative fuels. Vegetable oil is a close analog that should be able to use similar techniques before we rely on more radical methods.

As long as you can make fuel without using petroleum, it's a step in the right direction. The important thing for the US at this point is to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. We know the supply is not unlimited, and each barrel of oil we import is money leaving our economy. More likely we'll see biodiesel combined with other alternatives working together to replace our current runaway usage of petroleum-based products, but we need to start somewhere. This is a good - and functionally proven - place to start.

Re:Mythbusters (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177568)

Vegetable oil is still a hydrocarbon fuel, and releases various gases and particles upon combustion. Furthermore, vegetable oil is no more a 'renewable' fuel than standard ff oil.

There's one key fact you're forgetting: we can grow more! Not only is that what makes it "renewable" (as opposed to fossil fuels, which we can't make more of on a large scale short of waiting a hundred million years or so), but it also negates the last major unsolved problem* of those "various gases" because the new plants absorb the CO2 produced from burning the old ones!

You're mighty arrogant for someone so completely wrong. You might want to fix that.

(*NOx, particulates, etc. aren't really problems anymore because they can be filtered out of the exhaust.)

Taxes (1)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177416)

Don't you guys get busted for tax evasion when you burn non-government-sanctioned fuel in your vehicles?

Supply chain costs (1)

xixax (44677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172778)

It would also be interesting (though non-trivial) to calculate the fundamental cost of producing vegetable oils. For example, agriculture here in Australia consumes huges amounts of diesel to till the land and bring in chemically processed fertilisers from Pacfic islands. That and what proportion of the esrth's food growing area would need to be given over to oil production to meet current demand.

Xix.

Re:Supply chain costs (4, Informative)

blakestah (91866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173024)

There's scads of papers on biodiesel, its efficiency, and cost.

If petroleum goes up in price a bunch more, biodiesel gets to break even.

The unmapped territory is that although it burns a hydrocarbon, 100% biodiesel
doesn't increase atmospheric CO2, because that CO2 was removed from the atmosphere
less than a year prior. It is cyclic in the short-term. Biodiesel could be a
near drop-in replacement for gasoline in cars and solve greenhouse gas
problems from automobiles. Of course, if you use peanuts instead of soybeans, and
oil costs stay high....people bet billions on shifts like this, the shift
to biodiesel would become reality if regular diesel wholesale prices get too
high and we have a strong need to minimize emissions...both of which are
very real scenarios. Both factors have shifted a lot since this white paper
in 2002.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/biodiese l/ [doe.gov]

Re:Supply chain costs (2, Interesting)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177420)

Biodiesel could be a near drop-in replacement for gasoline in cars
Wow! Where do I sign up?

While I was about to write some more smartassery regarding what I assume is a mistakenly placed "gasoline" where you meant "diesel", I came across something odd in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazi l [wikipedia.org] - "Although Brazil is a major oil producer and now exports gasoline (19,000 m/day), it still must import oil because of internal demand for other oil byproducts, chiefly diesel fuel (which cannot be easily replaced by ethanol)."

You'd think Brazil would at least figure out how to use biodiesel...but even better, the same climate that's good for growing sugarcane is also good for using SVO, which they must be able to produce.

That's why biodiesel is not scalable (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177122)

Biodiesel is a great way to get rid of used oil from restaurants, but it doesn't scale beyond the amount of oil that restaurants use. With used oil, the resource is not only free, but it's eliminating an environmental cost, and eliminating any disposal cost the restaurant would have to pay. I don't know how often you eat French fries, but basically it's only going to power small fraction of the cars and trucks in the world.


With *new* oil, you need to look at the costs, both financial and environmental, of producing the oil. Corn is a heavily subsidized crop in the US, and the corn industry owns lots of politicians, and corn farmers would like to have more markets for their crops, but basically it's not a very energy-efficient way to produce oil, and if the farmers are using fertilizer on their crops, it's generally a big net loss - corn plants mostly produce leaves and stalks, and the seeds are mostly starch, and the oil's a small fraction of the energy that went into the plant. Oily seeds such as soybean, canola, peanuts, and sunflowers are better, but it's not clear that even those are a big win, and certainly converting a significant fraction of the US's oil usage to those oils would require ecologically challenging amounts of land.

