WVO as fuel?

Free fuel, or less CO2, veggie oil’s not just for hippies!

Some people may have noticed a slight increase in fuel prices over the last few years. I’m pretty sure I remember a time when the Litres went up faster than the Dollars on the pump. And don’t get me started on the effect millions of cars have on our atmostphere. I’m sure i’m no longer alone in searching for an alternative.

So what else is there? I can’t afford a Prius! It’s not like too many car companies give you much choice when it comes to how your vehicle is powered. Usually a more fuel efficient engine, or perhaps a small diesel is the only “environmentally friendly” and “cheap” option available.

Or at least I thought so, until I started researching… You can actually convert your can to electric fairly cheaply now. Lead acid batteries are well proven technology and very recyclable, they’re heavy and relatively low powered, but they’ll get you from uni into town and back half a dozen times on a single charge, and if you convert it yourself you can do it for as little as $5000!

But alass, even that is out of my league. For starters I don’t have a car to convert. Even then, my car budget is more or less half of the whole conversion cost. So are there any cheaper options?

A bike and a buss pass will get you almost everywhere you need to go around town, but neither option is great for the shopping, let alone that load of horse poo you want for the garden. And I can’t say i’m the greatest fan of rain.. There must be something else…

Hoorah! There is! It’s cheap, it’s environmentally friendly and suprisingly easy.

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically a diesel engine is really tollerant of what fuel you can run it on, and believe it or not, veggie oil is suprisingly similar to diesel! It doesn’t even have to be good fresh oil, the old waste from the local fish and chip shop should be perfect.

Waste Veggie Oil (WVO) is vegetable oil which has been used for cooking then discarded. Every shop with a deep frier will go through dozens of litres of the stuff every week. Some of the shops return the used oil to their suppliers, but many have to pay to have it taken away and disposed of. You can see where this is headed…

With a few minor adjustments to the fuel system (mainly heating the fuel lines so the oil is nice and runny) and a little preparation of the oil (remove the water/acids and chunks of chip) you’ve just secured an almost endless supply of fuel for your vehicle. Environmentally friendly driving without paying for petrol? It seems to good to be true!

-No net carbon emissions – all the carbon comes from the vegetables which make the oil

-No petroleum – so many reasons this is good

-It’s practically free!!

So whether you’re a dirty hippy who hates petroleum or a 4×4 nut who spent all their money on a accessories and camping gear, keep an open mind. Do some research online, ask your local fish and chip shop what they do with their oil. Maybe there’s not enough WVO for every car to switch, but there’s a whole lot of deep fryers out there which haven’t been claimed yet!

– Chris

(ps the exhaust smells like chips)

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