The insane cost of fuel has started pushing people out of their comfort zones. It seems that every day citizens have resorted to downsizing their vehicles, carpooling, and even—gasp!—using public transportation!
But there is another group of innovative greensters who have decided they are not content to simply ride the bus and wait for someone to discover an alternative fuel source.
Take for example Bradford Whipple, an ambitious fellow who has figured out a way to use discarded cooking oil to make his own fuel. On Travelers Notebook , he’s outlined the steps that he used to convert his vehicle and create fuel that he made from used frying oil that he collected from restaurants. Another gentleman by the name of Jeffrey Yago has a similar set of instructions and some additional resources on his page Backwoods Home Magazine.These sites both detail initial investment for materials to process the fuel and convert whatever vehicle you are driving; but according to Whipple, the project will pay for itself in 14 months (if you spend an average of $50 a week on gasoline).
The real obstacle to making your own biodiesel, however, isn’t in the process itself.That’s actually pretty simple and straightforward. Actually, trying to regularly secure discarded cooking oil is what you have to worry about.The amount of oil you need to make the process worthwhile requires that you have some kind of connection with a restaurant that uses it in bulk.Some of these restaurants pay to have their oil taken away and may be happy to let you have it for free, but as interest in making your own fuel increases, restaurant owners will begin (and already have started in some areas) charging for their used oil.Developing a relationship with a restaurant owner can ensure it is worth your while to go through the trouble of buying your supplies and going through the whole process.
If you’re really interested in making a commitment to manufacturing your own fuel, however, the good news is that it can be done, and once you’ve got the hang of it, it is incredibly cheap. Here are some additional online resources for you to check out before you jump in to the barrel:
Biodiesel Community – a nonprofit collaborative group who have combined resources to create an extensive online tutorial for home biodiesel makers.
Make Your Own Biodiesel – a series of five You Tube articles to teach you how to make your own biodiesel at home.
Biodiesel and SVO Discussion Forums – an interactive online community for discussion on making your own fuel.
Biodiesel Basics – a Yahoo Group with over 3000 members discussing how to make biodiesel.