This is nothing new... (5, Informative)

norite (552330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172476)

Diesel engines were designed to run on vegetable oil in the first place; Rudolph Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World's Fair in Paris back in 1900; His engine was running on peanut oil.
In fact my own car has been adapted to run on vegetable oil, (either used or fresh) I collect used oil and filter it in my back yard, down to 5 microns. My car runs just great on it, absolutely no difference in performance, and I'm sill getting the same mileage, around 45mpg (US) or 55mpg(UK). My car's exhaust smells a LOT nicer (sort of a popcorn, or hot oil 'flavor'), and vegetable oil is a cleaner burning fuel, so emissions are lower. And of course, it's carbon neutral :o) I guess there are enough takeaways, restaurants and other food places in my town to power at least 100 diesel cars; in fact I have more oil than I can process right now, so I'm looking to expand my filtering operations.
A friend of mine is doing the same, at his place of work, they have a canteen, and they're getting through more oil than he needs. the places that we're getting it from, are more than happy for us to take it away, because they have to pay to have it taken away, and we'll do it for free...

now that I've gone veggie, I won't be going back. The heat exchanger kit that is installed in my car can easily be taken out and fitted into my next car. It's a win win situation:

We're using a waste product that was grown locally

It's cheaper (as in free!)

We're not funding Big Oil, who are themselves supporting dodgy, corrupt, undemocratic and/or unstable regimes.

There are some strong economic, political and ethical reasons to run on vegetable oil. For me, it's a no-brainer :o)

Re:This is nothing new... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172656)

True, and there has been an industry (albeit small) that provides the hardware for some time. There is Frybrid from TFA, and in Germany we have Elsbett.
Link to english website: http://www.elsbett.com/us/about-us/introduction.ht ml [elsbett.com]

Elsbett used to build complete motors, today they mostly sell conversion kits for diesel cars (the US homepage seems to be a bit outdated there).

Re:This is nothing new... (1)

norite (552330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173554)

I know about Elsbett. Unfortunately, I cannot use their kits, because my car has a Lucas pump, so I have to use a twin tank solution. The rotary design of the Lucas pump means it will fail when introdiced to cold, viscous veggie oil. I'm using the smartveg kit: http://www.smartveg.co.uk/ [smartveg.co.uk]

As I remember, Elsbett built an engine in the 1980's that would take vegetable oil with no modifications, but the automobile industry weren't interested...I wonder why? :)
It is perfectly possible to build a diesel engine today that can use vegetable oil, regular diesel or biodiesel, (or mixtures of all three of these fuels in any ratio) as fuel. The know-how and technology is there. So why don't the automotive industry go for it? Are they too deelpy in bed with Big Oil?

Re:This is nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172712)

You forgot another ethical advantage: By using vegetable oil you aren't supporting the killing of innocent dinosaurs. Think of all the dinosaurs that had to be crushed into pieces by wasteful, undemocratic geologic processes to make a barrel of oil!

Re: This is nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173092)

...and there is a reason that we don't do it.

The reason that we support big oil over this alternative is that because on a large scale, burning fossil fuel is actually better for the environment than using vegatable oil.

What people often forget about these so called bio-fuels is that the vegetables that are needed to make this stuff have to be farmed, and farming is probably one of the most damaging activities that humans engage in: it requires large swaths of land be converted for use, it usually stretches the water resources of an area, it removes nutrients from the soil that have to be replaced with artificial and sometimes toxic fertilizers.

Sure, vegetable oil is a waste product right now, but if we were to try this on a large scale, we would do a lot worse to our world than global warming.

Re: This is nothing new... (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177494)

Sure, vegetable oil is a waste product right now, but if we were to try this on a large scale, we would do a lot worse to our world than global warming.
So, you suggest that we continue to put the waste oil in landfills, rather than making it useful?

Is this news? (1)

fuckingsound (983190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172512)

The rock band Piebald did this on their tour, over a year ago [bostonphoenix.com] . I'm not sure if they went across the entire breadth of the states, but I saw them in Seattle and they are from Boston.

During that tour the singer made a lot of noise about greasenotgas.com [greasenotgas.com] , which has DIY directions on how to do this to your own car. Very noble and indie rock altruistic of them. I think they haven't even been shown on the O.C. yet.

Re:Is this news? (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172590)

Willie Nelson's tour bus has been running on Waste Vegetable Oil, a form of "Biodiesel" for a while now. Bill Maher has mentioned this a few times on his show Real Time.

ttyl

Re:Is this news? (1)

norite (552330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172662)

Vegetable oil and biodiesel are two completely different things, both chemically and physically.
Biodiesel is made by taking vegetable oil and adding to it a mixture of methanol and caustic soda (sodium methoxide), a process known as transesterification. ethanol (or bioethanol) can also be used in place of methanol They are, however, both considered biofuels.
Biodiesel (made to a high standard) is nice 'n convenient, since you can run any diesel engine on it, unmodified. Pour it straight in, and away you go! :o) Using veggie oil requires some sort of mod to the engine

(methanol is itself made from natural gas, a fossil fuel..)

