Beginning in 2000, Jonathan Traister & I experimented with the operation of a small biodiesel production plant. We converted local restaurant grease into fuel for diesel vehicles. We made over 200 gallons, with our largest single batch being over 40 gallons. We were able to run our Dodge service truck &Jonathan's Mercedes for several thousand miles on 100% biodiesel (B100). As temperatures dropped below freezing, the truck became hard to start in the mornings, so I went back to regular diesel. A blend is recommended for cold weather, typically 20% biodiesel to 80% petroleum based (B20) can be used year round in very cold weather (below zero). I believe that our truck could make it through most of the year with a 50/ 50 blend (B50) using a fuel line heater to prewarm the more viscous biodiesel.

The cold temperatures also made processing the vegetable oil into biodiesel very difficult. Not only was the raw waste vegetable oil difficult to pump (sometimes it was a solid), but the chemical reaction to convert the oil into biodiesel requires 80 to 110 degrees F. We created a solar heated oil transport trailer to prewarm the oil for the reaction. (Which we recently sold to a fellow solar installer)

After a misunderstanding with the BLM, serious health problems related to the dangerous chemicals used in the processing, and the overall difficulty in cleanly and safely handling the oil, we have decided that this is a process that should NOT be done by "do it your selfers" or anyone else not prepared to embark on a full commercial processing plant.

Just to prove you can run anything on biodiesel: This might make sense if you're taking 10 or more people to a very remote location, but probably isn't the best use of limited resources. Yep, those are solar panels on the roof; their electricity powers a fuel cell that produces small amounts of Hydrogen that is burned with the biodiesel. Unfortunately, their effectiveness is probably canceled out by the additional wind drag.

We are negotiating with commercial suppliers to fill our 500 gallon fuel tank with a 50/50 blend. We will continue to run our service truck and personal vehicles with blended biodiesel to demonstrate to our fellow Americans that we do have alternatives to importing foreign oil. Let's all pitch in to support our farmers, our country, and world peace.

20%Biodiesel (B20) is now available at a pump in Santa Fe, and soon will be available at a station in Taos. Check out www.RenewableEnergyPartners.org

Also the Earthship community is making small amounts of biodiesel from waste restaurant oils, and they even deliver, www.earthshipbiodiesel.com.