With fuel prices soaring, I guess it was only a matter of time…With the price of used restaurant grease climbing to $2.75/gallon and “midnight pick-ups” becoming common, rendering companies have been forced to secure the grease containers located behind most restaurants to prevent theft of used fry oil…This may put a damper on backyard bio-diesel operations.
In that same vein, I suppose locking gasoline caps are flying off the shelves nowadays…hmmm, that reminds me, perhaps my home heating oil tank should be secured also. Tough economic times breeds thieves.
Wonder how long it will be before someone with a mask and gun walks into a McDonalds late at night and says “Gimme the French fry grease or else”!
now that was funny!
Speaking of home heating oil, that is another market for “bio-diesel”. People thought they have discovered a source of free fuel…
And fuel theft…One of those 9000 gallon tankers that service gas stations…That load of fuel is now worth $36,000. Shotgun riders will soon be in the right seat protecting these shipments from hy-jackers…
Perhaps I’m hijacking the thread, but here is a story showing that even with waste vegetable oil for fuel there is no free lunch: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bay_environment/bal-te.md.svo22jun22,0,7770381.story
Yup, this tax/legality issue is a source of some spirited discussions in the diesel forums. Basically, the EPA has not approved WVO as a fuel and state laws vary on the tax issue.
I wish I could remember the specifics but I sat through a detailed discussion by a PhD Engineer who explained how the chemistry of burning straight Veg Oil virgin or recycle sets up a diesel engine for premature failure in the 50K mile range. Something about the Free Fatty Acids being terrible lubricators during combustion. Diesel (including Biodiesel) specifies FFA to be under a couple percentage points. WVO can be 30% FFA. These kits are just about heating the WVO enough to keep it flowing. The chemistry of WVO combustion is not addressed. That is what the whole biodiesel process is about, converting FFA to safe diesel fuel. Becareful about burning WVO, really informed people won’t do it. One kit option that has partial approval is a duel fuel that turns the WVO off at the beginning and ends of trips to allow the good diesel to heat up the engine at the beginning and then to “rinse” it out before shut down at end of trip running straight Veg Oil.
You are right. Burning WVO is a bad idea. The higher viscosity also causes poor fuel atomization, which leads to high particulate emissions. Additionally, injector coking and premature fuel pump failures are a problem.
Biodiesel is made by the transesterification of fats; taking the feed stock (WVO, tallow, soybean oil, etc), reacting it with methanol (or ethanol) and a catalyst (NaOH) to speed up the process. What?s left is Fatty Acid Methyl (FAME) Ester and Glycerin. The FAME is then purified to form Biodiesel (B100).
Interesting. Would there be any cleaning agents that could be run through the engine every few thousand miles (or something like that) to counteract those effects?