Re:Is this news? (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172844)

The modification is changing all the rubber seals in the fuel lines to metal seals. It's not terribly difficult, but it can be expensive. The reason is because vegetable oil is harder on the rubber and will do something to it (I forget what) that makes it crack and leak. No internal engine modifications are needed, only fuel system modifications.

Re:Is this news? (1)

norite (552330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173470)

No it isn't, I think you're confusing biodiesel with vegetable oil. Biodiesel has solvent properties, so it will corrode natural rubber. Vegetable oil WON'T. Anyhow, cars that have been manufactured after around 1992 generally use synthetic rubber seals, so no mods are needed for biodiesel.
Incidentally, this is another good reason to run on biodiesel - as it has solvent properties, when you first start using it, it will clean out your car's fuel system, helping to keep emissions low. When you do start to use biodiesel, put in say 20%, then go to 30%, then 40% and so on, until you're running on 100% biodiesel. Keep an eye on your fuel filter, because it will get clogged with all the crap from the dinodiesel that you were using before. It's not uncommon to go through 3 filters on your way to 100% biodiesel (I know folks who have gone through 3 filters in 3000 miles, so this isn't crap I'm talking here) Dinodiesel (esp. US diesel) is full of additives, sulfur and other crap which over time clog the fuel system. Once it's clean, it'll stay that way. You can even switch back to dinodiesel for the short term and back to biodiesel again, without it clogging the filter.

Re:Is this news? (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177686)

The modification is changing all the rubber seals in the fuel lines to metal seals. It's not terribly difficult, but it can be expensive. The reason is because vegetable oil is harder on the rubber and will do something to it (I forget what) that makes it crack and leak. No internal engine modifications are needed, only fuel system modifications.
Sorry, you are confused. Biodiesel, commonly described as needing no modifications, is the fuel that could require replacing rubber seals with synthetic. Biodiesel is a solvent and is abusive of rubber. Most (if not all) modern diesel engines come with appropriate equipment to handle biodiesel.

Veggie oil, either WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) or SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil), is not a problem for rubber AFAIK. It is, however, much more viscous than Biodiesel or dino-diesel, and freezes solid at temperatures where we expect our vehicles to start and run immediately. Because of the viscosity, it doesn't feed well through the fuel system and will clog easily, and doesn't spray well from the injectors. The solution is to heat the veg oil, start the vehicle on biodiesel or dino-diesel, and switch to VO when it's hot enough (200 degrees F? 400? I can't remember). Then, before shutting off the vehicle, you switch back to bio/dino-diesel to flush the system so it will be able to start again later. A good VO system has heated lines almost all the way up to the injectors.

I have previously considered the type of system described in TFA as what I'd really like in my next pickup. I don't want to be arsed with filtering and preparing my oil; I want to dump it into a tank where it will get processed and passed on to another tank that holds ready-to-burn stuff. No reason not to; the energy comes from free fuel. Let the fuel process bootstrap itself...

Re:Is this news? (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173320)

That's why I put quotes around "biodiesel". Yes, Veggie Oil is different from refined biodiesel, but both are from biological sources that were recently alive, as opposed to petrodiesel, which is made from biological sources that have been dead for millions of years.

ttyl

McDonalds new revenue stream (1, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172528)

Used vegetable oil has to be the stupidest replacement fuel ever thought up. Sure it's cheap now, it's a waste product... but not for long the way these soon to be short lived startups are going.

The only ones who will profit from a Veg Oil economy will be McDonald's and the like... their oil will be just as valuable before and after use, thus they spend nothing on oil at all, instead of throwing it away at the end of the day they sell it for their cost.

Eventually demand will surpass capacity to produce... and this is probably 1% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable_oil_used_a s_fuel#Waste_Vegetable_Oil) of the current petroleum demands... sure it's better than draining an non-renewable resource... but it's no replacement.

I surely wouldn't want to stake my future wealth on it by starting a business around it... the economics just don't work... if you are successful it won't take long to put yourself out of business. When the veggie oil starts matching unleaded, you will have capped.

