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
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.
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.