Re:McDonalds new revenue stream (4, Insightful)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172686)

I don't think it's that bad of an idea myself. It's cleaner to burn, and if the demand goes up there will be farmers happy to produce more vegetables. I'd rather the waste vegetable oil goes toward reducing our petroleum dependency than some of the alternatives, and I don't really care if the fast food industry is one of the beneficiaries. Maybe they'll start processing the oil for cars instead of people, finding it more lucrative, and make their food a bit less greasy. We can only hope.

Even if the waste oil is only 1% of petroleum usage, which is not all turned into diesel, if the US ramps up its resources to produce more vegetable-based fuel we'd be able to dramatically reduce the amount of petroleum going into vehicles. Most diesel vehicles in the US tend to be used in freight transport. Imagine smelling french fries or popcorn instead of the current diesel when you're behind a large truck that's belching smoke all over the place. I know what I'd prefer.

Re:McDonalds new revenue stream (1)

fuckingsound (983190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172852)

Marty, It's not entirely about profits. Running on veg grease is better for the environment. Also, if you want to talk economics, the development of veg oil fuel systems doesn't have to be about changing the entire fuel market to exclusively vegetable oil. There is such a thing as a niche market. Furthermore, because technology and research often branches outwards from existing technology, development and minor consumer interest in a area like this may inspire other alternative car fuel systems that use waste. I mean, its conceivable that one day we will be able to throw bananas into the mr.coffee like device sitting on the hood of our cars. This seems to be the general area of technology it could arise out of. Definitely not the worst idea ever thought of.

Re:McDonalds new revenue stream (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172854)

You should read your signature. :) This development is important not because it provides a solution to the problem you want solved, but because it adds to our tech base something that can be used as part of the solution to the problem you want solved. It has the added benefit of making good PR for alternative solutions and getting people thinking about the problem in the context that it can be solved.

Re:McDonalds new revenue stream (1)

blakestah (91866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173112)

If oil is over $70/barrel it is not so far fetched. Not the yellow grease
based biodiesel, which is very limited in scope, but a B100 biodiesel.

If you factor in the cost of emissions...B100 biodiesel has NO net emissions,
and petroleum based diesel has significant emissions costs....

Factor in the cost of emissions on environmental destruction at
$1/gallon of fuel and keep oil over $70/barrel,
and America has a new soybean based economy.

I don't think that is really gonna happen, but there
are not so unrealistic contingencies that
would bring it to pass. Like if the US government ever
really starts to care about global warming and at the
same time the oil fields in Iraq and Iran both get
incapacitated.

Re:McDonalds new revenue stream (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173908)

I worked at a McDonald's a few decades ago. As far as I could tell, they threw out little if any frying oil. Instead, they had a dangerous gizmo that would suck the oil out of the hot fryer, filter it through some kind of white powder, and then pump the refreshed oil back in. I never got certified to do that job, but it seemed to me that they mostly just added new fat to compensate for what got shipped out in the fries. (And back then they used blocks of healthy 100% beef tallow, not this unhealthy trans-fat they were hounded into using.)

We did drag out a couple of gallons of hamburger grease from the grill traps each day, but that was mixed up with grill cleaning chemicals, and it seems doubtful that that would be very good for an engine.

McDonald's Used Oil (was Re:McDonalds new revenue (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174690)

McDonald's doesn't throw away their used oil. The oil is filtered daily, until it becomes useless (usually about a week). Once this happens, a third-party company comes to pump it out of their oil tanks and refill the tanks with new oil. This old oil is reprocessed to become useful again.

Why is always a cross country trip? (4, Insightful)

tap (18562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172592)

When ever you read about someone with this wonderful used fryer-oil powered vehicle, they're always taking it on some cross-country trip. Is that because if they stay in one place they use up all the fryer-oil from the local restaurants?

I'm only half joking about that. The people who advocate this stuff have the same program as the Verizon employees who can't understand the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents. They just don't seem to grasp the orders of magnitude difference between the amount of corn oil this country produces vs the amount of crude oil it consumes.

Re:Why is always a cross country trip? (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173294)

When ever you read about someone with this wonderful used fryer-oil powered vehicle, they're always taking it on some cross-country trip.


Because a cross country trip (like the one I took this summer [wellingtongrey.net] ) is a damn good way to test it out over a long distance and a variety of terrains. Plus, it generates interest. What American doesn't love the idea of setting out on the open road?

-Grey

Re:Why is always a cross country trip? (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173300)

Daily commutes don't make interesting news. My father-in-law has converted three vehicles to use waste veggie oil and still gets to fuel for free. This is not put forward as an end-all solution for our oil dependency. It's mostly a clever hack. Surely you can understand that as a Slashdot reader.

Re:Why is always a cross country trip? (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173452)

Actually many many people (I daresay most of them) who drive on SVO (straight vegetable oil) or vegetable oil used to make biodiesel do most of their driving to work and back every day.

I think what you need to grasp is that it is not necessary for one fuel source to solve all problems, for it to be a good alternative fuel source and a step in the right direction. Right now what gets processed as waste, can be used to reduce fuel consumption. This solves two problems. Will a few people converting their diesel powereed vehicles eliminate all petroleum consumption? I don't think anyone made that claim. However, some research is being done to see if vegetable oil can be produced in the amounts necessary to petroleum as a fuel source in the USA:
http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html [unh.edu]
I guarrantee you, neither I nor any of the researchers at university of new hampshire have trouble differentiating between a dollar and a cent.

I have not converted my car yet, because the conversion is quite expensive and processing fuel is a little too time consuming for me at this point, but as my car has a 12 gallon tank and I get around over 40 miles per gallon and on my lifestyle that requires me to fill up the tank a little more than once a month. The local restaurants produce WVO at a rate much higher than I can burn it, and they pay to dispose of it. True if enough people started doing this, waste vegetable oil from restaurants would not be enough to meet the demand. Those who convert soon, have the opportunity to store large amounts of filtered oil in drums to avoid having to purchase un-used vegetable oil. They are also talking about converting the local mushroom farm (which went out of business) to a farm that just grows high oil yield crops and producing biodiesel there :) I'll certainly pay an extra dollar or two a gallon to know I am using a sustainable fuel source and have somebody else do all the processing for me!

Re:Why is always a cross country trip? (2, Interesting)

FFFish (7567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174644)

And using corn oil instead of crude doesn't actually solve the problem of CO2 emissions. The problem being that we had all this carbon nicely sequestered underground instead of polluting our atmosphere. In essence we're taking the hot, muggy, lizard-friendly atmosphere of prehistoric earth back out of storage. Not exactly a wise move, that.

Corn oil would be zero-sum (the plants fix carbon into their biomass, removing it from our atmosphere; burning the oil releases CO2 back into the atmosphere) except for one inconvenient fact: corn production is a big consumer of crude oil in the form of chemical fertilizers, machinery operations, and post-harvest processing plants.

Burning corn oil is equivalent to burning crude. Moreso, in fact, because converting crude into corn is less efficient than converting it directly to fuel and putting it in one's tank.

French fry oils are not going to save us. Not in the least.

Perpetual Motion ... with a side of fries (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174756)

If I install a deep fryer in the back of my RV, will I have finally solved the Perpetual Motion issue? The french fries are just a tasty by-product.

Re:Why is always a cross country trip? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174944)

No one said this is an answer to the country's energy needs. There is no answer. There are, however, multiple partial solutions. A percentage of cars that can run on veggie oils. More effecient and cheap-to-make solar panels. Tidal force power plants. If each of them can take a tiny sliver of the energy burden of the country, it adds up over time to a noticeable difference.

What I'm more interested in is... (2, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172644)

Can it travel through time when it reaches 88MPH?

Re:What I'm more interested in is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172724)

no, it can't...
or can it...
hmmmmmm....

problems with used veg oil as a fuel (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172908)

1: it sticks, your car will smell of chips or whatever

2: you have to clean your filter A LOT, lots of impurities in used oil

3: In most countries, you still have to pay tax on it as it's classed as fuel

4: If you want to start it in cold weather you have to heat the fuel pipes to ensure the veg oil isn't too thick to be used.

Re:problems with used veg oil as a fuel (1)

theophilosophilus (606876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174436)

1: it sticks, your car will smell of chips or whatever

Oh well, its better than sulfer.
2: you have to clean your filter A LOT, lots of impurities in used oil

So pre filter.
3: In most countries, you still have to pay tax on it as it's classed as fuel

US Examples (from people that do it): South Dakota wants a road tax, California requires a grease hauler license

4: If you want to start it in cold weather you have to heat the fuel pipes to ensure the veg oil isn't too thick to be used.

Just start on diesel #1 and switch to veg. Veg isn't too far off from biodiesel, if you get fuel made in summer the filters don't catch all the gell (gells when chilled). The solution is for the bio producers to refilter in the winter or just to dilute it with diesel #1.

And about the people worring about vegetable oil capacity, theres a surplus why not use it? No one claims that veg/bio/ethonol/whatever is the ONLY solution, a solution can consist of many componants and be no less of a soloution.

Already done. illegally, in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172968)

This has been done quite a few times in the UK, where there is a very high tax on vehicle fuel (several hundred percent), and no tax on food. People modded their cars to run on NEW vegetable oil, to illegally save costs. The Customs and Excise guys could readily track them down, and prosecute, however, due to the smell of frying (no kidding!) come from the vehicle exhausts.

You guys crack me up! (1)

Falc0n (618777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172988)

I must admit I get a good chuckle when these guys come out saying that WVO won't work, it gels up, isn't free, etc. You apparently haven't actually gone through the process of using Veggie oil as your main fuel. 1st, you'll never get Veggie oil from a fast food restaurant. Most of it is Hydrogenated, which means that it will clog up all your filters, injectors, etc. After testing that stuff, I'll never goto a fast food chain again. You have to find a good quality restaurant, using Canola or Soy. I use 2 day used canola used to deep-fry chips. Don't believe the mythbusters -- you cannot just put WVO in your car with a coffee filter an expect it to run every day. You need a system. Frybrid is okay, but their customer service SUCKS (just look at postings on their forum), I'd personally suggest http://www.mercedessource.com/ [mercedessource.com] if you have a Mercedes you wish to convert. I have a writeup of the conversion on my Mercedes 1983 300SD here: http://japerry.fcdnet.org/2006/06/veggie-300sd.htm l [fcdnet.org] Mind you, I drive 50 miles a day round-trip, from Renton to Redmond (Eastside Seattle) on this stuff. I run through about 10gallons/week depending on how much more driving I do. I usually pick up about 12 gallons a week from my 'source' at the rate I'm going, I'll have 3 55gallon bins full of Veggie oil to be able to take me a good 4000 miles without needing more fuel. Oh and lastly, for those who say it gets bad at cold temperatures -- same as diesel fuel. BUT if you have good WVO (like I do), it actually will stay liquid and heat up properly with the right kit.

Dumb Free Lunch (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172990)

So you can power this thing by filling up with no-animal-harmed veg oil for free at the fast foods along your route. ("There's nary an animal alive that can outrun a greased Scotsman!") And I could cruise for free in an electric car by plugging it into people's outdoor electric sockets for recharge as I go. Or I could drive forever for free by sticking up gas stations...

*Gong!* Next!

Eh. (1)

PatTheGreat (956344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173260)

I own a DeLorean. Suckers don't get half bad gas mileage anyways.

Re:Eh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174776)

have you checked the door panels for cocaine? You did know about that didn't you?

Grease Car... (1)

Julz (9310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173364)

I thought that Justin Carven and others at http://www.greasecar.com/ [greasecar.com] were doing this a while back? Started as a project at Hampshire College and evolved from there.

Very silly article (2, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173720)

This would only be good news if:

  • The current used vegetable oil was currently being thrown away, lubricating landfills I guess.
  • But it's not, it's already going into special dumpsters, which I suspect get dumped into recycling systems that filter the oil and resell it for non-human consumption by mouth uses, such as candles, ointments, plastic feedstocks, greases, etc....
  • there were a LOT of veg oil per person being used. But if you think about it, it's doubtful that you're using more than a cup of oil a day, which doesnt translate into a significant amount of energy. Most people use at least a gallon of gas a day-- offsetting that with a cup of veggie oil is not a big win.
  • And let's not forget a good percentage of that oil is effectively consumed in the process of shipping, filtering, and re-refining the oil.
p. Perhaps it would be better overall to nip this "waste" in the bud, and we all cut back on our consumption of fried foods. Less waste and less "waist"-- a two-'fer

Possible issues? (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174084)

I love this idea and would like to implement it someday. But,

1.) I don't own a diesel vehicle (yet), and
2.) It was 1.9 F (-16.2 C) last night. The record low in Chicago is -22 F (-30 C). Does vegetable oil freeze?

Re:Possible issues? (1)

llefler (184847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175070)

2.) It was 1.9 F (-16.2 C) last night. The record low in Chicago is -22 F (-30 C). Does vegetable oil freeze?

It doesn't freeze, but it gels at low temperature. If it has water in it, it could freeze, just like gasoline. But diesels in general can require some pre-planning on really cold days. Dino diesel can gel too, that's why we have winter diesel. And it's a good idea to have a block heater to warm up the engine before trying to start it. My truck currently has a broken block heater and last week I had to replace batteries because at 10 F it wouldn't start. Two 875 CCA batteries. With the veggie solutions you could just wire the fuel heater to the block heater and put them both on a timer. 3 hours of preheating is what has been suggested for my truck. BTW, north of you it's common for commercial trucks to have fuel heaters for diesel too.

I bought a diesel work truck because I felt that biodiesel (no veggie for me) was a better long term alternative than ethanol. I paid a premium for the diesel engine, and some parts can be expensive. ($50 fuel filters, $250 for new battery cables) I'm hoping that by the time I decide I need to trade off my daily vehicle (S-10), that Jeep will release a TDI version of the Wrangler.

this ain't news.... (3, Informative)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174116)

i didn't rtfa, but

i had some friends who were traveling across the country on tour, in a rock band. they had converted their diesel van (a 15 passenger ford, if memory serves) for around 1500 bucks. the conversion tank/filter/box took up all the cargo space in the van, so they had to tow a trailer in which to put their amps, instruments, etc. the mileage still came out in their favor.
  i would not have believed it if i hadn't seen them pouring filthy used oil into the tank inside the van.

some things they shared:

american fast food is about the worst place to get used oil, as they use the shit out of the oil before tossing it. asian, and middle eastern restaurants were the best, cleanest oil they had seen so far.

they got better gas mileage on the greasel than on the diesel.

the van had a switch up front, with which to change the lines from the greasel to the diesel. apparently the veg oil doesn't burn hot enough, and it was bad news to leave the van overnight with the veg oil in the lines. so before shutting it down for the night, they'd switch back to diesel, and let it run for 10 minutes. then in the morning, they'd switch it back to veggie oil after it warmed up.

the box in the back of the van did three things: it was a tank, in which to store the oil as it was processed, it floated out the water from the oil, (a sort of inline spit valve, not unlike on many wood instruments) and it filtered out the particulates. burnt fries, crispy shrimp tails, etc.

the filter was at the front of the line, so it was basically a big thick sock (they got them at home depot, and had to change them about 1000 miles. it was designed for some other use, but someone figured out it's capability to clean oil, and put it in there) turned inside out. they had also bought some ordinary kitchen strainers, which fit over the hole in the tank, and would grab the huge particles before they made it to the filter. once the strainers clogged, they could lift them out and tap them on the ground to get the particles out. much easier than changing the sock like filter.

they usually would go and ask for oil, but sometimes would need to refill after a show, which could be 2 or 3 am, so they'd just go poach it. most places paid to have the stuff taken away, so wouldn't care if you got caught taking it, but would generally assume you're up to no good if you were behind their restaurant in the middle of the night acting shady.

with 4 guys in the band, they had a system down. some places kept the used oil in a 55 gallon drum. for this, one would scoop, one would prep the empty 5 gallon plastic tubs, one would lift the tubs into the van, and one would pour the oil into the tank.

sometimes the places had the oil just sitting in the tubs they came in. one would either nab the full 5 gallon tubs, and put them in the van to be poured later, while another put empties in their place.

the back of the van was messy/oily, but this was their first trip with the conversion, so were still dialing in their storage system/process. next time i see them, i predict the van'll be much cleaner. as clean as a touring rock band's van can be, anyway....

i live in denver. they live in l.a. they drove from their home, up to vancouver, canada, and then over to denver, when i saw them. so far, on that tour, when i saw them, they had put one tank of gas in the van, and not even used the entire tank. this even includes a few hours running on diesel, as the water trap had some issues, and they had to drive around portland looking for someone who could fix it.

i was totally impressed. i haven't driven in almost a year, but i was convinced that if/when i do buy my next car, it'll be a diesel.

if anyone's interested in the conversion, and able to get to l.a., let me know, and i can put you in touch with the guy who did theirs.

Good for recycling, but not a huge source of oil (2, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174332)

Every year we essentially throw away a lot of vegetable oil after cooking with it at restaurants. Much of this oil gets dumped out or just incinerated. Clearly we need to recycle this oil and burning it as a fuel is a good idea. Except for NO2 and particulates (which we know how to deal with) there is no pollution from using old vegetable oil for fuel in a diesel engine.

However the problem is that there's not enough vegetable oil coming from restaurants to impact even slightly our national oil usage. So it is a cheap fuel source for a few people. That's all. What we really need is a way to create organic oils on a large scale from algae, plants, or some other way using only energy from the sun. If we could immediately replace all our fossil fuels with organic (as it carbon-neutral) oils, we could stop our carbon emissions completely, having an immediate, dramatic, and hopefully non-warming effect on our environment.

biodiesel (1)

elix3r (760009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174514)

Using waste from restaurants is cool, but there isn't enough for everyone. Biodiesel is the way to go for this type of thing, but thats not that cheap.

Re:biodiesel (1)

adaminnj (712407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177242)

producing bio-D creates toxic waist and needs methoxide (Lye and methonal) to crack the oil into the glycerin and bio-D and then you have to do something with glycerin laced with the CH3O-

the gasses from methoxide are very nasty stuff and you are efectivly removing about 1/3 of the whole oil.

you can run your car on waste vegetable oil (WVO) of straight vegetable oil (SVO) so if farmers are being paid to not grow then that land could be used to produce an oil crop and if dosent have to be an etable oil crop. Rapeseed oil A.K.A. Canola oil can be farmed to prodce quite a bit of fuel and it's one of the better oil to use in a diesel. it reduces NOx and CO at the tail pipe and the carbon produced in the burning of *VO is part of a loop (the plants grown to produce the CO will absorbe the CO in there growing)
  here is a good resorse http://www.greasecar.com/tech.cfm [greasecar.com] .

there is no sulpher in VO so their is little if any SO2 being released into the air.

both NOx and SO2 are componits of Acid rain.

VO is the way to go bio-d is good too but VO allows one to use all the oil with little to no waste and less polution.

there is my $0.02

RE: Frybrid (1)

thschmid (102849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174590)

the idea has been around for a while. i remember seeing it on a segment on a show on the discovery channel years ago, about some guys having a similar system in their old van, going across the country.

i don't think it will have any real application, since their won't be enough fuel (frying grease) for every single car, especially with the new trend of going away from fried foods due to health reasons. ... and who wants to smell like KFC driving down the freeway.

Re: Frybrid (1)

vegedge (1037788) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177336)

"i don't think it will have any real application" Are you kidding me? You guys have totally missed the point. Think outside the box. We are not limited to waste vegetable oil. You can already buy food grade vegetable oil at sams club for $2.88 a gallon. Just think if instead of paying farmers to not plant anything on there land. Instead they grew soybeans. Soybeans to non-food grade Vegetable Oil. Vegetable Oil might not only "offset" our dependence on foriegn oil, but delete it. If you look at the research section of the Frybrid website you'll see that Jon H. Van Gerpen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA agrees. In some of his papers there he states the reason why he used a particular oil..."Soybean oil was chosen because, in the United States, soybean oil is the only oil that is available in sufficient quantity to supply a national market."... WOW!, goodbye petro.

FYI: I have converted my truck to vegetable oil and yes it does smell like it. The smell however is no stonger than that of petro diesel. Simply put, you only smell it at a standstill and I would rather smell VO than petro.

They call VO carbon neutral because it just becomes part of the natural cycle. Plants absorb carbon in the air, plants release carbon back into the air when they die, either through decomposition or burned in engine.

On the other hand, petro burns carbon from fossil fuels that have been stored for millions of years causing the present imbalance.

thats funny (1)

adaminnj (712407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176724)

not in a haha kind of way.

the guy who took his family on the road trip was braging on greasecar forum and now it's lord godwin (DIEbrid) who is taking the credit
this who thing is a farce!

here is the greasecar crap.

http://www.greasecar.com/forum_topicview.cfm?frmto picID=10026 [greasecar.com]

GOD this is becoming a joke and the death of running your car on VO. the EPA is going to end-up bitch slaping a few of us who do run on WVO because of idiots like godwin.

godwin and others need to get things pushed thru the EPA before they seek the 15 min of fame, so they don't screw over the whole grease movment.

(from what I understand) the fribrid system for the suburban is enginered with a flaw that mounts the tank between two flexabl parts of the body and it ends up stressing the VO tank to the point of rupture. (just an FYI) as well the whole system is over complicated and way far away from the KISS princaple.

running a diese on VO is not rocket science (after all Rudolph Diesel actualy built the firsd diesel engine and ran it on Biomass!)

BTTF nerd alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17176808)

Not so fast, anonymous reader. As Doc said in BTTF 3: "Mr. Fusion powers the time circuits and the flux capacitor, but the internal combustion engine runs on ordinary gasoline. It always has."
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